Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are a type of cyber attack featuring sophisticated malicious actors that target victims for a long period of time, compromising their system and confidential information. Such attackers usually initiate their attack with a phishing email, initial contact, or social engineering, and then use the access that they gain to continuously probe systems and networks for more access. Once a cybercriminal has access to a system, they may remain for months or even years, siphoning data and compromising other networks, applications, and accounts.
Examples of Advanced Persistent Threats:
Stuxnet: Stuxnet is a computer worm that was initially used in 2010 to target Iran's nuclear weapons program. It gathered information, damaged centrifuges, and spread itself. It was thought to be an attack by a state actor against Iran.
Duqu: Duqu is a computer virus developed by a nation state actor in 2011. It's similar to Stuxnet and it was used to surreptitiously gather information with the goal of infiltrating networks and sabotage their operations.
DarkHotel: DarkHotel is a malware campaign that targeted hotel networks in Asia, Europe and North America in 2014. The attackers broke into hotel Wi-Fi networks and used the connections to infiltrate networks of their guests, who were high profile corporate executives. They stole confidential information from their victims and also installed malicious software on victims' computers.
MiniDuke: MiniDuke is a malicious program from 2013 that is believed to have originated from a state-sponsored group. Its goal is to infiltrate into the target organizations and steal confidential information through a series of malicious tactics.
APT28: APT28 is an advanced persistent threat group that is believed to be sponsored by a nation state. It uses tactics such as spear phishing, malicious website infiltration and password harvesting to target government and commercial organizations.
OGNL: OGNL, or Operation GeNIus Network Leverage, is a malware-focused campaign believed to have been conducted by a nation state actor. It is used to break into networks and steal confidential information, such as credit card numbers, financial records, and social security numbers.