If you’ve ever seen a movie where the bad guys are using ongoing, invasive hacking to spy on their “enemy,” you have some familiarity with an advanced persistent threat (APT).
This term usually refers to an attack carried out by a group that targets a specific entity using malware and other sophisticated techniques to exploit vulnerabilities in the target’s systems. It is often done for intelligence gathering with political, financial or business motives.
For example, an APT aimed at a corporation could take the form of Internet-based malware that is used to access company systems, or a physical infection, such as malicious code uploaded to the system via a USB drive. These kinds of attacks often leverage trusted connections, such as employee or business partners to gain access and can happen when hackers use spear phishing techniques to target specific users at a company.
Remaining undetected for as long as possible is a main objective with these attacks. It is their goal to surreptitiously collect as much sensitive data as they can. The “persistent” element implies that there is a central command monitoring the information coming in and the scope of the cyberattack.
Even though APTs are not usually aimed at individuals, …read more
Read the full article here: http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/advanced-persistent-threat