Targeted Cyber Attacks

Targeted Cyber Attacks

Multi-staged Attacks Driven by Exploits and Malware

1st Edition - April 18, 2014

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  • Authors: Aditya Sood, Richard Enbody
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128006191
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128006047

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Cyber-crime increasingly impacts both the online and offline world, and targeted attacks play a significant role in disrupting services in both. Targeted attacks are those that are aimed at a particular individual, group, or type of site or service. Unlike worms and viruses that usually attack indiscriminately, targeted attacks involve intelligence-gathering and planning to a degree that drastically changes its profile. Individuals, corporations, and even governments are facing new threats from targeted attacks. Targeted Cyber Attacks examines real-world examples of directed attacks and provides insight into what techniques and resources are used to stage these attacks so that you can counter them more effectively.

Key Features

  • A well-structured introduction into the world of targeted cyber-attacks
  • Includes analysis of real-world attacks
  • Written by cyber-security researchers and experts


information security and information technology professionals, as well as students studying cyber-security

Table of Contents

    • A Few Words About Targeted Cyber Attacks
    • Acknowledgments
    • About the Authors
    • Overview
    • Chapter 1. Introduction
      • References
    • Chapter 2. Intelligence Gathering
      • 2.1 Intelligence Gathering Process
      • 2.2 OSINT, CYBINT, and HUMINT
      • 2.3 OSNs: A Case Study
      • References
    • Chapter 3. Infecting the Target
      • 3.1 Elements Used in Incursion
      • 3.2 Model A: Spear Phishing Attack: Malicious Attachments
      • 3.3 Model B: Spear Phishing Attack: Embedded Malicious Links
      • 3.4 Model C: Waterholing Attack
      • 3.5 Model D: BYOD as Infection Carriers: USB
      • 3.6 Model E: Direct Incursion: Network Exploitation
      • References
    • Chapter 4. System Exploitation
      • 4.1 Modeling Exploits in Targeted Attacks
      • 4.2 Elements Supporting System Exploitation
      • 4.3 Defense Mechanisms and Existing Mitigations
      • 4.4 Anatomy of Exploitation Techniques
      • 4.5 Browser Exploitation Paradigm
      • 4.6 Drive-By Download Attack Model
      • 4.7 Stealth Malware Design and Tactics
      • References
    • Chapter 5. Data Exfiltration Mechanisms
      • 5.1 Phase 1: Data Gathering Mechanisms
      • 5.2 Phase 2: Data Transmission
      • References
    • Chapter 6. Maintaining Control and Lateral Movement
      • 6.1 Maintaining Control
      • 6.2 Lateral Movement and Network Reconnaissance
      • References
    • Chapter 7. Why Targeted Cyber Attacks Are Easy to Conduct?
      • 7.1 Step 1: Building Targeted Attack Infrastructure
      • 7.2 Step 2: Exploring or Purchasing Stolen Information About Targets
      • 7.3 Step 3: Exploits Selection
      • 7.4 Step 4: Malware Selection
      • 7.5 Step 5: Initiating the Attack
      • 7.6 Role of Freely Available Tools
      • References
    • Chapter 8. Challenges and Countermeasures
      • 8.1 Real-Time Challenges
      • 8.2 Countermeasures and Future Developments
      • References
    • Chapter 9. Conclusion
      • References
    • Abbreviations

Product details

  • No. of pages: 158
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Syngress 2014
  • Published: April 18, 2014
  • Imprint: Syngress
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128006191
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128006047

About the Authors

Aditya Sood

Aditya K Sood (Ph.D) is a Lead Architect for Cloud Threat Labs at Elastica. Dr. Sood has research interests in malware automation and analysis, application security, secure software design and cybercrime. He has worked on a number of projects pertaining to penetration testing specializing in product/appliance security, networks, mobile and web applications while serving Fortune 500 clients for IOActive, KPMG and others. He has authored several papers for various magazines and journals including IEEE, Elsevier, CrossTalk, ISACA, Virus Bulletin, Usenix and others. His work has been featured in several media outlets including Associated Press, Fox News, The Register, Guardian, Business Insider, Kaspersky Threatpost, CBC and others. He has been an active speaker at industry conferences and presented at BlackHat, DEFCON, HackInTheBox, RSA, Virus Bulletin, OWASP and many others. Dr. Sood obtained his Phd from Michigan State University in Computer Sciences. Dr. Sood is also an author of "Targeted Cyber Attacks" book published by Syngress.

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Affiliations and Expertise

Aditya K. Sood, Ph.D., senior security researcher and consultant.

Richard Enbody

Dr. Richard Enbody is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1987 after earning his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota. Richard received his B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1976, and spent six years teaching high school mathematics in Vermont and New Hampshire. Richard has published research in a variety of areas, but mostly in computer security and computer architecture. He holds two nanotechnology patents from his collaboration with Physicists. Together with Bill Punch he published a textbook using Python in CS1: The Practice of Computing Using Python (Addison-Wesley, 2010), now in its second edition. When not teaching, Richard plays hockey, squash, canoes, as well as a host of family activities.

Affiliations and Expertise

Richard J. Enbody, Ph.D., associate professor of Computer Science & Engineering at Michigan State University.

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  • Mohsen F. Fri Aug 21 2020

    Good book

    This book has a complete information about targeted cyber attacks for beginners in cyber security.