The Most Famous Advanced Persistent Threats in History

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GhostNet was a large-scale cyber espionage operation discovered in March 2009. Its command and control infrastructure was reported to have been based largely in China, although the Chinese government has denied any involvement.

The GhostNet attacks were initiated by spear-phishing emails containing malicious attachments that loaded a Trojan horse on the victim’s system, enabling the execution of commands from a remote command and control system, which downloaded further malware to take full control of the compromised system. The malware included the ability to use audio and video recording devices to monitor the locations housing the compromised computers.

Many of today’s most destructive advanced persistent threats (APTs) were conceived a decade ago, so enterprises that rely on most traditional approaches to cybersecurity are unlikely to succeed against the next generation of attacks. This is one of the cautions in a new book published by global IT association ISACA in cybersecurity awareness month.

Advanced Persistent Threats: How to Manage the Risk to Your Business advises that traditional defenses such as firewalls and anti-malware are not up to the challenge of today’s APTs and that organizations need to add skills, processes and technology to their cybersecurity arsenal.

While new tools are needed to combat ever changing security threats, it is helpful to examine the history of the APT, because it is possible to derive many important lessons for defending against them in the future. The earliest use of the term “advanced persistent threat” emerged from the U.S. government sector in 2005, describing a new, deceptive form of attack that targeted selected employees and tricked them into downloading a file or accessing a website infected with Trojan horse software. This slideshow summarizes known facts, anecdotal evidence and reported claims behind some of the most well known attacks experienced over the last 15 years.

 

Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

 
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