Today, criminal organizations no longer attack corporations and businesses physically with weapons. Instead, they use computers and malware, aiming to steal vital information that can be used for malicious means. Professional cybercriminal organizations know what they are looking for and will find ways to get it. This is what makes an advanced persistent threat (APT) so scary.
What Is an Advanced Persistent Threat?
An advanced persistent threat is a cyberattack that is long-term, highly targeted, and continuous. An APT attack is organized and has a central objective. Many advanced persistent threats are sponsored, usually by governments or rival competitors, and are aimed at stealing vital information from their targets. The objective of an APT attack could range from surveillance and stealing trade secrets to taking control of a network and completely disabling it.
The Difference From an Ordinary Cyberattack
When comparing an APT attack from an ordinary cyberattack, one can see the huge difference in the scale and resources needed to operate the attack.
Many ordinary cyberattacks target entities with little to no cybersecurity and usually have short-term objectives, like stealing the personal information of clients and the financial activities of companies. Many ordinary cyberattacks are also neutralized by high-level cybersecurity, and regaining access becomes difficult.
An advanced persistent attack, on the other hand, target entities with high-level security, employing different methods of infiltration and taking years to search for vulnerabilities in their target’s system.
Advanced persistent attacks employ low-level cyberattacks, like whaling and injection attacks, to gain access to their target’s system but use personalized malware to remain within the network while evading cybersecurity.