Common Techniques Used In Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) is a sort of stealthy and sophisticated cyber attack that is often conducted by nation-state actors, organised crime rings, or other knowledgeable hackers. APT is distinguished by the way they access targeted systems using cutting-edge methods and tools while avoiding detection for lengthy periods of time.  

Once an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) has access to a system, it can be used to steal confidential information, damage intellectual property, disrupt corporate operations, or steal money. APT is frequently employed in targeted assaults on particular companies or people, and they are made to avoid detection for as long as possible in order to accomplish their goals. 

When it comes to protecting against Advanced Persistent threat (APT), the rising popularity of cloud-based systems has created new dangers and challenges for organisations. However, organisations can considerably lower their chance of being a target of an APT attack by comprehending the nature of APT and adopting the necessary precautions to defend their systems.

APT vs.Traditional Cyberattacks 

  • APT Are More Sophisticated: APT are significantly more sophisticated in their approach than typical cyberattacks, which sometimes rely on mass email campaigns or untargeted malware. Attackers frequently put months or even years into planning and researching their attacks since they are made specifically to infiltrate a certain target.
  • APT Are More Persistent: Traditional cyberattacks are frequently made to be quick and effective, with attackers looking to accomplish their goals as soon as possible. Contrarily, APTs are significantly more tenacious and may go unnoticed over extended periods of time. Attackers frequently take precautions to avoid detection and may employ stealthy methods to keep access to a compromised system.
  • APT Are More Targeted: Unlike regular cyberattacks, which may be directed at a variety of targets, APT is frequently intended at particular businesses or people. Attackers frequently utilise social engineering strategies to obtain private data or systems, and they customise their attacks to the particular target they’re attempting to penetrate.
  • APT Require A Different Approach To Defence: Organisations must adopt a distinct strategy to protect against APT since they differ from conventional cyberattacks in several important ways. This can entail adopting more sophisticated threat intelligence tools, regularly performing vulnerability scans, and spending more on cutting-edge security technology.

Common Techniques Used In APT

  • Social Engineering: This tactic involves convincing people to reveal confidential information or do actions that are advantageous to the attacker. Pretexting, baiting, and quid pro quo attacks are a few examples. To establish a presence inside the target organisation during the earliest stages of an APT attack, social engineering is frequently utilised.
  • Spear Phishing: This tactic is sending incredibly targeted emails to particular people within an organisation while frequently assuming the identity of a reliable source, such as a colleague or business partner. These emails frequently include harmful files or links that, when opened, give the attacker access to the target’s computer.
  • Watering Hole Attacks: In this kind of attack, the hacker infiltrates a website that is often used by consumers or staff of the target company. Users that visit the website may be taken to a malicious website or infected with malware, which enables the attacker to access the target system.
  • Malware: To get enduring access to a target’s system, APT attackers frequently deploy malware. Backdoors, remote access trojans, and keyloggers are some examples of malicious software that can be used to track the target’s movements and steal critical information.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: In this type of assault, a vendor who offers services or software to the target company is the target. The vendor’s systems can be compromised, giving the attacker access to the target company’s network.

The Impact Of APT In Real-World Examples 

The Effect of APT can have a better idea of the possible repercussions of an APT breach by reviewing these incidents. Here are some important things to think about:

  • APT can have disastrous effects on organisations, leading to monetary losses, harm to their reputations, and the loss of sensitive data
  • The 2014 Sony Pictures hack, which was attributed to the North Korean APT organisation Lazarus, is one well-known instance. As a result of the attack, sensitive material was made public and computer systems and secret data were destroyed.
  • The 2017 Equifax data breach, which made 143 million customers’ personal information vulnerable, provides a further illustration. APT10, a Chinese APT organisation, was accused of carrying out the breach.
  • The SolarWinds supply chain hack in 2020 targeted numerous businesses, including governmental organisations and IT firms. The attack was linked to APT29, also known as Cosy Bear, a Russian APT organisation.
  • Readers can learn more about the severity and effects of APT assaults by looking at these incidents. It emphasises how crucial it is to have effective cybersecurity measures in place in order to stop and handle these kinds of attacks.

Businesses Risks Of APT

  • Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication: (MFA) for all user accounts is one of the greatest strategies to reduce the dangers associated with APT. By adding this additional layer of security on top of only a login and password,  will be harder for hackers to acquire unauthorised access.
  • Conduct Regular Vulnerability Assessments: To find potential flaws in your apps and systems, doing regular vulnerability assessments is a crucial next step. This can assist you in staying one step ahead of attackers and proactively reducing hazards.
  • Establish A Cybersecurity Culture: APT risks must be reduced by creating a strong cybersecurity culture within your company. Along with regular employee training and awareness campaigns, this also includes data protection and incident response rules and procedures.
  • Implement Advanced Security Solutions: You may more effectively detect and counteract APT by deploying advanced security solutions including intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), endpoint security, and security analytics.
  • Monitor Network Activity: Another crucial step in reducing the risk of APT is to monitor network activity. This can assist you in spotting unusual activity and potential security breaches so you can act quickly to safeguard your systems and data.
  • Keep Software Current: It’s essential to keep all software and applications current with the most recent security patches and upgrades to thwart APT from taking advantage of known vulnerabilities.

The Future Of APT

  • New Trends In APT: Attackers are continually looking for new ways to breach organisations, and the APT landscape is constantly changing. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is attackers one new trend. As attackers utilise machine learning algorithms to analyse enormous volumes of data and modify their tactics as necessary, this could allow APT to become even more sophisticated and challenging to detect.
  • Quantum Computing And APT: The development of quantum computing is another new breakthrough that may have a substantial effect on APT. Compared to conventional computers, quantum computers have the capacity to solve complicated problems significantly more quickly, which might provide attackers with a sizable advantage in the APT field. For instance, quantum computers might be able to break encryption keys that are currently thought to be uncrackable.
  • Future Of APT: It’s difficult to predict with certainty, but APT is probably going to keep getting more advanced and focused. Organisations will need to stay up with their own cybersecurity defences as attackers employ more sophisticated strategies and technologies. 


An advanced form of cyberattack known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) can have catastrophic effects on organisations. APT can steal critical information, interfere with operations, and harm an organisation’s reputation because they are made to go unnoticed for extended periods of time. Organisations should use a multi-layered approach to security, encompassing organisational and technical measures like routine vulnerability assessments, multi-factor authentication, access controls, and employee training, to safeguard against APT. Organisations can greatly lower their chance of succumbing to an APT assault by taking a proactive approach to security.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *