Security Experts:

New Black Hole Exploit Kit Version Released

A new version of the Black Hole exploit kit has been released with updated features designed to fight off efforts by security researchers to combat it.

Black Hole is one of the most popular exploit kits on the Web, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all toolkits detected on the Web by security firm AVG Technologies in the first quarter of 2012. An advertisement for the new 2.0 version of the kit was posted to Pastebin. According to an English translation viewable here, the seller states that the prices for the kit range from $50 to rent for a day and $1,500 to license for a year.

According to Websense, among its new features the latest version contains dynamic URL generation so there is no longer a standard URL pattern that can be used to identify the kit. In addition, IP blocking is used at the executable URL so that AV companies cannot just download the binary.  

As another shield against researchers, CAPTCHA protections are used in the administration panel login page to prevent brute force attacks. Vikram Thakur, principle security response manager for Symantec, said the enhancements seem to be aimed at making life harder for security solutions and researchers.

"Day in and day out we see attackers trying to circumvent security solutions, and the updates to the Black Hole kit are no different," he said. "Mature security solutions…adapt to such attempts and protect the computer users. The other changes mentioned in the release notes are geared towards the security of the control panel for the kit itself; the author is attempting to protect the investment made by his or her customers."

Recently, Black Hole was one of the exploit kits at the center of attacks targeting the Java vulnerability CVE-2012-4681. Updating vulnerabilities gives Black Hole a higher infection rate, while the constant updating of code obfuscation keeps security vendors on their toes, said Chris Astacio, manager of security research at Websense.

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