"We see hundreds of these targeted attacks every day," said Steve Quane, chief product officer at Trend Micro. Often called "advanced persistent threats," these APT attacks compromise employee PCs, often starting with a spoofed email with a malware-based attachment directed at a target. If the spear-phishing attack is successful, the hunt is on to get to sensitive information, such as what might be in a database. On compromised machines, there's often activity indicating the attacker is seeking to connect out to a command-and-control server for instructions or to send data, and Trend's Custom Defense concept is aimed at detecting that and stopping it.
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The Custom Defense strategy builds on Trend Micro's security appliance out earlier this year called Deep Discovery, intended to watch for signs of intruders. Yesterday Trend added a capability it calls "Deep Discovery Advisor" that can take images of user computers and corporate servers and run them in the Deep Discovery sandbox to spot signs of stealth activity from intruders.
Quane said this capability is also tied into Trend cloud-based Smart Protection Network, the collection and distribution point for threat information and signature updates for several Trend anti-malware products. The Deep Discovery Advisor and the Smart Protection Network working together let the customer identify malicious URLs and IP address immediately, and "understand the characteristics of the attack group," said Quane.