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An official from Europol has confirmed the arrest of a Russian hacker and malware developer known as “Paunch,” said to be the author of the infamous Blackhole Exploit Kit.

“I know it is true, we got some information, but I cannot say anymore,” Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Centre told TechWeekEurope.

News of the arrest was first reported by FoxIT’s Maarten Boone in a Tweet early yesterday morning and was reported by Softpedia. Blackhole is regarded as being the most popular exploit kit available on the black market, and has been employed by cyber criminals to infect countless systems with an wide array of malware.

A researcher known as Kafeine noted that a malicious Java applet used by the exploit kit had not been updated for at least four days, while prior to reports of Paunch’s arrest it had been regularly updated at least once a day, if not more.

“If the rumours 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,” Websense’s Carl 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,” Leonard continued.

“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.”

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