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Enemy Unknown: Handling Customised Targeted Attacks


Detecting and preventing customised targeted attacks in real-time

Experts design computer security products to detect and protect against threats such as computer viruses, other malware and the actions of hackers.

A common approach is to identify existing threats and to create patterns of recognition. This is similar to the way the pharmaceutical industry creates vaccinations against known biological viruses. Or police issuing wanted notices with photographs of known offenders.

Detecting the unknown

The downside to this approach is that you have to know in advance that the virus or criminal is harmful. The most likely time to discover this is after someone has become sick or a crime has already been committed. It would be better to detect new infections and crimes in real-time and to stop them in action before any damage is caused.

The cyber security world is adopting this approach more frequently than before.

Deep Instinct claims that its D-Client software is capable of detecting not only known threats but those that have not yet hit computer systems in the real world. These claims require a realistic test that pits the product against known threats and those typically crafted by attackers. Attackers who work in a more targeted way. Attackers who identify specific potential victims and move against them with speed and accuracy.


This test report used a range of sophisticated, high-profile threat campaigns such as those directed against the US Presidential election in 2016. It also directed targeted attacks against victim systems using techniques seen in well-known security breaches in recent months and years.

The results show that Deep Instinct D-Client provided a wide range of detection and threat blocking capability against well-known and customised targeted attacks. It didn’t interfere with regular use of the systems upon which it was deployed.

The deep learning system was  trained in August 2018, six months before the customised targeted threats were created.

Latest report now online.

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