ASUS Live Update Utility: A new advanced persistent threat (APT) detected by Kaspersky Lab in January of 2019 seems to run from June to November of 2018.
The threat is reported to have affected more than one million users who have downloaded data from ASUS Live Update Utility on their computers.
Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis team (GReAT) named this malicious Operation ShadowHammer, and as Kim Zetter initially mentioned, it led to downloading and installing data from a backdoored version of ASUS Live Update over 57.000 users using Kaspersky products (on ASUS computers of course).
While Kaspersky was able to stop most downloads from the trojanized ASUS Live Update, the company's research team estimates that over one million users are infected.
According to GReAT:
ASUS Live Update is a utility that comes pre-installed on most ASUS computers. Used to automatically update certain items such as BIOS, UEFI, drivers and applications
And it continues:
According to Gartner, ASUS was the fifth largest computer company worldwide by 2017. This makes the company an extremely attractive target for APT teams that may want to take advantage of the range of their users.
According to GReAT, there were multiple versions of infected files in the ASUS Live Update that were shared, targeting "unknown groups of users identified by MAC addresses."
Attackers behind ShadowHammer have used a hardcoded list of MAC addresses to target the distribution of malicious software. Kaspersky managed to gather more than 600 MAC addresses from 200 malware samples used in this attack.
Kaspersky's researchers also found that the infected Live Update was digitally signed with "ASUSTeK Computer Inc." legal certificates. certificates hosted on the official (liveupdate01s.asus [.] com and liveupdate01.asus [.] com) update servers of ASUS.
For testing, we compare your MAC address with the list of hardcoded addresses we discovered in malware.