PExy: The other side of exploit kits

Giancarlo De Maio, Alexandros Kapravelos, Yan Shoshitaishvili, Christopher Kruegel, Giovanni Vigna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

15 Scopus citations


The drive-by download scene has changed dramatically in the last few years. What was a disorganized ad-hoc generation of malicious pages by individuals has evolved into sophisticated, easily extensible frameworks that incorporate multiple exploits at the same time and are highly configurable. We are now dealing with exploit kits. In this paper we focus on the server-side part of drive-by downloads by automatically analyzing the source code of multiple exploit kits. We discover through static analysis what checks exploit-kit authors perform on the server to decide which exploit is served to which client and we automatically generate the configurations to extract all possible exploits from every exploit kit. We also examine the source code of exploit kits and look for interesting coding practices, their detection mitigation techniques, the similarities between them and the rise of Exploit-as-a-Service through a highly customizable design. Our results indicate that even with a perfect drive-by download analyzer it is not trivial to trigger the expected behavior from an exploit kit so that it is classified appropriately as malicious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDetection of Intrusions and Malware, and Vulnerability Assessment - 11th International Conference, DIMVA 2014, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783319085081
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Detection of Intrusions and Malware, and Vulnerability Assessment, DIMVA 2014 - Egham, United Kingdom
Duration: Jul 10 2014Jul 11 2014

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume8550 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other11th International Conference on Detection of Intrusions and Malware, and Vulnerability Assessment, DIMVA 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


Dive into the research topics of 'PExy: The other side of exploit kits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this