What is Blackhole Exploit Kit?

This threat is caused by code that can be hacked into a web page. When you browse to a web page with this threat it will exploit vulnerabilities in your Internet browser/plugins and force adware, phishing programs or any other type of fraudulent software to be installed on your device. The most popular variants of Blackhole Exploit Kit are Blackhole Exploit Kit (type 2364), Blackhole Exploit Kit (type 2363), Blackhole Exploit Kit (type 2362).

The Blackhole exploit kit is currently the most prevalent web threat, where 28% of all web threats detected by Sophos and 91% by AVG are due to this exploit kit. Its purpose is to deliver a malicious payload to a victim’s computer. The creators of the kit are suspected to be famous Russian hackers named “HodLuM” and “Paunch”.

Basic summary of how Blackhole works
  • The customer licenses the Blackhole exploit kit from the authors and specifies various options to customize the kit.
  • A potential victim loads a compromised webpage or opens a malicious link in a spammed email.
  • The compromised web page or malicious link in the spammed email sends the user to a Blackhole exploit kit server’s landing page.
  • This landing page contains obfuscated JavaScript that determines what is on the victim’s computers and loads all exploits to which this computer is vulnerable and sometimes a Java applet tag that loads a Java Trojan horse.
  • If there is an exploit that is usable, the exploit loads and executes a payload on the victim’s computer and informs the Blackhole exploit kit server which exploits was used to load the payload.
Defenses against the Blackhole exploit kit

Make sure the browser, browser’s plugins, and operating system are up to date. The Blackhole exploit kit targets vulnerabilities in old versions of browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari as well as many popular plugins like Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and Java.

Run a security utility with a good antivirus and good host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS). Due to the polymorphic code used in generating variants of the Blackhole exploit kit, antivirus signatures will lag behind the automated generation of new variants of the Blackhole exploit kit, while changing the algorithm used to load malware onto victims’ computers takes more effort from the criminal or criminals who are developing this exploit kit. A good HIPS will defend against new variants of the Blackhole exploit kit that use previously known algorithms.

First Release on the Internet

The blackhole exploit kit was released by a Russian hacker named HodLuM on “Mailbox,” an underground Russian hacking forum. He released the first version and then began releasing more versions after weeks.