However, Kaspersky is not the only security outfit to trace the malware samples back to Asus. Whoever was behind the attack used stolen digital certificates to sign tampered versions of the Live Updatetool.
The Asus users can either check their MAC addresses online or run this tool to confirm if they are affected.
According to Kaspersky Labs, the attack targeted around 600 systems, with the devices' MAC addresses being hardcoded into the malware.
Moscow-based cyber security provider Kaspersky Lab said the attack took place between June and November previous year and was used to deliver a software update with a "backdoor" that would give hackers access to infected machines. Although the attack may have ensnared over a million devices, it was created to surgically target only a select number of PCs based on their network adapter's MAC addresses. Once installed, it would search for pre-determined MAC addresses, hinting toward the targeted nature of this attack, and, if found, connect to a third-party server that would install malware on these machines. Moreover, the firm has dubbed the attack as ShadowHammer. "At the same time, we have also updated and strengthened our server-to-end-user software architecture to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future", ASUS said.
The Russia-based cybersecurity company was only able to find those numbers for its own users, and estimates that the malware could affect more than a million Asus owners worldwide. The company has also made available a security diagnostics tool that scans your system to determine if you've been backdoored [Download Link].
From the wording of Asus's statement, the PC maker seems more concerned about the tampering of downloads while they are in transit, effectively thwarting man-in-the-middle attacks.
Furthermore, according to a tweet from the reporter who broke the story yesterday, ASUS had also tried to have Kaspersky sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in an attempt to keep the incident quiet.
Motherboard subsequently contacted a secondary security company, Symantec, to confirm if its customers received the malicious code. Those targets were located by their MAC address, a unique identifier for the computer's network adapter.
"While Asus may have released a fix, if you've already been compromised that might not be enough".
In both that and this case, the attackers infected a large number of devices but were apparently after very specific targets.
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