Protecting your business against APT malware is critical. Advanced persistent threats in the form of malware can be especially damaging to your business. While it’s important to have a firewall and other basic cybersecurity protocols in place, you need to take specific steps to protect against APT malware.
APT malware is designed to execute malicious functions on a victim’s computer for a prolonged period of time. Rather than damaging a network or computer, APT malware seeks to continually steal an organization’s data over a lengthy period of time.
APT malware attacks are carefully orchestrated to remain undetected for as long as possible and often fly under the radar of standard antivirus software.
It seems hard to believe a threat can go undetected for a long time, but it happens. For example, five individual groups of threat actors infiltrated Linux servers with remote access trojans for almost ten years . That’s scary, considering a large number of webhosts use Linux.
The complexity of APT malware attacks requires a full-time team to suppress the visibility of the threat. Unlike many cyberattacks, APTs aren’t automated. While some aspects of these attacks are automated, the execution is predominantly manual.
Cybercriminals execute APT malware in several ways, but the most common method is by weaponizing documents. Weaponized documents set the foundation for a multi-stage, automated attack that infects numerous computers inside an organization.
For example, a rich text document or a Microsoft Word document is programmed to download files or load content from a remote server. This initiates a long chain of executions that eventually create a backdoor on the infected machine. Once the backdoor exists, the data mining begins.
A backdoor allows hackers to run just about any command on the victim’s computer, including:
While the malware is running on one device, additional attacks are set up through an ongoing spear-phishing campaign.
Since APT malware is designed to remain undetected, large amounts of data can be collected before anyone becomes suspicious.
APT malware has both short and long-term effects. The short-term effects include sabotaged infrastructure, network outages, site takeovers, and stolen data. The long-term effects involve how that stolen data is used and the impact of deploying massive recovery efforts.
Let’s start with the short-term effects: stolen data.
Successfully executed APT malware can mine sensitive data, including:
These consequences hurt all businesses, but organizations bound by data privacy laws are hurt the most.
Stolen data can bankrupt your business
If you’re bound by regulations like HIPAA, CJIS, or CCPA, you can’t afford to have your data stolen. Data privacy violations are taken seriously by governing agencies; you won’t get off the hook. If an APT malware attack creates a violation, your business can be fined, and you might lose your license to operate.
If you can’t afford to pay your fines, you might have no choice but to go out of business and/or file for bankruptcy. Depending on the severity of the violation, your reputation might become tarnished.
The long-term effects of an APT malware attack can be complex.
Although these attacks are hard to spot, there are telltale signs to watch out for, including:
How to protect against APT malware
While you’ve probably taken basic security measures like using a firewall and antivirus software, that’s not enough to protect against advanced persistent threats (APTs). You need protection specifically designed to identify, isolate, and eliminate APT malware.
Don’t risk your business by staying unprotected. Avoid APT malware attacks with managed security services from Cynet. Our services will provide the following critical protections:
Ready to get protected? Sign up for a free demo to see how Cynet can protect your business from APT malware threats.