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A sophisticated group infected tens of thousands of ASUS brand computers with malware in a scheme to target a small handful of users, Kaspersky Lab reports. The attacks came through the official software update program ASUS Live Update Utility.

Why it matters: The operation, dubbed "Operation Shadowhammer," appears to come from a motivated, technologically adept threat — someone sophisticated enough to breach a major technology firm, patient enough to compile technical details about their intended victims to use during the attack and motivated enough to infected anyone updating their ASUS system to reach only a handful of victims.

Details:

  • Shadowhammer signed the malware it sent through the ASUS Live Update Utility using ASUS's security certificates, instructing computers to treat the malware as legitimate software updates. Companies treat certificate data as one of their most guarded secrets to prevent hackers from doing this.
  • Shadowhammer's malware checked if a system it infected was a pre-written list of around 600 computers it was specifically looking for, using unique identifiers in the networking hardware known as MAC addresses.
    • That means Shadowhammer had advance knowledge of the systems it most wanted performing follow up attacks against.

By the numbers: Kaspersky detected more than 57,000 different systems that tried to install the Shadowhammer malware. That number only includes the systems Kaspersky software protects.

Go deeper

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

3 hours ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.