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Security & privacy

Check your laptop now! Major update hijacked by malware

When it comes to computer security, there are so many things to think about. You need antivirus software, anti-spyware programs and a firewall, to name a few defenses.

It’s all in the name of keeping our gadgets virus-free. Since we put in so much effort to stay protected, it would be nice to know that device manufacturers also have our backs.

Sadly, that’s not always the case and mistakes are made. That recently happened with a popular computer maker that unwittingly infected some of its customers’ devices with malware. Yikes!

ASUS machines get infected update

If you own an ASUS laptop, this one’s for you. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab recently discovered a major problem with some ASUS computers.

What’s happening is that ASUS’ Live Update tool was hacked and used to push malware to up to a million of its own Windows computers. That’s right, malware pretending to be a critical software update looked real, and came directly from ASUS’ servers.

Malware doesn’t often get more convincing than that. But here’s the unusual part: it seems the hackers were after a particular set of targets.

That’s because the malware came with instructions to seek out 600 specific systems. Once it found one of those targeted computers, that’s when the malware was deployed.

The malware is being called, “Shadow Hammer,” and it’s believed this might have been what’s known as an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Those types of attacks are orchestrated by another country, and typically go after international organizations instead of regular, everyday consumers.


Either way, nobody wants to be the victim of international espionage. So ASUS has released a new version of its Live Update software in response to the Shadow Hammer threat.

The company said it’s also supposed to reduce the chance of future, similar attacks. Maybe ASUS and other companies should be more proactive and lock their doors, instead of reacting only when bad actors invite themselves in.

What can you do now?

ASUS said, “Only a very small number of specific user group were found to have been targeted by this attack and as such it is extremely unlikely that your device has been targeted. However, if you are still concerned about this matter, feel free to use ASUS’ security diagnostic tool or contact ASUS Customer Service for assistance.”

You should also make sure that you have the latest version of ASUS Live Update, which fixed the problem. To make sure, click here and follow the instructions on that page.

If your device is affected, the company says to immediately run a backup of your files and restore your operating system to factory settings. This will completely remove the malware from your computer.

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