In its 2013 Advanced Threat Report, FireEye defined advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks as:
The use of distinct TTPs [techniques, tactics and procedures] that appear to be employed directly or indirectly by a nation-state or professional criminal organization. The goals of such attacks range from short-term cyber espionage to long-term subversion of targeted networks.
While these TTPs continually change in what Mandiant likens to “a game of cat and mouse,” some things about APTs remain the same:
What the APT does varies on the intent of the attack. Mandiant’s M-Trends® 2015 Report offers the following motives:
According to the 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report:
Many of the most pernicious attacks we’ve seen in the recent past have come … from an assortment of external actors—including cybercriminals, nation-states, hacktivists and cyberterrorists—that frequently masquerade as insiders by using stolen or compromised credentials to access all types of valuable data, including personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), financial data and intellectual property. In addition to “bad guys” acting like insiders, firms are also relying on a growing list of third-parties to handle both non-core and increasingly core business functions. … Traditional outsourcing relationships, public cloud services, big-data applications and the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) have collectively expanded the data supply chain and contributed to an exponential increase in the number of external parties with some level of access to our networks and sensitive data. Prior work by 451 Research has indicated that, in the case of some large global firms, the number of third-party data relationships can easily number in the tens of thousands. Thus, … the line between insider and outsider continues to blur....
The Vormetric Data Security Platform
Vormetric doesn’t try to keep cyber criminals out of your system using traditional perimeter defenses. Instead, it:
Because those who want to steal your data have so many ways to get to it, Vormetric’s approach is to protect the data itself through Vormetric Transparent Encryption with integrated Key Management for data at rest, Application Encryption, Tokenization with Dynamic Masking and more. These techniques make the data meaningless and worthless without the tools to decrypt it.
However, encryption would fall short when defending against APTs, if cyber criminals were to gain access to the tools for decrypting the data. So the next step is to tightly control user access.
Finally, Vormetric enables the enterprise to monitor and identify extraordinary data access. Vormetric Security Intelligence provides detailed management logs that specify which processes and users have accessed protected data. The detailed management logs specify when users and processes accessed data, under which policies, and if access requests were allowed or denied. The management logs will even expose when a privileged user submits a command like 'switch users' in order to attempt to imitate, and potentially exploit, the credentials of another user. Sharing these logs with a security information and event management (SIEM) platform helps uncover anomalous patterns in processes and user access, which can prompt further investigation. For example, an administrator or process may suddenly access much larger volumes of data than normal, or attempt to do an unauthorized download of files. These events could point to an APT attack or malicious insider activities.
To learn more about Vormetric can help your enterprise defend itself against APTs, contact Vormetric today.
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