June 3, 2021

“Sophisticated” cybersecurity attacks


What is the definition of a “sophisticated” attack? I mean, I was reading this ([Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2020](https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2020/09/29/microsoft-digital-defense-report-cyber-threats/)) and started thinking about. Someone once summarised that attacks usually cover:

1. Unpatched vulnerabilities
2. Misconfiguration
3. Weak, stolen passwords
4. Social Engineering
5. Insider threats
6. Phishing

Those are pretty much evergreen stuff and doesn’t rank as particularly sophisticated. What would actually be considered a “sophisticated” threat? Zero day vulnerabilities? I am not under playing security risks but how much is this :

1. PR speak (“we f* up but we can’t write a press release that says Dave used password123 and we didn’t set a basic password complexity/aging policy)
2. Marketing speak (“Talking about sophisticated threats help me to sell this new piece of expensive EDR/TIP/SOAR kit”)
3. Consultant speak (“I look like a cybersecurity guru when I talk about sophisticated threat, not talking about applying your patches”)

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