Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

5/9/2013
03:02 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Quick Hits
50%
50%

Advanced Persistent Threats: The New Reality

Once rare and sophisticated, the APT is now becoming a common attack. Is your organization ready?

[Excerpted from "Advanced Persistent Threats: The New Reality," a new report posted this week on Dark Reading's Advanced Threats Tech Center.

There's a lot we know about advanced persistent threats, but there's a lot we don't know.

This is due in large part to the complexity of the attacks and the stealth of the attackers. Our knowledge about APTs is growing, but, unfortunately, that's because the attacks themselves are growing in frequency. Criminals using APTs want data, so the more valuable an organization's data, the more likely it is to be targeted.

Government agencies and organizations in industries such as finance, energy, IT, aerospace, and chemical and pharmaceuticals are the mostly likely to be the victims of APT infections, as are those involved in international trade. Users and organizations with access through business relationships to valuable data, such as smaller defense contractors, are also beginning to be targeted.

And the use of watering hole attacks may be heralding a change in tactic to mass infections, which are then sifted for any potentially interesting targets. Criminals are less likely to target organizations running critical infrastructure, but attempted APT-type attacks by hactivists and nation-states are on the increase. Any organization running industrial control systems linked to the Internet is at risk.

Administrators of some systems may be unaware that their systems are connected to the Internet, while systems installed some years ago, when cybersecurity was less of an issue, may not be adequately protected from attack.

What Is an APT? Though the term originally referred to nation-states engaging in cyber espionage, APT techniques are also being used by cybercriminals to steal data from businesses for financial gain. What distinguishes an APT from other threats is that it is targeted, persistent, evasive and advanced.

Unlike the majority of malware, which randomly infects any computer vulnerable to a given exploit, APTs target specific organizations with the purpose of stealing specific data or causing specific damage.

The Conficker worm, for example, used many advanced techniques but did not target a particular organization. It infected millions of computers in more than 200 countries. In contrast, Stuxnet was designed to target a certain type, a certain brand and a certain model of control system.

To achieve their objective, those developing an APT must find vulnerabilities within a target's infrastructure, evaluate the security controls protecting it, determine how to deliver the attack and exploit the vulnerability, compromise the target network, gain access to privileged hosts, find the target data and then extract it -- all without being detected. This requires enormous amounts of research, and the entire process may take months or even years.

A key difference between most malware and an APT is its ability to persist -- that is, to evade detection by network security controls while still collecting and extracting data. The ingenious methods used in the past show the in-depth knowledge of the attack developers. In many cases, developers use unknown zero-day exploits so there are no antivirus signatures available to provide protection.

To learn more about the nature and behavior of today's APTs -- and to find out what you can do to protect your organization -- download the free report on APTs.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Cybersecurity Team Holiday Guide: 2019 Gag Gift Edition
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  12/2/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19647
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
radare2 through 4.0.0 lacks validation of the content variable in the function r_asm_pseudo_incbin at libr/asm/asm.c, ultimately leading to an arbitrary write. This allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly have unspecified other impact via crafted input.
CVE-2019-19648
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
In the macho_parse_file functionality in macho/macho.c of YARA 3.11.0, command_size may be inconsistent with the real size. A specially crafted MachO file can cause an out-of-bounds memory access, resulting in Denial of Service (application crash) or potential code execution.
CVE-2019-19642
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
On SuperMicro X8STi-F motherboards with IPMI firmware 2.06 and BIOS 02.68, the Virtual Media feature allows OS Command Injection by authenticated attackers who can send HTTP requests to the IPMI IP address. This requires a POST to /rpc/setvmdrive.asp with shell metacharacters in ShareHost or ShareNa...
CVE-2019-19637
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
An issue was discovered in libsixel 1.8.2. There is an integer overflow in the function sixel_decode_raw_impl at fromsixel.c.
CVE-2019-19638
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
An issue was discovered in libsixel 1.8.2. There is a heap-based buffer overflow in the function load_pnm at frompnm.c, due to an integer overflow.