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SMB IT team looking for threats from APTs.

Advanced persistent threat attacks (APTs) are complex attack strategies that focus on developing across multiple stages and incorporate a variety of threat vectors to increase their chances of success. APTs are planned and developed by malicious actors to target specific businesses or entities, and a group of hackers will spend a lot of time gathering information and improving their attack. Threat groups that use this attack strategy will not use them at random, and the goal of the attack will be high value. APT attacks will often focus on stealing intellectual property, gathering sensitive personally identifiable information (PII), taking over an entire site, or another large-scale objective.

What Makes APTs Unique?

Unlike other attack strategies, such as phishing campaigns, APTs are essentially always carried out by dedicated threat groups or state-sponsored actors. The attack will prioritize gaining secure, prolonged connections to a target’s network or information, and the threat group will expend a large amount of resources to do this. APT attacks often take advantage of zero-day vulnerabilities and malware to catch their target unaware, and this is because the dollar value on their target is almost always extremely high. Small and medium businesses still need to be wary of APT attacks, however, because their connection to a larger target can get them involved in the launch of APTs.

APT Attack Strategy

Generally speaking, APT attacks will roll out over the course of time in stages. To begin the attack, the threat group will require sure footed access to the network they want to attack. Once they have gained access by exploiting vulnerabilities or using social engineering to ensure their presence isn’t obvious, they will infect the network with their choice of malware. Afterwards, this malware will silently access as much of the network without detection as possible before the actual attack launches. The full attack will often be accompanied by smaller attacks to redirect IT resources as the hackers steal the information they want and then proceed to launch follow up attacks to gather more information and do more damage.

Mitigating the Threat of APTs

While APT attacks represent a significant threat to businesses, they can be identified early and mitigated strongly with reliable security measures and strong company policies. Email filtering services and DNS-layer security features can help protect a business’ network from allowing malicious actors to gain a foothold in the network. Endpoint protection and network detection and response tools can then monitor and defend the network and user endpoints against threats that sneak into the network or exploit vulnerabilities in unexpected places. Businesses of all sizes should also ensure their cybersecurity policies are up to date and train their employees to be vigilant and have strong cybersecurity habits.


APTs may seem like a threat exclusive to big businesses, but this is not always the case. Small and medium businesses can become a target if they work with an important enough client that allows them access to sensitive information or if they can act as a way to gain access to the hacker’s actual target. This means small and medium businesses must take the threat of these attacks seriously, and our team here at Robinett Consulting want to help. Our security experts want to work with your small business to get to know your unique IT environment and offer the best solutions that protect against APTs and other threats in your industry!

Robinett Consulting

Author Robinett Consulting

At Robinett Consulting, we are your consultative partner who strives to grow your business and have technology truly enabling you. We aim to understand you and your business so that you do what you do best unhindered by your IT.

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