Now that the obligatory disclaimer is out of the way..When reports like this come out it's interesting what happens. The reactions range all over the map. We, the good guys, are too busy sizing each other up, calling each other ignorant, pretending to know what we don't and holding on too tight to really discuss the issues. What I find most interesting is how apparently everyone is an APT expert all of a sudden, with 15 years of experience battling them, and yet for all of this experience and worldly knowledge, none of it has been shared beyond the contents of this report. Sure, it's discussed privately, in secrecy and behind closed doors but there is an entire industry that plays a part in this, and I'd estimate that perhaps 10% of it knows what's going on.
I looked at the M-trends report and thought wow this is a good explanation of what happens and how. This is good information for folks up the ladder to have. This report is what security folks have been talking about for years, what we're all actually so paranoid about. Mandiant does a great job of presenting the scope of the issue and provide a good explanation. However, there is little to no information at the tactical level and no information related to actually countering the APT in an organization. I understand this..it's a report and they don't want the Chinese (oh don't act so surprised) to know just how 'on to them' the good guys really are. Mandiant also wants to continue to make money doing consulting work and selling premium services such as "counter-APT" investigations and what not. I understand this and do not begrudge them. They apparently do a great job and I'm sure their services are well worth it.
When vague reports like this get released, very few people attempt to validate the findings. Even fewer have the data to do so. As it so happens I've got a bit of data that's APT related. Well, maybe more than a bit and in short order will be sharing some of my own findings. Counter-APT operations are not simply after the fact. The reason they seem to be solely after the fact is due to the cost of defending an enterprise, the lack of awareness and poor governance in organizations. I do not want to make an APT "splash". I do want to unveil a bit of the mystery behind the Advanced and Persistent part of the APT. As I've said before, they are human, they are fallible, they are an anomaly, they are more than their malware, and they can be detected.