What is a Targeted Threat in Cybersecurity? (Impact, How to Prevent)

<p>Targeted Threats are those that are directed at a single individual or a small number of people. Virus authors used to strive to disseminate their infection to as many computer users as possible in order to get notoriety. However, today's hackers are primarily motivated by financial gain, and tailored attacks are increasingly replacing worldwide viral outbreaks.</p><ul class="list"><li><p>A Targeted Threat is a malware type that is designed to attack a certain company or industry. These threats are especially dangerous since they are designed to steal important information.</p></li><li><p>Threats transmitted by SMTP e-mail, port assaults, zero-day attack vulnerability exploits, and phishing communications are examples of targeted attacks.</p></li><li><p>The government is the most commonly attacked sector. Financial services are the second most targeted industry, owing to cybercriminals' desire to benefit from the secret and sensitive data that financial services IT infrastructure stores. Similarly, similar assaults have been launched against online brokerage accounts.</p></li></ul><p>For some years, automated cyber assaults have been popular. Attackers have developed automated tools and then discovered vulnerable flaws. By rapidly targeting a large number of potentially susceptible systems, attackers are typically able to compromise at least some of them.</p><p>The threat of automation can be foreseen, and the security sector has prepared for it. However, now targeted attacks are becoming increasingly common. A targeted strike is unpredictable. If security measures initially prevent an attacker from progressing, they might continue to attempt alternative approaches.</p><h2>The Impact of Targeted Threats</h2><p>Targeted Threats can have far-reaching consequences. They can impact a business in the following ways −</p><p><strong>Business Disruption</strong></p><p>Targeted Threats can disrupt a company's everyday duties and operations, either because the assault caused system downtime or because people had to be redirected to cope with the attack. For example, there was a case of a deliberate attack on TV5 Monde led the network's operations to be taken down, resulting in the entire shutdown of 11 channels.</p><p><strong>Loss of Intellectual Property</strong></p><p>The company's own intellectual property may be stolen, as was the case with the RSA hacking, which resulted in the theft of data related to their SecurID two-factor authentication system. Sony's unreleased films were also leaked as a result of the hacking attack.</p><p><strong>Reputation Loss</strong></p><p>When a company's image is tarnished due to its inability to be trusted with data that is essential to customers and/or national security, the company's reputation suffers. This might have far-reaching consequences outside of the digital realm, such as the corporation being sued or the CEO being fired or forced to quit.</p><p><strong>Customer Information Loss</strong></p><p>The company's information database, including its customers' PII (personally identifiable information), may be hacked and stolen, putting them in danger of identity theft, blackmail, extortion, and worse. This is one of the most typical outcomes of a targeted assault, as seen by breaches involving major retail chains like Target and Home Depot, where millions of consumers' personal information was obtained.</p><p><strong>Financial Loss</strong></p><p>The corporation may suffer financial damages as a consequence of legal issues arising from the targeted assault (for example, class-action lawsuits) or a loss of clientele (due to bad faith resulting from the attack). The corporation might potentially be on the hook for millions of dollars in damages, as well as the expenditure required to avoid future assaults. The Target data breach demonstrated this, with the firm spending more than US$100 million improving its systems to avoid a future breach, as well as suffering a 46 percent loss in earnings as a result of the assault.</p><h2>How to Prevent Targeted Threats?</h2><p>To stop targeted assaults, you'll need a comprehensive e-mail security strategy that combines many layers of defense with up-to-date threat intelligence. Mimecast is increasingly being used by companies throughout the world to resist targeted assaults.</p><p>There are several easy procedures that may be done in response to a variety of security risks and targeted assaults, including −</p><ul class="list"><li><p>Keeping systems up to date (i.e., patching)</p></li><li><p>Using strong passwords for all accounts</p></li><li><p>Being wary of unusual or suspicious communications</p></li></ul><p>Other particular measures that may be done to reduce the danger of a targeted assault include reviewing the built-in tools on systems, evaluating application whitelisting, and establishing multi-factor authentication.</p>