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Understanding MITRE ATT&CK Framework?

Introduced in 2013 by MITRE, the ATT&CK (Adversarial Tactics, Techniques & Common Knowledge) is a way to describe adversarial behaviors expressed in matrices. The matrices contain different techniques and tactics associated with the usual behavior of attackers before they try to sneak into a network.

Introduction

With the changing cybersecurity landscape and increasing threat vectors, businesses are now more concerned about the severity of attacks.

Whether we talk about incorporating cybersecurity best practices or spreading employee awareness regarding new vulnerabilities, most businesses are already putting their best efforts into mitigating the risks.

However, if a business can describe and categorize diverse behaviors of cybercriminals based on specific observations, it can be helpful for various defensive measures. And here’s where the critical role of MITRE ATT&CK comes into play.

Introduced in 2013 by MITRE, the ATT&CK (Adversarial Tactics, Techniques & Common Knowledge) is a way to describe adversarial behaviors expressed in matrices.

The matrices contain different techniques and tactics associated with the usual behavior of attackers before they try to sneak into a network.

In a nutshell, the MITRE ATT&CK framework could be defined as the collection of cybercriminal goals and techniques, which can be leveraged to understand the treat vectors and minimize the loss.

How to Use MITRE ATT&CK?

ATT&CK is a foundational framework for cyber defenders. The taxonomy is used for threat modeling and defensive activities such as intrusion detection, investigation, and containment.

Wherever you see attackers or their behaviors in your organization’s environment, you can apply the ATT&CK framework to help limit their impact.

Attacker Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK) provides a structured, everyday language that can be used across the security ecosystem to communicate about cyber attacks.

By mapping defensive controls against ATT&CK, the organization can better understand its current state of play regarding defenses and gaps. An organization can map its defensive controls to ATT&CK to identify various threat vectors and areas that can be compromised if its network is on the radar of cybercriminals.

ATT&CK is a helpful way to map security controls to threat actor behaviors, but it can be dangerous if used alone. It is a great starting point for mapping controls but should be considered when determining which rules should be implemented.

Many of the ATT&CK techniques are performed in multiple ways, so trying to apply a single method of detection may not necessarily prevent all variations of the technique.

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Using ATT&CK With Cyber Threat Intelligence

Advanced Threat Tactics & Techniques (ATT&CK) is a framework for understanding adversarial behavior and can be useful to cyber threat intelligence.

ATT&CK can track actors by their known behaviors, allowing defenders to apply operational controls in areas where they have weaknesses against their threat actors and strengthen those controls where there are no identified issues.

ATT&CK is also available as a STIX/TAXII 2.0 feed, making it easy to ingest into existing tools that support those technologies.

In Conclusion

Organizations that are concerned about their cybersecurity hygiene shouldn’t ignore the true potential of ATT&CK to identify threat vectors and alter their cybersecurity posture accordingly.

Globally, brands are using this framework to analyze cybersecurity vulnerabilities and to create adequate action plans for robust security.

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Alok Patidar

Written by Alok Patidar

Alok Patidar is Information Security Manager at LoginRadius. He is a security professional who has been in computer, cybersecurity & information security for over a decade. Alok carries experience in multiple domains which include risk assessment, cyber threat analysis, vulnerability assessment & red teaming.

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