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Cybersecurity Firm Reveals Step-by-Step Review of Infamous 2013 Target Attack

Aorato Releases New Research Report that Identifies the Untold Story of the 2013 Target Attack

TEL AVIV, Israel, August 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

In December 2013, Target announced one of the retail industry's largest breaches, impacting 70 million customers and totaling 40M credit cards stolen. The financial damages to Target currently stand at $148M, and according to analyst forecasts are estimated to reach $1B. Today, cybersecurity firm, Aorato, released "The Untold Story the Target Attack; Step-by-Step" report, which carefully analyzes the publicly available report on the Target breach to provide a comprehensive view of the full Target story, while also highlighting pertinent insights into Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) of the attackers.  While much of the attack was made public, there are still key questions that have not been answered - until now.  

"The Target Attack of 2013 is one of the most discussed and studied attacks of our time. Unfortunately, despite the flurry of public attention to the incident, key questions are still left unanswered, leaving many retailers, hoping to mitigate these issues for the future, in the dark," said Tal Be'ery, VP Research at Aorato. "Specifically, how did the attackers reach into the heart of Target's network, the POS (Point-of-Sale) system from their initial penetration point? Second, how were 70M users' "Personally Identifiable Information" (PII) exposed? Aorato's newest report uncovers the answers to these looming industry questions."

Generally speaking, the Target attackers largely followed the general APT "kill chain" attack model. However, the Target attack presents unique nuances to the model. These nuances stem from the fact that operations aiming to steal credit cards are inherently different from classic APT operations aimed at intelligence gathering and infrastructure sabotage.  The main difference is that credit card-oriented attacks are bound to be revealed in a relatively short time as the monetization path of the attackers must include massive usage of the stolen credit cards that will get detected by the credit cards vendor's fraud departments.

Main Recommendations to Retailers Storing Credit Card Information:

  • Place security and behavioral monitoring controls around Active Directory as it is involved in nearly all stages of the attack
  • Monitor and profile access patterns to systems to identify abnormal and rogue access patterns
  • Monitor for signs of reconnaissance and information gathering. Pay special attention to excessive and abnormal LDAP queries
  • Don't rely on Anti-Malware solutions as a primary mitigation measure since attackers mostly leverage legitimate IT tools
  • Invest in PCI-Compliance
  • Participate in Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center (R-ISAC) and Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC) groups to gain valuable intelligence on retail attackers' Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs)

To read more about this report, read here: http://www.aorato.com/blog/untold-story-target-attack-step-step/

To learn more about Aorato, please visit: http://www.aorato.com

About Aorato  

Aorato protects organizations from advanced attacks. Recognizing Active Directory's pivotal role in the network, Aorato's flagship product, DAFTM, automatically learns the behaviors of all entities engaging directly, or indirectly, with Active Directory. By profiling the entities, DAFTM builds an interaction graph between all entities in order to detect in real-time suspicious entity behavior. Aorato is backed by strategic investors, including Eric Schmidt (Innovation Endeavors), Accel Partners, and the founders of Imperva and Trusteer.

Idan Plotnik
[email protected]


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