Especially with APTs, so-called Advanced Persistent Threats, the complexity and sophistication that are associated with these cyber attacks, is rarely apparent at first sight. Focused on the objective, these attacks are carried out over a period of several weeks, months or even years, with the goal always being the same: espionage.   Meanwhile, it is no longer just a matter of spying on state information, as it was originally the case. An Advanced Persistent Threat is increasingly posing a risk to companies. Economic and industrial espionage are no longer just encountered in blockbusters from the 70s and 80s. In fact, this threat is a part of the daily routine of small, medium, but also large companies.  

Advanced Persistent Threat – A successive type of attack

  An Advanced Persistent Threat is based on very sophisticated (advanced) techniques of attacking, and the criminal activity continues for a long period of time (persistent). It‘s a long-term undetected spy attack.   The progressive infiltration of a company on a digital and personal level is associated with a great deal of effort from the cyber criminals. A background check of the victim is carried out initially. The next step involves initial approaches of a more subtle nature. It is therefore not uncommon for the attacker to appear in the form of a potential business partner or employee.   If the attacker has a regular opportunity to enter and leave the company, it is only a matter of time before he can implement his tools on individual computers or the entire network in order, for example, to steal sensitive data of a company or even a group in the final phase. Welcome to the Age of Economic Espionage 2.0 by the Advanced Persistent Threat. Conventional security concepts, such as antivirus, firewalls and so on, are by far no longer sufficient to deal with Advanced Persistent Threats. The same applies to the monitoring of data traffic, for example via intrusion detection. Again, further protective measures must be taken into account, which need to be much more complex.   In the following, Hornetsecurity will show you 5 concrete steps to protect your company from an Advanced Persistent Threat:    

1. Realtime Monitoring

In order to defend yourself from exploits, targeted phishing attacks or special forms of Advanced Persistent Threat, you should perform a comprehensive analysis at all times in your organization. Only in this way you will have the opportunity to recognize suspicious technical processes at an early stage and counteract them in a timely and effective manner.    

2. Stay up-to-date

Central databases that collect and analyze cybercrime activities worldwide can help you keep an eye on current threats, which are caused by Advanced Persistent Threats.    

3. Data Leak Prevention

An employee tries to open files for which he has no authorization? Recognize and prevent first irregularities before it is too late and the company’s internal data reach the hands of third parties by electronic means.    

4. Creating Isolated Company Environments

The magic word for this form of protection is “sandbox”. What is meant in principle is a test environment, which is disconnected from the main system, so that files which represent a potential risk can be opened in an isolated area without causing sensational damage. Advanced Persistent Threats can also be contained in this way.    

5. Pattern Recognition

It is of particular relevance that you use applications, which reliably monitor your network traffic, but at the same time can also limit the network if any abnormalities occur. This applies to unauthorized access, but also for the detection of malicious software, which is usually not used in companies. In this way you, as a business, can already rely on a solid foundation to protect yourself against Advanced Persistent Threats.