Blackhole exploit kit makes a surprising encore appearance

Malwarebytes saw an attack that reused old exploits, probably limiting its effectiveness

The Blackhole exploit kit has made a surprising reappearance two years after cybercriminals stopped using it, according to security vendor Malwarebytes.

Exploit kits are frameworks planted on Web pages that try to find software flaws on the computers in order to silently install malware.

Blackhole was one of most popular exploit kits, but it faded from prominence after its alleged creator, who went by the nickname Paunch, was arrested in Russia. The kit was sold or rented to other cybercriminals in the underground economy for hacking tools.

About four years ago, the source code for Blackhole was leaked, which led to more cybercriminals using it. But exploit kits require quite a bit of ongoing maintenance, and fresh exploits for new vulnerabilities need to be integrated to maintain high infection rates. 

For some reason, whoever decided to start using Blackhole recently made a large error and left the server that hosted the exploit kit's infrastructure open on the Internet, which allowed Malwarebytes to take a look.

blackhole exploit kit Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes said the server hosting the Blackhole exploit kit's infrastructure was unprotected.

The attack seen by Malwarebytes uses old PDF and Java exploits, wrote Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher for Malwarebytes, in a blog post on Tuesday.

"Although the exploits are old, there are probably still vulnerable computers out there who could get compromised," Segura wrote. "We are not quite sure why this old exploit kit is being used in live attacks considering the infection rate would be quite low due to the aging exploits." 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?