The main objective behind an Advanced Persistent Threat, also known as an APT attack, is to gather sensitive data over a long period of time to maximize the criminal earnings. This also leads to an increase in financial loss to the target. As for timeliness, it is the amount of time a hacker or a hacking organization dedicates to gain access into a prospective target’s system. Advanced Persistent Threat is not a question of if, but rather of when. APT attacks are generally targeted at government organizations, large industrial conglomerates, MNCs, but small businesses also need to be prepared. The level of preparation is to be improved as these attacks go undetected in basic signature-based detectors and log management tools.
Some of the similarities and differences between APTs and other cyber attacks are:
- APTs are similar to a targeted attack in terms of having a fixed target system while they are different in terms of duration of an attack,
- APTs are different from general cybercrimes such as impersonation and bullying as they are not personally targeted, and
- APTs are resource-intensive attacks same as DDoS (Direct Denial of Service) attack
This guide addresses the characteristics of APT attacks, phases of an APT attack, some of the most famous APT attacks in cyber history, and how to level up your security measures.