A free version of the Blackhole exploit kit has appeared online in a development that radically reduces the entry-level costs of getting into cybercrime.
The Blackhole exploit kit, which up until now would cost around $1,500 for an annual licence, creates a handy way to plant malicious scripts on compromised websites. Surfers visiting legitimate sites can be redirected using these scripts to scareware portals on sites designed to exploit browser vulnerabilities in order to distribute banking Trojans, such as those created from the ZeuS toolkit.
The wider availability of Blackhole comes only days after the source code of ZeuS appeared online, collectively creating what one researcher described as an arms bazaar for cyber crooks.
"If the ZeuS leak was like giving a machine gun away for free, giving away exploit kits is like providing the ammo," said Aviv Raff, CTO at security tools firm Seculert.
Earlier versions of the Blackhole exploit kit are available at no charge through file-sharing websites, but omit features that are found in the latest versions of the tool. For example, the leaked copies leave out the features that allow crooks to redirect surfers arriving at a compromised domain to different sites, depending on the operating system they are running, Threatpost reports.
The Blackhole Exploit kit featured in the tainted ads served through ad-supported versions of Spotify last month and a separate drive-by download attack involving the US Postal Service website, among others. ®