Reputed developer of the Blackhole exploit kit, a Russian known as Paunch, is now under arrest, said Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Center, an arm of Europol.
While he confirmed the arrest, further details were not immediately available.
“I know it is true, we got some information, but I cannot say anymore,” Oerting said in a published report. Europol spokesperson Søren Kragh Pedersen said: “It is correct that Europol/EC3 has been informed that a high-level, suspected cyber-criminal has been arrested.”
There is currently no information available about the circumstances of the arrest or the true identity of Paunch, who police believe is the leader of a Russian cyber-criminal gang and one of the creators of the Blackhole exploit kit.
The Blackhole exploit kit can go out and compromise websites in order to download malware without the person visiting the website even knowing it is happening. The types of malware typically downloaded include banking Trojans and ransomware.
According to the antivirus firm AVG, Blackhole is the most common web threat on the internet with 91 percent of all web threats detected due to this exploit kit.
Unlike other pieces of malware, Blackhole ends up licensed from the owners and they can customize it to suit the clients’ needs. Attackers licensing the product can then redirect users from a malicious webpage to the Blackhole exploit kit server’s landing page.
With Paunch arrested it will mean criminals who rented Blackhole will no longer receive updates and eventually the exploit and payload could dry up.