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Security Crime

Meet Paunch: the Accused Author of the BlackHole Exploit Kit 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the meet-and-greet dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "In early October, news leaked out of Russia that authorities there had arrested and charged the malware kingpin known as 'Paunch,' the alleged creator and distributor of the Blackhole exploit kit. Today, Russian police and computer security experts released additional details about this individual, revealing a much more vivid picture of the cybercrime underworld today. According to pictures of the guy published by Brian Krebs, if the Russian authorities are correct then his nickname is quite appropriate. Paunch allegedly made $50,000 a month selling his exploit kit, and worked with another guy to buy zero-day browser exploits. As of October 2013, the pair had budgeted $450,000 to purchase zero-days. From the story: 'The MVD estimates that Paunch and his gang earned more than 70 million rubles, or roughly USD $2.3 million. But this estimate is misleading because Blackhole was used as a means to perpetrate a vast array of cybercrimes. I would argue that Blackhole was perhaps the most important driving force behind an explosion of cyber fraud over the past three years. A majority of Paunchâ(TM)s customers were using the kit to grow botnets powered by Zeus and Citadel, banking Trojans that are typically used in cyberheists targeting consumers and small businesses.'"
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Meet Paunch: the Accused Author of the BlackHole Exploit Kit

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  • his only fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:23AM (#45632457) Homepage Journal

    his only fault was that he didn't incorporate in France and didn't have NSA as a client.

    see, if you have offices and suits and your customers wear suits then the business is legit.

  • You mean Eric Estrada was a malware kingpin?
    I don't believe it!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You mean Eric Estrada was a malware kingpin?
      I don't believe it!

      How is that hard to believe? His sidekick [cnn.com] was busted for stock fraud.

    • I can't believe Marco is a drug kingpin. Sparks, on the other hand...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Surely the kit would be "bought" once then distributed freely. It's not as if they're going to go to the BSA and whine about copyright infringement, is it?

    Although nobody said cybercriminals were clever, I suppose. To be smart is to win while playing by the rules; to win by cheating just means you lack scruples, and anyone can do that.

    • I'm certainly not an expert on this, but TFA says they "rent" the kit, and in a linked article it mentions administrative user panels for the people who rent the product, so it sounds as if you don't actually buy the code, but rather rent access to a system that lets you acquire and manipulate your botnet.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      but legit purchases come with tech support! That is what makes actually buying their software so worth it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by module0000 (882745)

      You're not buying the skeleton of the kit - you're buying the kit equipped with the latest 0-days to be effective. The last thing you'd want to do after you pay thousands for a 0-day exploit and the kit as a payload - is give it away. Then it's in the wild and antivirus is going to protect against it.

  • Parasites (Score:2, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527)

    Goes to show what amoral shitstains these people are. He's made only a couple of million profit, by causing several orders of magnitude of damage in the process. A bit like those arseholes who steal copper cables off the train network, flog them for a few quid, but disrupt the commutes of thousands of people and rack up huge repair bills. In the animal kingdom, such entities are known as "parasites".

    Some questions have to be asked about why it took the Russian Interior Ministry so long to track Paunch and h

  • by Anonymous Coward

    if the Russian authorities are correct then his nickname is quite appropriate

    He's probably a bad guy, so let's make fat jokes about his photo in the summary. There's absolutely no chance we're humiliating someone innocent, right?

  • I would argue that Blackhole was perhaps the most important driving force behind an explosion of cyber fraud over the past three years.

    I would disagree and cite NSA's PRISM and FOXACID as a far more important driving force. [theatlantic.com] Even if you disagree about the classification of their action as criminal violations of the US Constitution, consider that they purchase a large volume of zero-day exploits to fuel their "cyber" weapons. This makes selling zero-day exploits on the black market very profitable even if you ended all civilian perpetrated "cyber" assaults.

    And when you hack a man, you're a criminal,
    Hack many, and you're a terrorist,
    Hack 'em all, you're a Government!

    My apologizes to Megadeth. [wikiquote.org]

  • How do we make the punishment fit the crime?

    Though I guess a Russian prison is a pretty severe punishment as-is.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine

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