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One in five firms ensnared in targeted attacks

12 Feb 2013
Security threats - password theft

One in every five enterprises has found itself the target of an advanced persistent threat (APT) attack, with many more believing they will soon face an attack, according to a recent study.

A study from trade group ISACA, backed by security firm Trend Micro, found that of 1,500 businesses surveyed, more than 60 percent believed that they will soon be the target of an APT operation.

APT attacks have dominated security headlines in recent years as highly-coordinated groups of attackers have conducted prolongued campaigns to infiltrate networks and steal data, particularly intellectual property and strategic information, for business and diplomatic operations.

In response, vendors have sought to integrate new platforms into the network security space, particularly analytics and big data platforms.

According to the study, many businesses believe that the use of social networking platforms in the business space and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives have made their networks more susceptible to an intrusion from an APT operation.

Despite that increased awareness and anxiety, however, the report found that many firms are using conventional security such as firewalls and anti-malware platforms, which ISACA researchers suggest will not properly detect and defend against an APT attack.

"Traditional cyberthreats often move right on if they cannot penetrate their initial target, but an APT will continually attempt to penetrate the desired target until it meets its objective," said ISACA international vice president Christos Dimitriadis.

"And once it does, it can disguise itself and morph when needed, making it difficult to identify or stop."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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