The Most Famous Advanced Persistent Threats in History

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Stuxnet was designed to spread initially through an infected USB drive and then use other exploits to infect or update other computers. It was controlled through two websites in Denmark and Malaysia. The malware contained four different zero-day exploits, a considerable investment for a single attack because such exploits can be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The size and sophistication of the code indicated that the development cost would have been substantial, requiring on the order of a dozen or more man-years. Further derivatives of Stuxnet, called Duqu and Flame, were discovered over the next two years, suggesting that these attacks were part of an ongoing development program.

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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