APT Scanner

Advanced Persistent
Threat Scanner
"Prevent high damage from early detection of compromised systems."

APT Scanner​

Advanced Persistent
Threat Scanner​
"Prevent high damage from early detection of compromised systems."

Advanced Persistant Threat Scanner (APT Scanner)

The APT Scanner is the core component of our Compromise Assessment Service. With its use, network, systems and applications can be continuously scanned for signs of Advanced Persistant Threat (APT) activity. The APT Scanner detects suspicious behavior patterns, unusual network activity, or indicators that could point to an APT attack. Professional evaluation of the scan results enables our cyber defense experts to efficiently and reliably detect compromised IT systems in your infrastructure.

Play it safe, track down compromised systems in your infrastructure before high damage is done.

Are you asking yourself whether your company has already been attacked and whether your protective measures are really effective? Find out!

At SECUINFRA, we have a passion for detecting attacks and helping our customers fight them. For this purpose, we have developed a solution in cooperation with Nextron-Systems GmbH, which is intended to support you in achieving precisely this goal, because so-called Advanced Persistent Threats remain undetected for a long time and can cause great damage.

An APT scanner can use various techniques to detect these attacks. This includes monitoring network traffic, analyzing log files, detecting anomalies in user and system behavior, and using machine learning algorithms to identify suspicious activity.

How an APT scanner works

How does an APT scanner detect cyberattacks? Unlike classic antivirus software, an APT scanner does not search for fragments of malicious code, but for traces of an attack, so-called Indicators of Compromise (IOCs), as in a forensic investigation. For this purpose, the APT scanner uses a set of rules that includes Indicators of Compromise (IOCs).

This set of rules is applied to various artifacts in a system (files, folder structures, running processes, contents of RAM, log data…) to search for traces of past or ongoing cyberattacks.

Through the international cooperation of the cyber defense community, new cyber attacks are constantly analyzed, Indicators of Compromise are derived and stored as new rules in the APT scanner.

This ensures that an APT scanner becomes more accurate in its results over time and, unlike classic antivirus software, has an extremely high detection rate for compromised systems.

In a cyber attack, attackers or an APT group use various tools and techniques to achieve their goals. These tools and techniques inevitably leave detectable traces on compromised systems. Clever attackers will cover some of these traces, but eliminating all traces is not possible!

By analyzing compromised IT systems and collecting evidence, it is possible to derive Indicators of Compromise (IOCs).

These Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) are entered into the APT scanner rule set and used in future scans.

If an attacker uses similar tools and techniques, they will be detected very efficiently by the APT scanner and the time-consuming forensic investigation can be accelerated enormously.

Application examples of an APT scanner

CA

Compromise Assessment

The APT Scanner is the core component of our Service Compromise Assessment. By professionally evaluating the scan results of the APT Scanner, our cyber defense experts are able to efficiently and reliably detect compromised IT systems in your infrastructure.

DF

Digital Forensics

In Digital Forensics, our cyber defense experts use APT scanners to quickly get an initial overview of the extent of a cyber attack. Furthermore, initial conclusions can be drawn about the course of events. Both are absolutely necessary to fully investigate an external cyber attack or internal misconduct.

IR

Incident Response

The main goal in Incident Response is to restore IT operations as quickly as possible. By using an APT scanner, our cyber defense experts achieve exactly the speed they need. With the help of the APT scanner, they very quickly gain an overview of the extent of a cyber attack at the beginning of their mission.

The most important FAQ from the APT Scanner section

An “advanced persistent threat” (APT) refers to an advanced and persistent cyber threat, usually directed against specific, high-value targets. An APT is typically a long-term cyberattack that aims to penetrate and go unnoticed on a network to steal or manipulate data rather than cause quick, immediate damage.

The “Advanced” component of APT refers to the high technological capability and skill of the attackers. They often use sophisticated methods, including zero-day exploits and social engineering, to achieve their goals.

“Persistent” refers to the persistence and long-term nature of these types of attacks. APT attackers are usually very patient and can remain active on a network for months or even years to achieve their goal.

“Threat” finally indicates that it is an active and serious threat that can cause significant damage, especially if not detected and defended against early.

