In light of the increasing incidents of email account hijacking etc the
following should be of interest to investigative and security professionals,
as well as their clients.
Symantic has released a 52-page report published in April 2012 entitled
Information Security Threat Report - 2011 Trends, Volume 17. This
comprehensive report relates the wide range of challenges facing computer
security professionals. Targeted attacks have been customized malware and
refined social engineering to gain unauthorized access to sensitive
information. This is the next evolution of social engineering where victims
are researched in advance and specifically targeted. There is also a
portion of the report dealing with attacks against handheld devices and
balancing the risks and benefits in "The Cloud."
Targeted attacks from industrial espionage exploitation of advance
persistent threats or what is now referred to as "APTs" have become a
buzzword and used and misused by the media but still pose a significant
threat. All rely on using a variety of means such as drive-by-downloads, SQL
injected malware, phishing and spam.
APTs differ from conventional targeted attacks and according to the report:
1- use highly customized tools and intrusion techniques
2- use stealthy, patient, persistent methods to reduce risk of detection
3- aim to gather high-value, national objectives such as military, political
or economic intelligence
4- are well-funded and well-staffed, perhaps operating with the support of
military or state intelligence organizations
5- are more likely to target organizations of strategic importance such as
government agencies, defense contractors, high profile manufacturing,
critical infrastructure operators and their partner ecosystems.
Cybercriminals are also learning new techniques from these attacks using
polymorphic code in mass malware attacks and spammers exploiting social
engineering on social networks. The report also comments that APTs are
often aimed at stealing intellectual property and suggesting newer roles for
cybercriminals as information brokers in industrial espionage schemes.
The report is full of 2011 statistics regarding the extent of security
breaches, their types and targets, and the extensive information on targeted
email attacks against industry sectors.
A link to the full report may be found at:
ISPLA Director of Government Affairs
Your Proactive Voice from State Capitols to the Nation's Capitol
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