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What Are Advanced Persistent Threats & How To Prevent Them

Financial gain is often the main motivator behind advanced attacks. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at an APT that targeted a Bangladesh bank, whose purpose was to transfer around $951 million into the cybercriminal’s bank accounts.

The malware exploited vulnerabilities in the bank’s SWIFT financial platform by patching a specific library, making the host application believe a failed security check had in fact succeeded.

This gave the malware the privileges to grant itself the ability to execute database transactions on the victim network.

In this instance, $81 million was actually transferred internationally, although part of that was actually recovered by law enforcement following the investigation.

So, if you’re an organization, financial or otherwise, how can you defend yourself against advanced attacks that exploit applications using memory manipulation – also known as zero-day vulnerabilities?

Although your everyday endpoint security is incredibly effective in dealing with common threats, such as keyloggers, and in helping your company meet compliance standards, it will have a tougher and tougher time fighting off more complex, custom-built attacks.

Bitdefender Hypervisor Introspection is a revolutionary technology that scans raw memory at the hypervisor level, without any in-guest (VM) agents, leveraging a recent XenServer API.

Zero-day protection through memory introspection comes from outside of the VM, enabling the solution to detect even sophisticated unknown threats, such as APTs, intercepting and blocking them from tampering with the memory stack, and injecting remediation tools if needed.

Bitdefender realized that the way to catch the most advanced threats is to not rely on information from the OS.

So we set to devise a unique solution to this dilemma, a new security layer at the hypervisor level, in an unprecedented collaboration with Citrix, Linux foundation, and Intel.

It’s difficult to know whether the solution would have completely prevented the theft of $81 million, but it would have certainly detected the attempt to patch the library module, that leveraged a memory manipulation technique.

This patch was critical to the heist, and preventing its execution would have stopped that portion of the APT and blocked the hackers’ access to SWIFT’s Alliance software.

For more information about Bitdefender Hypervisor Introspection, how it works, or how to request a demo, please check out www.bitdefender.com/HVI .

About the author

Liviu ARSENE

Liviu Arsene is the proud owner of the secret to the fountain of never-ending energy. That's what's been helping him work his everything off as a passionate tech news editor for the past couple of years. He is the youngest and most restless member of the Bitdefender writer team and he covers mobile malware and security topics with fervor and a twist. His passions revolve around gadgets and technology, and he's always ready to write about what's hot and trendy out there in geek universe.

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