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Definition

targeted attack

A targeted attack is one that seeks to breach the security measures of a specific individual or organization. Usually the initial attack, conducted to gain access to a computer or network, is followed by a further exploit designed to cause harm or, more frequently, steal data.

Targeted attacks are often used in conjunction with advanced persistent threats (APT) in industrial espionage. Business disruption and making political statements are among the other purposes of such attacks. 

This was last updated in October 2012

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