#BlackHat: How exploit kits fuel online crime

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Researcher examines how exploit kits function and who profits off them.

If 2011 was the year of the breach – and assuming every year going forward is not going to take on the same moniker – then perhaps 2012 is the year of the exploit kit.

The sheer speed by which attacks are added to malware frameworks like BlackHole following vulnerability disclosures affecting widely used products, such as Windows and Java, are astonishing.

During a talk Thursday afternoon at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, Jason Jones, the team lead for advanced security intelligence at HP's DVLabs, examined exploit toolkits, which have gone mainstream and taken the complexity out of scanning for vulnerabilities, compromising websites, foisting malware and building botnets. 

Black Hat 2012 coverage

Jones dove into the state of the market, in which a number of smaller players are seeking to compete against the big guns like BlackHole. They recognise how much money is being made by leasing out these kits, sometimes for as much as $1000/month per renter.

“The biggest reason they've become popular is they are easy to use and they've been successful,” jones said. “Until they quit being successful, [the criminals are] going to do more and more.”

And why have they been so successful? Jones points to some of the functionality built in to the kits to evade anti-malware detection -- or the prying eyes of researchers like Jones wanting to study them. These include obfuscasted JavaScript and anti-web crawling components.

This article originally appeared at scmagazineus.com

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition


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