Glossary

Definitions for those new to cyber security

GLOSSARY
Attack Path Management is a practice intended to help organizations reduce the threat of cyber-attacks through tools that feature attack path analysis -- or the modeling of various vectors and methods adversaries can use to successfully breach a network and steal assets.
In the context of cybersecurity testing, red teams play the role of attackers, and blue teams act as defenders. A purple team falls somewhere in between, often performing both roles. Purple teams can also be inserted into red/blue testing engagements to help evaluate the testing protocol and ensure that red and blue teams communicate and collaborate effectively.
During cyber security testing engagements, blue teams evaluate organizational security environments and defend these environments from red teams. These red teams play the role of attackers by identifying security vulnerabilities and launching attacks within a controlled environment. Both teams combine to help illuminate the true state of an organization’s security.
Red teams are “ethical hackers” who help test an organization’s defenses by identifying vulnerabilities and launching attacks in a controlled environment. Red teams are opposed by defenders called blue teams, and both parties work together to provide a comprehensive picture of organizational security readiness.
Security teams have long sought to test the strength of their organizational defenses through organized red and blue team exercises. Under these scenarios, the red team plays the role of malicious attackers, while the blue team is tasked with deterring these attacks.
Organizations rely on a process called “vulnerability management” to help identify, analyze, treat and report on security vulnerabilities within their systems and applications. This process, when combined with other cornerstone strategies and techniques, helps set the foundation for a strong security posture through threat prioritization and attack surface reduction.
Most of today’s enterprises layer dozens of security tools together to maintain a robust security posture. Yet “more is better” doesn’t always apply in this situation, as organizations often have poor visibility into how each product performs or the problems that sometimes arise due to their interaction. To accurately assess how security controls are performing individually and collectively, it’s essential to perform high-level security control validation.
Penetration testing is a technique used to identify security vulnerabilities within a system, network or application that could be exploited by attackers. Penetration testing may be conducted by manual testers who employ a variety of techniques and strategies or via penetration-testing tools and advanced, automated breach and attack simulations.
Created by MITRE Cyber Security in 2013, the MITRE ATT&CK Framework is a detailed knowledge base that documents the tactics and techniques used by attackers based on evolving, real world observation. By providing an up-to-date compendium of attacker behavior, the MITRE ATT&CK Framework has become an invaluable tool for organizations seeking to bolster their cyber defenses.
Cyber attack modeling is an approximation of adversarial threats against a computer system. Cyber attack models are created to identify and simulate attacks against security environments, using likely adversary techniques and attack paths. By modeling attacks, defenders better understand the behavior, tactics and objectives of adversaries and can take steps to remediate any vulnerabilities within their environments
Cloud Security Posture Management is defined by Gartner as “a continuous process of cloud security improvement and adaptation to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.” Today’s Cloud Security Posture Management tools have use cases within DevOps Integrations, compliance management, risk assessment, incident response, incident visualization etc. These tools help organizations assess risk, limit misconfigurations and ensure that their existing cloud environments align with best practices within the field of cloud security.
Hybrid cloud security aims to protect applications, data, infrastructure and other elements across an IT infrastructure that includes multiple environments, including at least one public or private cloud. Choosing a hybrid cloud setup affords organizations several important benefits. Most importantly, it allows them to gain the scalability, portability and flexibility benefits of the public cloud while still retaining the ability to manage sensitive or critical “crown jewel” data privately.
Having a strong security posture is a core objective for modern organizations. Yet measuring the strength of these postures is often challenging, given their breadth and complexity. A cyber risk score provides an objective framework for the evaluation of a security posture. By converting these evaluations into an easy-to-grasp representation of qualitative cyber risk scoring, organizations can better understand how safe their assets are and where they need to improve.
Cybersecurity threats and organizational challenges related to information security are becoming more complex by the minute. To understand these elements at a high level and effectively manage risk, organizations need an overarching framework to gauge their relative cybersecurity strength and readiness. This comprehensive way of thinking about organization-wide security strength and resiliency is often referred to as a cybersecurity posture, or IT security posture. Below, we will help explain in detail the importance and relevance of this concept.
The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is an open framework used by organizations across the world to determine the severity of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. These scores provide a valuable common benchmark for cybersecurity teams, who use CVSS scoring as part of their vulnerability management programs. However, CVSS base scoring is not without significant limitations, which we will address below.
A cyber attack graph is a representation of all possible paths of attack against a cybersecurity network, illustrating a state where an attacker has completed a successful breach. There are two popular forms of attack graphs. The first is a direct graph where nodes represent network states and edges represent exploits that transform one state into a more compromised state, ultimately showing a successful attack. A second form is a direct graph where nodes represent pre or post-conditions of an exploit, and edges represent the consequences of having a pre-condition that enables an exploit post-condition.
Today's defenders are overwhelmed with the job of managing cyber-vulnerabilities. In 2020,17,000 new vulnerabilities were reported -- a rate that equals one new vulnerability every six minutes. Attackers waste no time seeking to develop exploits, which means that defenders must be equally nimble and fast to respond.
Generally speaking, it is easier to defend a small and well-mapped space than it is to defend a large space with visibility gaps. This idea can be applied to the cybersecurity concept of the "attack surface" -- or the sum of all possible exposures that an organization faces.