An assault campaign in which an intruder, or team of invaders, establishes an unlawful, long-term presence on a network in order to harvest extremely sensitive data is referred to as an advanced persistent threat (APT) in general.

The idea of an attack using a variety of advanced techniques intended to steal the company’s vital information is what keeps corporate cybersecurity professionals up at night, if there is one thing that does. APT campaigns frequently use several access points and attack techniques.

The goals of APT attackers and their effects on organizations include:

  • Intellectual property theft
  • Loss of sensitive information
  • Theft of sensitive data or personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Sabotage, such as deleting databases
  • Total takeover of the site
  • Obtaining infrastructure information for reconnaissance needs
  • Getting access to necessary systems
  • Access to messages that are compromising or critical

The following are Advanced persistent threat characteristics:

  • Attacks are frequently carried out by individuals with a specific goal. These actors frequently have the support of nation-states or groups funded by corporations. APT28, OilRig, and Deep Panda are a few examples of groups.
  • To continuously gather intelligence or to undercut target capabilities. This data theft or sabotage may be done for strategic or political reasons.
  • Attacks concentrate on making sure that attackers can get access and keep it for a long time.
  • APT attacks demand substantial planning and executional resources. This includes the following: time, development and security skills, and hosting.
  • Attackers tend to concentrate on specific targets rather than launch broad strikes. Additionally, APT attackers are increasingly cautious to avoid detection.
  • Attackers are more likely to concentrate on certain targets than launch broad strikes. APT attackers are also more cautious to avoid detection.
  • APT attacks frequently use advanced methods that call for security knowledge.
  • APT assaults may happen during an attack intended to divert security personnel and may come from a variety of locations.
  • The size of the target or the size of the offensive operations are both examples of attack value. APTs tend to target larger enterprises more frequently than smaller ones.
  • Traditional detection systems that rely on signature-based detection are typically bypassed by APT attacks.

It is also noticeable when under attack as it goes to 5 Stages:

  1. The First Move – They often gain access through spear phishing personnel with privileged accounts, malicious uploads, looking for and exploiting application vulnerabilities, holes in security technologies, and other means. The objective is to use malicious software to infect the victim.
  2. Malware Development and Penetration – Creating an outbound connection to their command and control system is a crucial step. APTs may conceal their activity using sophisticated malware techniques like code rewriting, obfuscation, or encryption.
  3. Increase access and lateral movement – Attackers set even more backdoors and build tunnels, enabling them to transport data around the network and do other lateral movements at will.
  4. The Actual Attack – As attackers continue to infiltrate more delicate systems and move their data to secure storage, this stage may take some time.
  5. Exfiltration or causing harm and continuously doing it – While they transmit the data outside the network perimeter, they frequently launch a “white noise attack,” like a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, to divert security teams. They will next take action to get rid of any forensic evidence left over from the data transmission.

There were also a few examples of APT that was noted for the past years:

  • GhostNet
  • Stuxnet
  • Deep Panda
  • APT28
  • APT24
  • APT37

It’s crucial to defend your company against APT malware. Malware-based advanced persistent attacks can be particularly harmful to your company. While it’s crucial to have a firewall and other fundamental cybersecurity measures in place, you must take particular precautions to guard against APT malware. To know more about APT and how you will be protected from it, talk to us today.