Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
It’s taken me a few years, but I’ve come around to this buzzword. It highlights an important characteristic of a particular sort of Internet attacker.
A conventional hacker or criminal isn’t interested in any particular target. He wants a thousand credit card numbers for fraud, or to break into an account and turn it into a zombie, or whatever. Security against this sort of attacker is relative; as long as you’re more secure than almost everyone else, the attackers will go after other people, not you. An APT is different; it’s an attacker who — for whatever reason — wants to attack you. Against this sort of attacker, the absolute level of your security is what’s important. It doesn’t matter how secure you are compared to your peers; all that matters is whether you’re secure enough to keep him out.
APT attackers are more highly motivated. They’re likely to be better skilled, better funded, and more patient. They’re likely to try several different avenues of attack. And they’re much more likely to succeed.
This is why APT is a useful buzzword.