The Most Famous Advanced Persistent Threats in History

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Red October, a malware program designed to steal secrets from government and research organizations (including data on mobile devices), was discovered in October 2012 by Russian firm Kaspersky Lab. It was believed to have been operating worldwide for at least five years prior to discovery, stealing a wide range of information, including secrets from diplomatic, trade, military, aerospace, energy and research organizations in Russia, Iran, the U.S. and at least 36 other countries.

The Red October attacks were designed to target multiple platforms, including routers, switches, mobile phones and external storage devices, and adapt their actions to different software environments. Among other things, the malware targeted files associated with cryptographic systems, including systems used by NATO, European Union, European Parliament and European Commission departments.

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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