The problem was first spotted and reported by Cisco Talos that discovered that download servers used by the antivirus firm Avast - that now owns CCleaner - were compromised to distribute malware inside CCleaner. The affected versions of CCleaner and CCleaner Cloud were released on August 15 and August 24, respectively.
CCleaner is an extremely popular tool amongst consumers for ridding computers of malware and improving speed and performance.
The Talos team claims that its likely an external attacker was able to compromise CCleaner's build environment or that an insider at Piriform was responsible.
The bad news for users is that they potentially remain at risk - even if they have updated their CCleaner software.
According to Avast, the hack affected two specific versions of the software - the 32 bit and cloud versions (both Windows only) - which were downloaded around 2.2 million times before the threat was dealt with.
Avast encourages anyone using CCleaner to upgrade to version 5.34 or higher.
Millions of users infected after hackers hide backdoor in CCleaner
Pirifom has confirmed that version 5.33.6162 (Windows standalone binary) and version 1.07.3191 of the Cloud variant were hacked, and apologised to users. He said, "the threat has now been resolved in the sense that the rogue server is down, other potential servers are out of the control of the attacker, and we're moving all existing CCleaner v5.33.6162 users to the latest version".
Piriformadds that it's also working with third-party sites to remove the compromised versions of CCleaner, and that all users should update to its latest CCleaner 5.34 version right away. According to Piriform, malware had elements to download more software and install them, but those elements weren't initiated by the malware before its detection. Avast Piriform believes that the security threat was contained and tackled before the breach was able to harm any customers.
"The compromise could cause the transmission of non-sensitive data...to a 3rd party computer server in the US", the company said.
Yung declined to speculate on how the code appeared in CCleaner or where the attack originated from. The investigation is still ongoing.
Talos researcher Craig Williams said it was a sophisticated attack - saying that the optimisation software had a proper digital certificate, which means that other computers automatically trust the program.
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