We’ve seen it on TV shows and in movies. A hacker tries to get into an organization’s system and steals data. We’ve also read about the news of the pipeline getting hacked and held ransom by a bunch of foreign hackers.
Data systems are always under threat from various bad elements. Your data is a precious commodity that people will try to access to use for their malicious goals. They can hold your data for ransom or use it to destroy your business by leaking sensitive information.
This is the reason why it is important to ensure that your system is 100 percent secure.
The Breach and Attack Simulation
This is where a breach and attack simulation comes into play.
For many people, the concept of Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) sounds like a long term that needs to be explained over several hours. But the truth is, it can be explained in very simple terms.
A Breach and Attack Simulation is a form of security control testing method using computers and AI to help identify the vulnerabilities of an organization’s data and IT infrastructure. It does this by simulating various forms of attacks and techniques that will likely be used by malicious people who want to enter the organization’s network.
The automated platform will simulate various types of attacks, which it has seen and confirmed to be the most current techniques used by malicious actors who break into networks and IT infrastructure.
BAS will perform various activities that will simulate different levels of attack. For example, one test could be to insert a file that will mimic malware. The BAS will then determine if the network can detect it through the anti-malware tool installed in the system. Another test could be sending an email with malicious code and checking if it will be caught by the email filter.
The platform will attack all the points in the organization’s digital assets and will attempt to bypass all of the safety protocols set in place. The goal of the BAS is to get through to the system. If that goal is met, then it only means that there is a system vulnerability. It will then make recommendations and fixes if it discovers any vulnerabilities in the course of its attack sequence.
BAS can simulate a number of attacks on data endpoints, do data exfiltration, mount simulated malware attacks, and even complicated Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks that can move laterally all throughout the network and zero in on the organization’s most important assets. The most robust BAS platforms even use MITRE ATT&CK, a global knowledge base of tactics and techniques that serve as a framework in developing threat models and methods.
BAS Benefits to your organization
A Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) provides a slew of benefits to any organization that takes its security seriously.
First and foremost, among these benefits is that a BAS provides a safe and secure way of looking for exploits and vulnerabilities in your organization’s network.
BAS can perform continuous monitoring of the network and at the same time relentlessly initiate breach and attack simulations from within a closed environment. This makes the data safe while at the same time exposing weaknesses in the network.
The outcome is that the organization’s IT team can now fix and plug in these vulnerabilities and update its policies and protocols so that it can continue to be a robust response to malicious attacks. Instead of always being reactionary to attacks, organization’s can now be proactive as it actively seeks these loopholes and continuously update its battle plan. Imagine having your system continuously attacked, day in and day out, to thoroughly scrub the system of all vulnerabilities. That is what a BAS can do.
Another benefit of BAS is that, because it is automated, there is no room for human error. The platform will perform these simulations automatically without minimal human intervention. The attacks can be as relentless as the protocol selected and be objective in their assessment of vulnerabilities. Based on how it will be performed, the BAS can assume the persona of the most stubborn and malicious actors to completely uncover any weaknesses in the system.
Additionally, compared to real-life testers, the BAS will provide the same level of service. Human testers are dependent on one crucial factor – the skill level of the team member. You can just imagine how variable that factor can get. It is something you won’t want when testing for system vulnerabilities. You would not want to be the victim of a cyber attack because a vulnerability was not detected due to human error or the lack of experience or the poor skill level of a human tester. BAS completely removes this variable from the picture.
The third benefit of a BAS is that it is more cost-effective compared to human red and blue team exercises. We’ve already pointed out that human error is a huge possibility in tests that require significant human intervention. But it is also a very resource-intensive exercise. You have to pay for man-hours, which could extend to hundreds of hours if you want to thoroughly sweep your system. Because of the significant cost factor involved, it can get quite expensive, which is why many organizations will only schedule these tests periodically. By cutting corners finance-wise, the whole organization is exposing itself to more financial risks if a malicious attack does happen and these cyber bad guys become successful.
BAS is the most cost-effective and thorough way of securing your system and it is the reason why more and more organizations are now using it to test their network and look for vulnerabilities. It can test your system without any downtime or even your end-users knowing that a test is being run. And you can do these tests repeatedly to always make sure that all vulnerabilities that may come up in the future will be detected and fixed immediately. For organizations that truly value safety and the integrity of their networks then a breach and attack simulation should be a regular part of their security protocols.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!