Organizations of all shapes and sizes are fighting the war against cyber attackers. As we have seen in recent years, cyberattacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, which makes it harder to detect and mitigate them. As cyber attacks evolve, so do security technology and the security assessment methodologies used to detect and fight these attacks.
For over a decade, the main methods that organizations were using to verify that their infrastructure and data were secured, consisted of vulnerability scans and penetration tests. Later on, targeted simulated attacks performed by red teams in a manual way were added to the security arsenal. Recently a new method of security testing was introduced called Breach & Attack Simulations (BAS).
Understanding BAS Technology
Let’s have a closer look at the various methods, starting with vulnerability scans. These scans are performed by an application (proprietary or open source) and check for vulnerabilities that are already known to vendors, integrators, security experts, or that have already been exploited by cyber crooks. The application scans for thousands of different security vulnerabilities in networks or host systems, such as software bugs, missing operating system patches, vulnerable services, insecure default configurations, and web application vulnerabilities. This is used to assist in automating the security auditing process of an organization’s IT. Vulnerability scans can automate security auditing and can be a crucial part of the organization’s IT security, scanning networks and websites for thousands of different security risks. The resulting list of vulnerabilities to patch can be used to remediate them.
Let’s now take a look at penetration tests. Manual penetration testing (or pen-testing) is conducted by human testers (in-house or outsourced to 3rd party) who try to evaluate the security of an organization’s infrastructure by safely exploiting vulnerabilities. Those vulnerabilities can be present in operating systems, services or applications, as well as faulty configurations or risky end-user behavior. In other words, the corporate network, applications, devices, and/or people are attacked to check if a hacker would be able to penetrate the organization. The tests also reveal how deep an attacker could penetrate and how much data could be stolen or exploited.
Let’s now explore what targeted simulated attacks can do. Targeted simulated attacks (also known as red teaming or attacker simulation) are gaining in popularity – and for good reason. Apart from identifying weaknesses in the organization’s security posture, it can also provide valuable insights into your organization’s capability to identify attacks in progress and remove them from the environment to take a proactive approach. Using multi-step attacks for distinct adversary types and leveraging this knowledge to identify promising combinations of information security controls through simulation optimization.
Breach & Attack Simulations (BAS) are the optimal way for an organization to test its resilience against the growing cybercrime wave, is to opt for targeted attack simulations that use multi-vector simulated attacks. The effectiveness of a BAS platform for simulating targeted attacks to test an organization’s security posture is stated by Gartner in its Hype Cycle for Threat-Facing Technologies, 2017. “The ability to provide continuous testing at limited risk is the key advantage of Breach and Attach Simulation (BAS) technologies, which are used to alert IT and business stakeholders about existing gaps in the security posture, or validate that security infrastructure, configuration settings, and prevention technologies are operating as intended”.
When opting for a BAS solution, Cymulate’s Breach & Attack Simulation (BAS) platform is an excellent option. It takes targeted simulation attacks one step further by measuring the organization’s true preparedness to handle cybersecurity threats effectively. Using an offensive approach and defensive actions, Cymulate exposes critical vulnerabilities by simulating multi-vector cyberattacks from an attacker’s perspective. This sophisticated plug-and-play platform simulates and tests attack vectors by impersonating hackers, cyberattacks, and rogue governments before an actual attack will take place, exploiting any weaknesses. This platform enables you to automatically and continuously test without impacting the users or infrastructure and can be run on-demand at any time and from anywhere. With Cymulate’s Red Team capabilities, organizations can continuously test their cybersecurity posture against cyberattacks, global cybercrime campaigns, and directed APTs.
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