What is an Exploit Kit?
By security researcher Kafeine.
Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit detects and protects you from this threat.
When we talk to people that have been infected, they often ask how it happened. In a growing number of cases, they have been doing nothing more than reading a news website or browsing for some online shopping.
They have not clicked a bad link, visited a risky website or installed anything strange. However, next thing they know their credit card details have been stolen, Facebook account hijacked or the pictures on their laptop are being held to ransom.
This kind of experience is increasing amongst everyday computer users because of the growing threat from Exploit Kits. This article digs into the dark world behind this problem, which contributes to a fast growing proportion of all new malware we are now seeing and tries to provide a bit of education.
What is an Exploit Kit?
These clusters of criminal code are secretly dotted around the Internet, hiding on invisible landing pages. When you encounter one, your computer is automatically catalogued.
The Exploit Kit builds up a picture of what everyday software you have running, such as browsers, PDF readers, Flash Player, Java, and most importantly whether any of these have flaws, called vulnerabilities. It is basically looking at your computer for known holes to exploit.
After figuring out which of these weaknesses are present, it uses pre-built ‘exploit’ code to force this hole wide open. This essentially leaves your computer at the mercy of the attacker, allowing them to install whatever malicious software they want, bypassing many security software programs.
How do I encounter an Exploit Kit?
People most often get to Exploit Kits from booby-trapped high-traffic websites.
These sites redirect you in the background, without opening any new browser windows or alerting you in any other way, so that each visitor can be scanned for their suitability for infection, and based upon this you are either compromised or discarded.
This does not happen overtly and it typically works in one of two different ways. Either a piece of malicious code hidden in plain sight on the website, or an advert displayed on the page itself is infected. Both methods immediately redirect you to the Exploit Kit without showing any signs to the user.
Once there, if you have vulnerabilities on your computer, its game over.
This means the news sites you read, the website you get your recipes from or the online store you buy your shoes from are all possible candidates.
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By Neil J. Rubenking
A Symantec VP recently proclaimed that antivirus is dead. Many would disagree, but it is true that a traditional antivirus utility can't protect against zero-day exploits that attack vulnerabilities in the operating system and applications. That's where Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium comes in.
It is specifically designed to detect and repulse exploit attacks, and it has no need for prior knowledge of the exploit in question.
Because there's no signature database, the product is quite small, just 3MB.
There is also no need for regular updates. A free edition, called Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free, injects its protective DLL into popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera) and Java.
The Premium edition, reviewed here, extends this protection to Microsoft Office applications and to popular PDF readers and media players.
With the Premium edition, you can add custom shields for other programs, too.