APTs, also known as advanced persistent threats, are defined by their ability to use sophisticated technology and multiple methods and vectors to reach specific targets to obtain sensitive or classified information. The most recent examples include Stuxnet, Flame and Gauss.
In 2013, Fortinet predicts that we'll see APTs targeted at the civilian population, which includes CEOs, celebrities and political figures. Verifying this prediction will be difficult, however, because after attackers get the information they're looking for, they can quietly remove the malware from a target device before the victim realizes that an attack has even occurred. What's more, individuals who do discover they have been victims of an APT will likely not report the attack to the media. Because these attacks will first affect individuals and not directly critical infrastructure, governments or public companies, some types of information being targeted will be different. Attackers will look for information they can leverage for criminal activities such as blackmail, threatening to leak information unless payment is received.
Fortinet, a leader in high-performance network security, recently revealed FortiGuard Labs' 2013 threat predictions, highlighting six threats to watch out for next year. Expected trends include mobile advanced persistent threats, IPv6 safe havens and exploits through machine-to-machine communications.