Dreaded Blackhole Exploit creator awarded seven years in Gulag by Russian authorities

The hacker behind the infamous and dreaded Blackhole and Cool exploit kits has been sentenced to seven years in prison. This was reported by Russian news outlets which said that Zamoskvoretskiy Moscow court sentenced seven hackers to between five-and-a-half and eight years in prison for cybercrime offenses.

According to local news outlet Tass (translation), Dmitry Fedotov, aka “Paunch,” who is well known as creator of Blackhole exploit kit is among those convicted. Fedotov was arrested in October 2013 by Russian authorities together with twelve other suspects. Fedotov who is well known in underground forums as ‘Paunch’ is the master coder behind the dangerous Blackhole exploit kit. Paunch made the kit available to cyber criminals on a rental scheme for years on the dark web underground forums. The exploit kit was frequently updated with fresh web-based vulnerabilities used to poke holes in victim systems, steal credentials and spy upon targets.

According to Russian authorities, Paunch and his partners used the exploit kit to deliver malware that defrauded Russian banks of over 70 million Russian Rubles which is nearly $2.1 million.

Fedotov’s life of crime started in 2010, when he developed the exploit kit and he allegedly made $50,000 a month by selling/renting the exploit kit. The Blackhole exploit kit was sold/rented at about $500 to $700 per month on the dark web underground forums. The source code was made public by somebody after Fedotov was arrested in 2013.

Fedotov was also involved in development Cool exploit kit project with help of a fellow hacker known as J.P. Morgan. Such was Fedotov’s reputation that Cool exploit kit received support from fellow cyber criminals in pre-development stage itself. However, once Fedotov was arrested the mega exploit kit

The Cool exploit kit was pre-announced as a high-end crimeware kit that would also come with browser vulnerabilities, but the project failed to get off the ground after Paunch’s arrest.

Paunch and his comrades were given a two-year trial and found guilty of the charges. Fedotov and six others were handed over sentences that ranged from 5.5 to 8 years, in prison or corrective labor camps.

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