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Firms at risk by ignoring dangers posed by APTs and state sponsored attacks

25 Sep 2012

Trend Micro director of security research Rik Ferguson

Businesses are at risk of underestimating the threats posed by advanced-persistent threats (APTs) and state-sponsored cyber attacks, according to a leading security expert.

Speaking at the V3 Security Summit, Trend Micro security director Rik Ferguson made calls for businesses to become more vigilant.

A maelstrom of sensationalist media coverage regarding APTs and state-sponsored attacks has led to a backlash amongst businesses, with many becoming blasé about the dangers facing their systems, warned Ferguson.

"APT is a reality. And if you ask the European Commission, the French government, the Canadian government, the Australian, the UK, the US, nuclear laboratories, defence installations, even the RSA about the reality of APTs, they'll be only too pleased to give you the details," he said.

The Trend Micro director called for businesses to adapt and update their security policies, explaining that the threat landscape has changed from the days of standard cyber crime activities, such as Scareware and Trojans, where victims were selected at random and attacks were opportunistic.

Instead, while these types of attacks still occur, the last couple of years have seen threats become more targeted.

"This [type of targeted attack] relies on short sighted security in the enterprises, where people still rely on individual, discreet security products providing a status update on what endpoints look like, what servers look like, and what is happening at the firewall," said Ferguson.

"But what is really needed in this new model is broader defences that take account of events happening across the network, throughout the corporate estate. This could inform you that even if on an individual [endpoint] basis, when things look normal and natural, there is actually an attack in progress."

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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