What is Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) and How to Deal With It

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.Advanced_persistent_threat_lifecycle

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 antivirusrecoded 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.

Uphold Network Confidentiality By Opting Tor

Tor system is conceived for perfect online anonymity, linked by virtual tunnels maze which employ Onion routing for communication. Though slightly puzzling, Tor mechanism involves a client application along with server network which conceals tor networkuser’s address & identifiable details. Tor makes it extremely hard to track the user’s online actions, involving portal visits and instant messaging. The prime objectives of Tor scheme lies in preserving individual freedom and fundamental civil rights across the web, secure privacy and restrict internet censorship.

The onion routing technology contained in Tor features various relay routers which only perceive the web address of final linking router without anything at the back. They only receive the instant sender address carrying coded message informing relay router about the forthcoming node’s address. The relay routers operated by volunteers at different locations, and as no midway router namely Tor understands the signal creating machine, which assures maximum anonymity on the internet. By maintaining the network access points obscured and ciphered, Tor guarantees that neither scrutiny nor traffic examination procedure is able to locate the two physical computers which interact.

The concept of onion router resembles an onion which has layers upon layers. Similarly in an onion router the hidden message is deciphered from successive layers with every fresh layer informing the router about the whereabouts of the subsequent recipient. Such procedure restricts the middle nodes from ascertaining the source, destination as well as the subject-matter of message.Tor has onionroutingwidespread application as people utilise Tor to prevent websites from locating them or their family persons or for joining news portals, quick messaging facilities, or in situations where they are obstructed by local internet services. The concealed services of Tor allow the users to publish portals without disclosing the site address.

Further, Tor is also employed by individuals during socially relevant interaction, chat rooms or for web forums relating to survivors of abuses or afflicted persons. Tor aids journalists in interacting with whistleblowers while NGOs utilize Tor to permit its staff to visit their home portal while abroad without intimating nearby people about their association with that enterprise. Tor promotes latest communication techniques for software developers with integrated privacy features. Tor also offers a series of applications which enables enterprises plus persons to exchange information across public systems without endangering privacy.

Tor safeguards against the popular internet surveillance termed traffic analysis which helps in identifying the persons interacting within public network. One can follow your behavioural trends and preferences by learning about the origin and final address of your web traffic. Thus your checkbook can be affected like when an e-commerce portal utilizes price differentiation on the basis of your nationality or place of origin. It can also harm your job as well as your physical well-being by disclosing your identity and location.

To stay secure while implementing Tor using SSL remains the finest option. By strictly adhering to SSL and only accessing https portals, you will have ciphered traffic along with secure connection. However, the official Tor client is very difficult to configure and it is controlled from the command line. If you just install it and run it, you will not make your browsing really anonymous even if your ip address is changed – you have to carefully configure both the client and each of your programs that you really want to be anonymous on the Internet. So, if you are not a computer specialist or just want to save your time & effort in complicated configuring , you can employ handy third-party tools like MaskSurf Proxy Chain, which has done everything needed for you to be total anonymous online.

How to prevent traffic interception in public networks

Traffic interception in public networks is done for theft of data or of other important files, though it can be done legally by competent authority for analysis and evidence purposes. The data on network can be altered, read or even hijacked. Attacker may be passive, observing regular communication or may be observing precisely expressed data channel to read the content.
A packet sniffer or packet analyzer tool on computer helps to read all plain text traffic. The sniffer captures every packet of data from data stream, decodes its raw data. It shows the values of different fields in the decoded packet. It is further analyzed for content according to specifications.pack sniffer
Traffic Encryption is the right answer to prevent traffic interception in public networks. Virtual private networks provide secured services for transferring data and files. IPSec which is frame work of open standards provides security in transmission of data by acting as a network layer. This layer protects and authenticates IP packets between the devices on unprotected internet like public networks. It is a high quality cryptographically based security.
Data confidentiality and integrity during transmission is ensured by this program. It also detects the replayed packets to reject them. It is also possible to authenticate the source from where the packet is sent and in this way one can ensure that data has not been intercepted during transmission. MACSec is another security which identifies unauthorized LAN connections and excludes them from communications. WebVPN is also a security device which can be used to prevent traffic interception in public networks.
In one of the ways of computer security, man-in-the-middle attack, it is required by an attacker to be able to monitor and alter messages into a communication channel. This can happen in active eavesdropping which requires attacker to make individual contacts with all victims of interception. In this way the attacker supplies messages to individuals while they believe that they are talking to each other on a man in the middle attackprivate connection. The entire conversation is under control of the attacker.
In man-in-the-middle attack, the attacker should be capable of intercepting all messages in-between the two victims and processing of new messages. One such case is that attacker can easily insert himself like a man-in-the-middle within the reception range of some unencrypted Wi-Fi wireless point.
This type of attack is successful under those circumstances when attacker is able to impersonate at each point satisfactorily. To prevent man-in-the-middle attack, cryptographic protocols include endpoint authentication devices like TLS with trusted certification authority. Additionally, provision of exchange or transmission of data/information on other secured channel is a good idea to recover loss due to this attack. Interlock protocols like methods with different other security requirements for secured channel have been developed with use of latest advancements in technology.
Other defenses against man-in-the-middle attack include stronger mutual authentication, certificate pinning, public key infrastructures, secure DNS extensions and verification of public keys with trusted certification authorities. Interception in traffic in public network should be immediately tackled before you get unbearable loss.