APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) is a set of continuous and stealthy computer hacking process that is usually orchestrated by individual(s) targeting specific entity. Advanced Persistent Threat generally targets nations and/or organizations for political or business motives. APT processes need higher degree of covertness for long time period. Advanced processes signify sophisticated techniques making use of malware for exploiting vulnerabilities in systems. As per persistent process, external command as well as control system is monitoring and extracting information continuously from specific target. Threat process hints human involvement in attack orchestrating.
Usually APT refers to group like government with capability as well as intent to target specific entity effectively and persistently. The term is used commonly when referring to cyber threats, particularly of the internet-enabled espionage that uses variety of techniques for intelligence gathering for accessing sensitive information. This term equally applies to many other threats like that of traditional attack or espionage. There are other attack vectors recognized including supply chain compromise, infected media, and social engineering. Aim of such attacks is placing customized malicious code on single or multiple systems for particular tasks as well as for remaining undetected for longest time possible. Knowing attacker artifacts like file name can assist professional search network wide for gathering all effected systems. Individual hackers usually are not referred to as APT because they rarely are having resources to be persistent and advanced even if they intent on attacking or gaining access to specific target.
Advanced- there are criminal operators behind threat utilizing complete spectrum of system intrusion techniques and technologies. While individual attack components can’t be classed particularly as “advanced”, their operators typically can access as well as develop much advanced tools whenever needed. These combine several attack tools and methodologies for reaching and compromising their target.
Persistent – Criminal operators offer priority to particular task instead of opportunistically seeking financial gain immediately. The distinction implies that external entities guide attackers. Attacks are conducted via continuous interaction and monitoring so as to achieve defined objectives. This doesn’t mean barrage of malware updates and constant attacks. The fact is that slow and low approach is much successful.
Threat – Threat means there is level of coordinated involvement of humans in the attack instead of just automated and mindless piece of code. Criminal operators generally have specific objective as well as are well funded, organized, motivated, and skilled.
In order to deal with APT, it is important to know how it works. Advanced Persistent Threat makes use of multiple phases for breaking into the network, avoiding detection, and harvesting valuable data over long term.
1.Reconnaissance – Attackers will leverage information from wide range of factors for understanding their target.
2.Incursion – Attackers will break into network using social engineering for delivering targeted malware mainly to vulnerable people and systems.
3.Discovery – As soon as attackers are able to enter a network, they will stay low and slow for avoiding detection. Then they map defense of organization from inside, creating a battle plan, and deploying multiple kill chains in parallel for ensuring success.
4.Capture – Attackers will gain access to unprotected systems as well as capture data over extended time period. These can also install malware for secretly acquiring data or disrupting operations.
5.Exfiltration – information captured is sent to home based team of attackers for analysis as well as further exploitation fraud.
There are tools and techniques for combating APT. URL filtering and using Antivirus are some of the popular ways used. According to some well-known third-party internet security software review, top security products can effectively defend against APT. But these tools don’t guarantee 100% security. It is because it is pretty simple for attackers to modify known threats. They can make known threats unknown for sufficient time after which it can slip past URL filter or AV engine. This is the reason why complete content inspection is done and everything that is untrusted is considered as threat. Visibility in detection is the biggest weakness for maximum companies mainly because they deploy wide range of disparate security techniques and technologies. Maximum anti-viruses work towards saving your system or network from malware threats. It first sees to visibility. This means the software sees what all is happening right now on each system. Next it detects attacks without signatures in real time. In response, it makes use of recoded history for seeing full kill chain of the attack. In prevention stage, attack is stopped with customized and proactive techniques. Antivirus tools cannot stop APT but they only prevent different malware attacks with signatures seen previously. It is good to keep your antivirus tools running all the time. Wide range of solutions is there for which you can contact organizations specializing in APT so as to get best solution for your enterprise. Nowadays, corporate clients and computer industries are searching for better security solutions so that they can keep their vital data and other information safe.
Specialized threat protection tools perform network-wide monitoring for detecting zero-day malware, attacker behavior, and malicious actions that aren’t visible to standard security defence systems. These security platforms are integrated uniquely with security control point all across network. These tools detect as well as block attacks that occur through personal and corporate email, mobile device, and social media applications, etc. These, block, detect command as well as control communications right back to cybercriminals or attempt moving laterally within the network to other important systems. Such techniques allow customer-defined, multiple sandboxes reflecting real-life environment hence allowing individuals determine whether or not they’ve been breached. The tools will detonate suspect code in controlled, safe environment optimized for evading hacker techniques looking out for sandboxing solutions.
Post detection, this solution enables users to profile in-depth origin, risk, as well as characteristics of attack. Such tools deliver actionable intelligence uniquely that guides remediatiation and rapid containment. Such tools deliver complete contextual visibility of attack, responding to specific attackers of yours. These solutions will provide insight like what data is being targeted, who those attackers are, how attack works, and who actually is sponsoring those attacks.