Six Robust Practices to Prevent APT Attacks

Six Robust Practices to Prevent APT Attacks

Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are high-risk and impact digital intrusions that occur when attackers can access confidential data for an extended time. APTs are malicious and secretive and require multiple layers of security and constant network monitoring. 

APTs dodge the stationed security provisions causing damage and disruption. An experienced cyber-attacker utilizes various entry points and vectors to procure the necessary information, allowing them to evade the infrastructure. Here are a few best practices businesses must employ to prevent APT attacks.

Detect and Eliminate Dormant and Active Malware

Organizations must determine and eliminate harmful code, backdoors, scripts, botnets, and commands from the network. Conducting a network-wide investigation helps businesses discover and diminish any harmful software or code in the systems. Companies must utilize robust techniques to eliminate dangerous regulations from networks. By analyzing network traffic, businesses can detect systems that communicate with familiar command and control servers. At the same time, “honeypots” decoy systems on the web by attracting, trapping, and analyzing malicious activities.

Furthermore, host-based intrusion detection systems (HIDS) monitor activity on individual systems or servers to detect malicious software that breaches the system. Lastly, an automated host-based analysis (HBAT) utilizes a method identical to HIDS, however; it scans various systems simultaneously, making the process more efficient.

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Block Unauthorized Access

Organizations must block unauthorized network access by deploying a solid firewall, an authentication and access control system, and network segmentation. A firewall actively blocks network access from outside and is vital to any cyber-security strategy.

At the same time, authentication and access control system effectively manage the data and network access, while network segmentation divides the network into multiple pieces and control the communication between those pieces.

Moreover, organizations must utilize a reliable cyber-security provider that offers network segmentation as part of their service to help secure the data against network attacks. Powerful network segmentation tools and techniques ensure adequate protection of data and networks.

Manage Privileged User Access and Utilize the Least Privilege

Organizations must build a hierarchy of access control systems and implement a two-factor authentication system followed by frequently auditing access to control privileged user access. An authentication and access control system with a tiered authorization system offers a multitude of authorizations as per job functions and data that the individual needs access to. Two-factor authentication enables businesses to employ two pieces of identification, such as passwords and the device or system from where the user will access sensitive information.

Enable a Web Application Firewall and Install an Antivirus

A web application firewall combats APT attacks since it can detect and prevent attacks from web applications by inspecting HTTP traffic. At the same time, updated antivirus programs track malware, viruses, and Trojans that attackers usually employ to exploit the system. Furthermore, ensuring the antivirus can access real-time data and determine the new active threats is essential rather than just recognizing known malware.

Employ Intrusion Prevention Systems, Build a Sandboxing Environment and Install a VPN

Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are essential IT security service that detects questionable, malicious codes and alerts within the system. IPS is a robust tool that actively tracks network compromises before their exploitation.

A sandbox is a secure virtual environment allowing organizations to access and run untrusted programs or codes without hindering the operating system. For example, businesses must isolate, prevent, and eliminate upcoming infections if a file is infected.

Like an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot, post-remote access risks pose an easy opportunity for APT hackers to procure initial access to the company’s network. A virtual private network (VPN) offers a mighty encrypted tunnel that businesses and employees utilize to access the network without cyber-criminals monitoring the regular activities or data gathering.

Carefully Monitor Incoming and Outgoing Data Traffic and Requests

Businesses must monitor unusual activities on the databases and track abnormal data access requests helping them determine the early warning signs of an APT attack on the system. If organizations notice, for example, steady data movements on the secure serves to less secure ones, this can be a symptom of an APT on the network.

This level of vigilance is challenging, hence; businesses must employ an experienced team of experts and a robust IDS/IPS solution. At the same time, stationing an event logging solution is vital for tracking accessing data files and tracking the location.

Some firewalls help businesses automatically inspect outgoing traffic and destinations. Since all the IT environments do not have a reliable IDS/IPS solution to enable close data access traffic monitoring, businesses can utilize a secure cloud solution that effectively and cost-effectively integrates these elements.

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Why APT Tools Are Vital

Organizations must rely on trustworthy vendors that offer APT tools. These tools must be multi-faceted to provide security against multiple threats. APT attack detection and protection tools must encompass features like network and behavioral analytics with solid endpoint monitoring. Attributes of APT tools are-

  • Blocks Exploiting Behavior- APT tools monitor endpoints for suspicious patterns that are vulnerable and exploited by cyber-attackers. These tools will efficiently detect threat patterns and block and eliminate them.
  • Unveils Hidden Threats- APT tools utilize adequate mechanisms to pinpoint the threats in an attack chain. They also detect patterns of potential exploits in endpoint devices, networks, and users. These features will help businesses break down the attack process and its initial access.
  • Blocks Exploit Derived Malware- APT tools secure sensitive data and prevent attackers from gaining access by utilizing multilayer protection from behavioral monitoring and sandboxing to analysis. This process effectively stops company systems even if attackers deploy malware in the network, preventing the intended harm.
  • Offers Precision and Accuracy- APT attack response solutions must provide high accuracy and precision, making it easier for security teams to analyze an incident. Businesses can leverage automatic or manual remediation. These features allow security teams a simple mitigation process by limiting disruptions in business operations.

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