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.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.