Incident Response, Malware, Network Security, TDR

Black Hat: A deeper look into how exploit kits fuel online crime

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, will examine exploit toolkits, which have gone mainstream and taken the complexity out of scanning for vulnerabilities, compromising websites, foisting malware and building botnets. 

“I'm going to provide a good understanding of exploit kits, and how they've been evolving,” Jones told “And based on some of these trends, get an idea of where they're going and how to combat them.”

Jones will dive into the state of the market, in which a number of smaller players are seeking to compete against the big guns like BlackHole, he said. They recognize how much money is being made by leasing out these kits, sometimes for as much as $1,000/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 will cover that too by discussing 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.

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