APT attacks are often well-funded and can originate from criminal organizations or even state-sponsored actors. They often target governments, military installations, large corporations, and other high-value targets.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) are complex, multi-stage attacks. This type of attack is usually targeted and can last for months or even years. Here is a basic overview of how such attacks might play out:

  1. Target identification and research: First, attackers identify their targets and research them extensively to find vulnerabilities. This can include organizations or individuals. They gather as much information as possible to plan their attack strategy.

  2. Infiltration: After creating an attack plan, the attackers attempt to penetrate the target’s network. They may use various methods to do so, including phishing attacks, use of zero-day exploits, or malware deployment.

  3. Movement in the network (Lateral Movement): Once they gain access to the network, they attempt to expand their presence by moving to other systems. This process is known as Lateral Movement. The goal is to gain access to valuable data or resources and take control of the network.

  4. Persistence: APT attackers strive to make their presence on the network as unobtrusive and persistent as possible. They can use various techniques to do so, such as installing backdoors, creating fake user accounts or exploiting system vulnerabilities.

  5. Exfiltration: after gaining access to the desired information, the attackers start exfiltration, i.e. they transfer the data out of the network without being noticed.

  6. Concealment: Finally, the attackers will try to eliminate all traces of their activities to avoid detection later.

It is important to note that APT attacks can be difficult to detect and remediate due to their complex and targeted nature. Therefore, a proactive security strategy that relies on threat intelligence, regular security audits and continuous monitoring is critical.

Detection and mitigation of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) require a layered security strategy because APTs are sophisticated and often circumvent traditional security measures. Here are some important steps to detect and defend against APTs:

  1. Network monitoring and analysis: Continuous monitoring and analysis of network traffic is critical to detect unusual activity or deviations that could indicate an APT attack.

  2. Threat Intelligence: Threat intelligence services can provide organizations with up-to-date information about known APTs, their modus operandi, and how to detect them.

  3. Security assessment and penetration testing: Regular security assessments and penetration testing can identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by APTs before they do.

  4. Incident Response Plan: A good incident response plan is critical to responding quickly and effectively to security incidents and can help limit the damage of an APT attack.

  5. Employee training: Employees should be trained in security best practices, including how to identify phishing attempts and how to use network resources safely, as human error often plays a role in APT attacks.

  6. Patches and Updates: Security patches and updates should be applied immediately to address known vulnerabilities that could be exploited by APTs.

  7. Use of Advanced Security Tools: Some advanced security tools such as Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) can help detect and defend against APTs.

These strategies can help organizations protect their networks from APTs, but it is important to note that no strategy can guarantee 100% security. It is critical to always remain vigilant and follow the latest trends and developments in cyber security.

Below are some examples of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

  1. Stuxnet: Perhaps the best-known example of an APT, Stuxnet was a malware program specifically designed to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. It is widely believed that this attack was carried out by the United States and Israel.

  2. Operation Aurora: This series of attacks, carried out in 2009, targeted several major technology and defense companies, including Google and Juniper Networks. These attacks are believed to have been sponsored by China.

  3. APT28 (Fancy Bear) and APT29 (Cozy Bear): These two Russian hacker groups are known for their advanced and persistent attacks. They are suspected of being behind the 2016 attacks on the U.S. Democratic Party.

  4. The Equation Group: This sophisticated group of hackers is associated with the US National Security Agency (NSA). They are known for their advanced cyber attack capabilities and were first identified by Russian IT security firm Kaspersky Lab in 2015.

  5. Lazarus Group: This North Korean hacking group has been linked to a number of APTs, including the infamous Sony Pictures hack in 2014 and an attempt to steal from Bangladesh Bank in 2016.

These examples demonstrate how APTs are capable of threatening both national security interests and enterprise networks at the highest levels. They underscore the need for an effective cybersecurity strategy to protect against such threats.

Identifying the specific actors behind Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks can be challenging, as attackers often go to significant lengths to mask their identity and location. Still, many APT attacks can be traced to specific groups or even states based on the technology used, the targets of the attack, and other indicators.

APT actors are often well-funded and highly skilled. In many cases, these are state-sponsored hacker groups or entities working on behalf of a particular country. They carry out these attacks to gain economic, political, or military advantage by stealing information, undermining infrastructure, or spreading disinformation.

There are also cases where APT attacks are carried out by criminal organizations. These groups could carry out such attacks for a variety of reasons, such as financial gain, competitive advantage, or simply to wreak havoc.

