The question today is whether security teams are aware of their company’s true security risk at any given time. Are they aware of where their company’s weakest links are so that they can be mitigated before an attacker exploits them?
According to the “Cisco Cybersecurity Report Series 2020,” 17% of enterprises got 100,000 or more daily security alerts in 2020, and that number has only risen since then.
More software and a larger digital footprint have resulted in an all-time high in vulnerabilities. Other than being an indicator of the growing exposure of an organization’s attack surface, this makes the defender’s work even more difficult, and it also leads to burnout.
Vulnerable does not necessarily imply exploitable. So, how can security teams zero in on the needle in the haystack of vulnerabilities? The answer can be found in the context of a vulnerability, its compensating controls, and the data that it generates.
Here are some measures that security professionals can take right now to determine the true risk that their company is facing — and how to discover the exploitable vulnerabilities among them.
Consider the Adversarial Perspective
Attempting to exploit vulnerabilities is the only way to sift through the sea of vulnerabilities. That’s exactly what a threat actor would do. This provides security teams with a clear attack vector pointing to the weakest link in the organization. From here, IT receives focused, manageable, and business-impacting remediation requests. The rest of the flaws can wait for ongoing patch management operations. By adopting the attacker’s perspective, the business will be able to conduct a proactive security program rather of reacting to issues as they occur.
Examine the Full Range of Possible Attacks
When it comes to important assets, adversaries follow the path of least resistance. This entails employing a number of strategies to advance an attack, leveraging any vulnerability and its associated correlations along the way. As a result, the validation methods utilized must be compatible — they must go beyond a control attack simulation or static vulnerability scan to include a full penetration test scope. This would include frameworks for attack simulation for security controls, network equipment testing, vulnerability and credential strength attacks, privileged access audits, and lateral movement processes, among other things.
Today, security validation needs to be as dynamic as the attack surface it safeguards. Manual and periodical tests are no longer enough to challenge the changes an enterprise undergoes. Security teams require an on-demand picture of their assets and exposures, and automation testing is the only way to achieve this. The rise of digitalization and cloud adoption, remote work, and ransomware attacks are all instances of how critical continuous validation is for security teams to effectively defend their organizations.
Align to MITRE ATT&CK and OWASP Top 10
Security teams can verify that their testing covers the updated adversary techniques by adhering to industry standards. Because the most common TTPs are used in most attacks, testing the attack surface against these frameworks provides full coverage of adversary approaches in the wild. Furthermore, it enables security executives to clearly report to management on the effectiveness of security controls and the readiness of the organization against potential threats.
Automated Security Validation comes into play
Automated security validation is an advanced method of testing the integrity of all cybersecurity layers, combining risk prioritization with continuous coverage for mitigation of security gaps.
By simulating real-world attacks, this approach delivers a true picture of current security exposures, allowing for an impact-based remediation plan rather than chasing hundreds of vulnerabilities. Security teams will be able to accurately assess their current situation and confidently aim for optimal security readiness.
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