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Blackhole 2: Crimeware kit gets stealthier, Windows 8 support

Malware-flinging tool to target mobiles too

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Cybercrooks have unveiled a new version of the Blackhole exploit kit. Version 2 of Blackhole is expressly designed to better avoid security defences. Support for Windows 8 and mobile devices is another key feature, a sign of the changing target platforms for malware-based cyberscams.

The release also includes a spruced-up user interface – so the tool can now be used by the less technically able criminal – as well as a revised licensing structure that puts a greater emphasis on renting rather than buying the application.

Rental prices run from $50 a day while leasing the software for a year costs around $1,500.

The Blackhole exploit kit has been around for about two years, during which time it has become the preferred tool for running drive-by download attacks. Cybercrooks must first find a site that can be exploited to insert malicious code, thus exposing users of often legitimate sites to attacks from linked hacker-controlled portals powered by Blackhole. The exploit kit will also attempt to download malware on the PCs of visiting surfers by taking advantage of any unlatched Java, browser or Adobe Flash vulnerability it manages to find.

The end result is that an unpatched Windows PC becomes infected with a banking Trojan, fake anti-virus or botnet agent after visiting a compromised website.

A good write-up on the new features of Blackhole and what this means for security firms and enterprise security defenders can be found in a blog post by Sophos here. ®

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