An exploit kit, also known as a CRIMEWARE KIT, collects and manages one or more of these system exploits. They serve as control systems that make it easy to not just invade a computer or network, but manipulate or lift its data. An exploit kit is created in such a way that even those who are not technically familiar with its code can still make use of it without much effort.
How an Exploit Kit Works
Like all malware, the first step in implementing an exploit kit is to make contact with the target device. This is usually done through aggressive spamming and phishing. Once a connection is established, the exploit kit is able to redirect the user of the target device to suspicious grounds (often referred to as real estate) on the Internet.
Here, visitor’s device is screened for system vulnerabilities. This screening process is conducted on the server, where information like operating systems, IP addresses, and the physical location of users are collected. It should be noted that some operating systems are more susceptible to the screening prowess of a crimeware kit than others.
The next step involves the execution of code. This can range from typical payloads that invoke upon run time, or the creation of landing pages tailored specifically for the target device. If it is determined that content can be downloaded to the host device, the exploit kit attempts to force the issue, which underlines the purpose of the aforementioned screening process. By the time the exploit kit is ready to be executed, the host device already knows what it vulnerabilities it can take advantage of.
The Bones of an Exploit Kit (Crimeware Kit)
As previously noted, a successful crimeware kit has to be capable of managing numerous exploits while keeping its intuitiveness, or, usability among those with limited technical knowledge of its variety of code. To accomplish these tasks, most crimeware kits consist of two (2) primary parts: A control panel and web page component.
The control panel is what helps in the creation of custom landing pages. It also keeps track of potential targets, as well as the number of successful exploits. The web page component, in turn, is generated by the control panel with specific instructions for predetermined exploits—namely how to implement them.
How to Protect Yourself against a Crimeware Kit?
At this point, the logical question is what crimeware kit is most likely to impact your system? Or perhaps, what do crimeware kits view as vulnerabilities? First are poorly patched programs that make use of active content, like that found in Adobe Flash Player and similar technologies. Such programs can certainly be used, so long as you make sure you are using their latest build. The same is true for your operating system; you should always ensure that all updates have been downloaded and installed.
Unfortunately, Windows operating system users are at a bit of disadvantage if they do not have the latest security patches and updates. Linux and similar operating systems seem to be a bit more hardy in these cases, but are also advised to employ the latest patches and releases for hardened security.
Finally, you should make use of a reputable antivirus (AV) program with endpoint security, which can go a long way in protecting you against a myriad of cyber attacks. Other application software on your device should also be kept up to date, or uninstalled if it specifically states its incompatibility with your operating system.