A BENEVOLENT HACKER has been leaving messages on victims' computers telling them that they need to be more wary of hackers because they've just been hacked.
The vulnerability that allowed the hacker to gain access is related to a setting found in certain Asus routers that leaves ports open to allow access for USB drives inserted into the available slot on the router.
However, the hacker, rather than drain bank accounts or steal valuable data, has been leaving a .txt file entitled "WARNING_YOU_ARE_VULNERABLE" to explain how he gained access and what the user needs to do to stop anyone with fewer scruples from doing it again.
13,000 external IP addresses of Asus router users were recently published on the internet, according to Ars Technica, along with a Bittorrent file containing lists of the files on each victim's hard drive.
Asus has made a patch available for the affected router models, however it does not install automatically and many affected users are still unaware that their networks are vulnerable.
The problem occurs because, unlike most routers, the Asus models are set to have services such as remote administration, remote SMB and remote FTP open by default to all remote devices. The intention apparently was to allow cloud access to users' files, however the vulnerabilities the setting creates are open to abuse.
Fortunately, in this case at least, nothing was taken but rather a friendly reminder was left to say, "Look what I could have done."
We've asked Asus to comment. µ