NASA’s Inspector General has concluded that the space agency are severely under prepared should they be the target for a sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). The finding comes after the IG conducted an internal audit into the agencies security incident detection and handling program.
The IG looked at how the Security Operations Center and how it is supposed to provide a single, agency-wide security incident handling capability. The IC however found that the SOC did not cover all of NASA’s computer networks (whoops!). Although the networks not covered by the SOC did have their own incident reporting, these were far less robust and failed to provide the continuing monitoring that networks under the SOC enjoyed. This poses a significant threat as APT’s usually try and gain entrance to a network through the penetration of a firewall.
Advanced Persistent Threats are gaining more column inches in the media as they generally target large organizations and state governments. An APT is the description applied to the coordinated cyber activities of sophisticated criminals and state level entities. The goal of an APT is not usually to bring down a business, but to stay embedded and extract information at a slow and undetected pace. An APT can also be used to bring down or take over systems, a terrifying threat if they – for example – tool control of a nuclear power plant or any part of the critical infrastructure.
Cyber space could be the modern battleground for the 21st century, and APT’s are already filling more and more column inches in the media. A host of country’s have already been accusing each other of using APT’s against each other including the US, Iran, China and Israel.
Want to know more about APT’s?