Do you own an ASUS computer? Then you might have heard of a supply chain attack named Operation ShadowHammer.
Are ASUS software updates safe?
The ASUS Live Update tool, which delivers UEFI, BIOS, and software updates to PCs, was compromised and used to send malware that granted backdoor access to the computers of unsuspecting users.
How was this possible? The hackers subtly modified a valid 2015 ASUS update and pushed it to users. This means that it was signed with an authentic ASUS certificate (used to test the legitimacy and credibility of new code). So the threat was left undetected.
The attack was then discovered in late January and was reported first by Motherboard, a tech publication.
Only about 600 systems were targeted originally using their Media Access Control addresses (a unique identifier for digital devices). However, between June and November last year, more than one million users were affected worldwide. This will leave you to wonder whether or not you are safe.
Keep reading to find out how to check whether a computer is infected by the ASUS update malware.
How to check a laptop for the hacked ASUS software update
It’s been revealed that when the false update was downloaded, it lay dormant and was only activated in the 600 PCs whose MAC addresses were on the hacker’s target list. Those PCs were then made to download additional malware.
It’s yet unclear what the long-term effect of this attack will be. The Taiwan-based tech giant has tried to make contact with the targets to find out what they have in common so as to decipher the purpose of these hackers.
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ASUS has reached out to users to render help, patching its Live Update software and upgrading it to a new version (ver. 3.6.8) to protect systems from the threat. They’ve implemented enhanced end-to-end encryption and introduced multiple security measures to prevent any future attacks.
In addition, they’ve developed a diagnostic tool to enable you to check whether your PC has been affected by the false update. You can download it through the link: https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/nb/Apps_for_Win10/ASUSDiagnosticTool/ASDT_v126.96.36.199.zip
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If your computer is infected, ASUS recommends you do the following:
- Back up your files and restore your operating system to factory settings. Doing so will remove all traces of the malware from your computer.
- Download the latest version of ASUS Live Update (ver. 3.6.8). You will find instructions on how to do that by visiting the official website.
- Update your antivirus software to the latest version. We recommend you get Auslogics Anti-Malware. The tool is designed not to interfere with the functioning of any other antivirus you already have on your system. It can even protect your computer from any threat the latter may fail to recognize.
If you need further assistance, feel free to leave your comment below.