Targeted and stealth attacks are not just for defense contractors

In 2011, companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications and Northrup Grumman were all hit by targeted cyberattacks. Experts speculate that these organizations may have been hacked to gain classified information on weapons systems.

While attacks against governments or defense companies grab news headlines, these same types of attacks also affect ordinary businesses. Motives include financial gain as well as cyber espionage to uncover important corporate secrets. In addition, exploits used in a targeted attack may find their way into exploit packs that are sold in the cybercrime underground.

These attacks often leverage social engineering, such as making an email appear to come from a friend or colleague, to entice a user to open an email. With a targeted delivery mechanism, hackers can use malicious documents to exploit security flaws and install malware.

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