A blended threat is a malicious attack on computer networks and systems that uses multiple vectors of attack. This kind of attack combines multiple techniques, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans, to cause more damage than any single attack vector could. The goal of a blended threat is to exploit a system’s vulnerabilities and resurface at a later time.
A blended threat can often penetrate through layers of security, opening up the system to further intrusions. While most security systems and tools are designed to detect and block attacks from a single vector, blended threats are more difficult to detect and prevent. The combination of different attack vectors makes it hard to identify the initial threat, since each component is designed to work with the other to create a whole.
The most common type of blended threat is called an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). APTs use multiple attack vectors to achieve a lengthy goal. They can linger in a system, acquiring information and exploiting further vulnerabilities. They can also spread to other systems or networks, multiplying the damage and often leaving very little trace that a malicious attack has occurred.
Blended threats are often harder to detect than any single attack vector, making them a dangerous tool in the hands of a malicious attacker. To protect a system from a blended threat, users need to be aware of the risks and employ a layered system of security tools to monitor and block any potential attack.