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Advanced Persistent Threat

  • Last Updated : 18 May, 2021

Introduction to Advanced Persistent Threat :  
This is something that even keeps the cybersecurity experts to be in alert all time. It is a kind of attack employed by the attacker by using a range of techniques, It is basically done by the attacker to steal valuable data and more. These attacks are being witnessed in major business sectors with some specific goals that are stealing data and so on.  

What is an advanced persistent threat?  

  • It is when the attacker/intruder gains access to the network and stays for a longer period of time. The goal of the advanced persistent threat is to maintain access and to get data as much as possible.
  • When the attackers are using the Advanced Persistent Threat, the targets are chosen carefully, and they are properly researched. To execute the APT, the attacker requires more resources.

This advanced persistent threat is not like any traditional threat, they differ from that :

  • They are more complicated.
  • When the network gets infiltrated by the attacker, they stay for a longer period of time to get data as much as possible.

The attacker may have accessed the network, but there is a high chance of getting detected. So to maintain access for a longer period of time, the attacker tends to use some advanced methods, rewriting malicious code and other sophisticated techniques.  

Note : Advanced Persistent Threat is difficult to identify. This is why cybersecurity professionals always observe if there is any problem or if the network has become the target of an APT attack.



How does an Advanced Persistent Threat work?  
There are some steps that the attacker does to gain access and maintain access on the network which are as follows :

  1. Gain access –
    The attackers can gain access through the network. This is done through spear-phishing email or other methods where the attacker’s main intention is to insert the malicious software into the target network.
  2. Broadening its access –
    When the access part is done by the attacker, they start exploiting the malware. This exploiting of malware makes the attacker move around without even getting detected.
  3. Gaining more access –
    When the attacker has gained access to the network, they may use some ways like password cracking to get the administrative rights. This will allow the attacker to get more control of the system and get access at a deeper level.
  4. Move at will –
    When the attacker has breached all the system and got the administrative rights they can move around.
  5. Harvesting of data –
    When the attackers are in the system, they start harvesting the data and store those data on their own system. They can remain in the system for a longer period of time until they are detected.

What are the characteristics of the Advanced Persistent Threat?  

  1. When Advanced Persistent Attacks are used, the attackers choose their target very carefully.
  2. To perform the advance persistent threat, the basic steps are being followed like gaining access and so on.

How to detect the Advanced Persistent Threat?  

  1. There can be some unusual activity on user accounts.
  2. There can be some unusual data files present in the system.

How to be protected from Advanced Persistent threat?  

  1. There must be a firewall in the system. It will act as the first layer of defense in the Advanced Persistent Threat.
  2. An antivirus should be installed in the system.
  3. One should also enable email protection.

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