Our sales director at ThrottleNet, Chris Montgomery, explains how advanced persistent threats, APTs, can run silently in the background collecting data from your network. These attacks cannot be detected by anti-malware, anti-virus, or anti-spyware software due to how the attacks are performed, however, there are several preventative measures you can take to ensure you don’t become a victim. Learn more about APTs, and how to prevent attacks in this TNtv Alert!
HOW DO APTS WORK?
Advanced Persistent Threats can compromise an entire network while going unnoticed. The following ways are how APTs get into your network if it is not properly protected and breach your network:
- A hacker gains access through Phishing.
- The malware waits and records data.
- The malware sends data and gains further instructions from a command server.
APTs can gain access to a network through Phishing by a hacker. Whether it be a malicious email, network file, or application, a hacker will find its vulnerability and insert malware. The inserted malware will offer an access point for the hacker and your network will be compromised. The inserted malware waits and records your network’s data and actively searches for any more vulnerabilities it can use.
The malware may also communicate with a command and control server to gain further malicious code or instructions. At this point, the malware can access additional instructions from a command server and send more data. The inserted malware will then figure out a way to establish that its attack may still continue even if one point is closed.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN APT?
After the malicious threat has been inserted into your network, the hacker now has reliable access to your data. The data that hackers are more likely interested in are your passwords and account names. Your passwords and account names are what allows the hackers, or threat actors, to find and collect your data. So what actually happens during an Advanced Persistent Threat? This targeted data will be sent to the hands of the hackers:
- Account numbers
- Any other personal data available
The malware inserted by the threat actor collects this targeted data through a staging server. This data is then extracted from your network and the threat actor has complete control over it. By now, your business’s network is fully compromised by the Advanced Persistent Threat. The hacker now has the ability to access your network whenever they please to keep the data breach going. Since an APT runs silently in the background, there will be no evidence of the attack even though your network is still breached.
WHY ARE APTS SO HARD TO FIND?
Advanced Persistent Threats are so difficult to detect for many organizations because even the most common solutions such as anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-spyware, are not effective enough in finding this type of threat. To simplify, APTs are harder to find because:
- Anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-spyware aren’t effective
Persistence and its level of capabilities are both in the name of an Advanced Persistent Threat. These threats are just that: advanced and persistent. This is what makes is so hard for these traditional solutions to detect and APT. In addition, Advanced Persistent Threats are able to create zero-day exploits. A zero-day vulnerability is an unknown security flaw in your software that hackers use to their advantage.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
In order to protect your business against an Advanced Persistent Threat, it is crucial that the following precautions are taken:
- Avoid odd-looking emails. Always look at From and Subject lines.
- Never click on links within emails unless trusted sender.
- Never open attachments unless trusted sender.
Following the above outline will help protect your business against a threat actor inserting malware into your network and compromising it. To further protect your business, the most effective solution you can take is to use a third-party provider such as us at ThrottleNet. At ThrottleNet, we have the right tools and talents to scan to any APTs. If we were to find and APT in your network, we will diagnose and remove it before it can do any further damage with your data.
If you’d like any more information about how ThrottleNet can help your business against Advanced Persistent Threats, please contact us today!