Targeted cyber attacks are for the most part the same as an APT (advanced persistent threat). It was last year’s report on APT1 from Mandiant that brought this important information security topic to the forefront.
In Targeted Cyber Attacks: Multi-staged Attacks Driven by Exploits and Malware, authors Aditya Sood and Richard Enbody write that there are a few different definitions of what a targeted cyber attack is. They use the standard definition that it’s a class of dedicated attacks that aim at a specific user, company or organization, with the intent to gain access to critical data in a stealthy manner. They also note that APT’s are simply variants of targeted cyber attacks.
At 158 pages, the book provides a good introduction to the topic with significant amounts of background information. It provides a mid- to high-level overview of the topic.
For those looking for a good introduction to the topic, which can then lead them to a more comprehensive reference, Targeted Cyber Attacks: Multi-staged Attacks Driven by Exploits and Malware is a good place to start.
Note that Amazon has this being mislabeled as being in published in April 2010, when it was published in April 2014.