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Long-Running Cyberattacks Become The Norm

Many companies are so focused on the perimeter that they have little idea what's going on inside the network.

One thing that the depressing string of data breaches this year shows is that cyber attackers have become skilled at staging long-lasting data exfiltration campaigns.

Security experts aren't clear whether this is a new trend or something that companies are finally waking up to only now. Either way, the attacks represent a real problem for companies that are still stuck with perimeter-centric defense strategies that are focused purely on keeping intruders out of the enterprise network.

[What Will Insurers Face on the Regulatory Front in 2015?]

The attacks on companies like Sony, Home Depot, and Target over the past year show that many hackers have eschewed smash-and-grab attacks for campaigns that are highly targeted and explicitly designed to extract huge amounts of data over a period of time.

In many of the attacks, hackers used convincing spear-phishing campaigns to drop malware on targeted systems and gain an initial foothold on a corporate network. In other attacks, like the ones at Target and Home Depot, hackers used login credentials stolen from third parties to gain access to their victims' networks.

Both tactics allowed attackers to relatively easily bypass whatever perimeter security controls the companies might have stuck at the edge of their network. And once inside, they leveraged a combination of custom malware tools and regular IT tools to make their way around the network and extract data almost at will without being detected.

Read the full story on Dark Reading.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

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