Hackers used software updater to infect 500,000 Asus computers with malware

Hackers compromised  an automatic software update tool with  malware to maliciously gain backdoor access to thousands of Asus customer computers last year, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab told online magazine Motherboard.

The  backdoor file was created and signed with legitimate Asus certificates to create the perception that the software updates were authentic. In realty, the Taiwan-based computer manufacturer was pushing malware to about 500,000 Windows machines between June and November 2018.

A research team at Kaspersky said only 600 systems were targeted. The malicious files were sent to customers through a setup.exe tool. The 3-year-old tool, however, was injected with malicious code.

It is suggested that the hackers only had access to the server where Asus signs its files but not the entire build server.  Some authentic and legitimate Asus software updates were pushed to customers during the time of the hack.

Kaspersky said it notified Asus about the cybersecurity breach in January, but Asus has been unresponsive and has not notified customers, according to Motherboard.

The computer manufacturer s continued using a compromised certificate to sign files a month after its notification of the breach, the article said.  

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