Of the many attacks corporate networks face daily, advanced persistent threats are the most serious. Consider these tips to tell which kind of attack you're facing and what to do about it.
Oil companies, Internet technology firms, defense contractors, and even computer-security firms have all been targeted by persistent adversaries bent on stealing intellectual property and sensitive business information.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs)--a term that's become much maligned since the media locked onto it--describes attackers that are targeting specific companies and data, rather than searching for vulnerable targets of opportunity. Persistent attackers stole oil field exploration data from ExxonMobil, information on the Joint Strike Fighter from Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, and sensitive data on SecurID tokens from RSA. For many in the industry, the question is no longer if they have been breached, but how deeply, said Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer of Mandiant.
"No one has been able to stop these guys, no one," he said. "They remain a problem for every company with valuable intellectual property."
Separating persistent threats from more opportunistic cybercrime-focused attacks is not easy, but can help inform defense, according to security experts. Block an opportunistic attack and the crisis is averted; block a persistent attacker and they will come back tomorrow, said Toralv Dirro, security strategist for McAfee's Labs in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.
"If someone is a victim of a targeted attack, there are patterns," Dirro said. "They should really follow up on identifying those patterns."
In many cases, the patterns are not clear. Even "advanced" attackers will only use, for example, the minimum force necessary to compromise a network. In some cases, attackers have rented botnets; in others, they've used standard cybercrime tools.
"It is never a case of, oh, they are using Poison Ivy, so it's APT--everyone is using Poison Ivy," Mandiant's Bejtlich said. "It really comes down to a lot of analysis to figure out what is going on."
Published: 2014-04-24 Cisco IOS before 15.3(2)S allows remote attackers to bypass interface ACL restrictions in opportunistic circumstances by sending IPv6 packets in an unspecified scenario in which expected packet drops do not occur for "a small percentage" of the packets, aka Bug ID CSCty73682.
Published: 2014-04-24 Cisco ASR 1000 devices with software before 3.8S, when BDI routing is enabled, allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted (1) broadcast or (2) multicast ICMP packets with fragmentation, aka Bug ID CSCub55948.
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Published: 2014-04-24 The openshift-origin-broker in Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2.0.5, 1.2.7, and earlier does not properly handle authentication requests from the remote-user auth plugin, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and impersonate arbitrary users via the X-Remote-User header in a request to...
Published: 2014-04-24 The password recovery service in Open-Xchange AppSuite before 7.2.2-rev20, 7.4.1 before 7.4.1-rev11, and 7.4.2 before 7.4.2-rev13 makes an improper decision about the sensitivity of a string representing a previously used but currently invalid password, which allows remote attackers to obtain potent...