Blackhole malware toolkit creator Paunch arrested in Russia


The alleged mastermind behind the infectious exploits kit Blackhole has been arrested in Russia, giving a massive blow to cyber criminals who rely heavily on stealing the identity of unsuspected computer users around the world.

On Tuesday, a statement from TechWeek Europe suggested that Russian police have arrested a suspect, known in hacking circles as 'Paunch,'. The source of this information is Maarten Boone, a Fox-IT security researcher.

Maarten Boone made the announcement on Twitter regarding to the arrest, resulting in 24 hours of confusion due to a complete lack of detail. However, the head of the European Cybercrime Center, Troels Oerting, has confirmed the arrest as legitimate.

"I know it is true, we got some information, but I cannot say anymore," Oerting told TechWeek, refusing to reveal more details about the arrest.

Furthermore, Carl Leonard of Websense Security Labs, says the report of the arrest of Paunch is a welcomed victory for Internet users.

"If the rumors of the Blackhole exploit kit author's arrest are true, then this is a welcomed victory for Internet users. Any move to address the threat posed by exploit kits such as Blackhole is fantastic," Leonard told TechWeek.

"Whilst the arrests would be significant, due to the Blackhole exploit kit being by far the most popular web-based exploit kit in the underground market to date, there are still many functioning kits out there compromising machines and stealing data all over the world. Businesses will continue to face serious problems from this kind of activity, despite the alleged arrests, and must be mindful of the continued threat these kits possess," he said.

Since the arrest of Paunch, the Blackhole exploit kit, which usually updates once or twice on a daily basis, hasn't seen an update in 4 days. This could be proof enough that the man behind the operation is indeed behind bars. However, that doesn't mean this is the end of Blackhole. If other people are talented enough, they could very well keep the software kicking unless others, such as Stix, replaces it.

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