It is important to note that attribution of APT attacks is a complex process and often requires a combination of technical analysis and intelligence gathering. In addition, false flags can sometimes be used, where attackers try to make their attacks look like they are carried out by another group or country to create confusion and hide their own identity.

An APT scanner, in the context of cybersecurity, is a tool or system designed to detect and analyze Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). These scanners are designed to identify advanced, persistent and targeted cyber threats.

An APT scanner can operate at different levels of a network and analyze different types of data to detect signs of APT activity. This can include monitoring network traffic for unusual patterns or activity, checking system logs for signs of intrusion attempts, or scanning files for possible malware.

Some APT scanners use advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to better detect potential threats and adapt to new attacker tactics and techniques.

It is important to note that APT scanners are only one part of a comprehensive security strategy. They can help detect and analyze threats, but they cannot prevent all types of cyberattacks. Therefore, they should always be used in combination with other security measures such as firewalls, antivirus programs, secure software development and security training for employees.

An Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Scanner is a tool that scans networks for traces of APT activity. Such scanners use a combination of techniques and methods to detect and isolate potential threats. Here is how they usually work:

  1. Signature-based detection: Many APT scanners have a database of known threat signatures that they use to look for matches in network traffic or on host systems. When a match is found, an alarm is triggered.

  2. Anomaly detection: APT scanners may also be able to detect anomalous behavior that indicates a potential threat. For example, this could be unusually high traffic, suspicious login attempts or unexpected changes to system files.

  3. Sandboxing: Some APT scanners use sandboxing techniques to run potentially malicious files or programs in an isolated environment and monitor what they do. This can help identify malicious activity that might otherwise have gone undetected.

  4. Threat Intelligence: Many APT scanners also integrate threat intelligence services that provide continuously updated information about new and emerging threats. This information can be used to improve the scanner’s detection capabilities and respond more quickly to new threats.

  5. Forensic analysis: If APT infection is suspected, the scanners perform a detailed investigation. They collect data and logs for further analysis to determine the extent of the attack and identify possible entry points.

  6. Reporting and alerting: After identifying a potential threat, APT scanners provide detailed reports and alerts. They typically provide information about the type of threat, its impact, and recommendations for remediation.

It is important to note that no APT scanner can guarantee 100% security, as APTs are inherently difficult to detect. Therefore, they should be considered as part of a comprehensive security strategy that also includes other measures such as employee training, strict access controls and regular security audits.

Enterprises need an APT scanner for several reasons:

  1. Threat detection: An APT scanner helps detect advanced persistent threats (APTs) that can bypass traditional security measures. APTs are often very good at hiding and remaining undetected on the network.

  2. Protecting sensitive data: APTs often target the theft of sensitive information. An APT scanner can help prevent the intrusion of such threats and thus ensure data protection.

  3. Preventing downtime: A successful APT attack can cause significant operational disruptions. By detecting and responding to such attacks early, an APT scanner can help prevent downtime.

  4. Adherence to compliance regulations: Many industries have strict regulations for data security and data protection. An APT scanner can help meet compliance requirements by helping to keep networks secure.

  5. Reputation protection: Data breaches can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation. An APT scanner can help prevent such breaches and thus protect the company’s reputation.

  6. Cost savings: While deploying an APT scanner requires an investment, the cost of recovery from a successful APT attack, including downtime, data loss, and compliance violation penalties, can be significantly higher. Therefore, the use of an APT scanner can lead to significant cost savings in the long run.

Do you have further questions about the use of an APT scanner? Then contact us directly!

That's why SECUINFRA

  • Damage minimization
    Prevent high damage by detecting compromised systems early. SECUINFRA cyber defense experts have been searching for and finding compromised systems and helping mitigate damage on a daily basis since 2010.
  • Reliability
    Play it safe and have SECUINFRA cyber defense experts regularly scan your most critical systems for Indicators of Compromise (IOC). We reliably find compromised systems in your infrastructure.
  • Efficiency
    APT scanners are by far the most reliable and efficient technology for detecting compromised IT systems. Increase your cyber resilience with the reliability of APT scanners and save costs with the efficiency of the technology.

Strategic partners

Our long-standing strategic partnership is primarily with Nextron Systems.

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