What is Threat Simulation?

Posted by: XM Cyber

Often the best way to defend against a threat is to assume the perspective of an attacker. By modeling how a cyber-adversary is likely to attack your environment by using threat simulation testing, it becomes possible to identify and eliminate weaknesses before they are leveraged against you.

In the realm of cyber-security, attackers have the advantage. They only need to succeed once, while defenders must be perfect. Advanced Persistent Threats and state-sponsored cyber-gangs have enormous resources and skill at their disposal. To even the odds, it’s essential that defenders have deep and continuous visibility into the state of their security environments and any vulnerabilities that exist.

Cyber threat simulation is one of the most effective means of accomplishing this task. By using threat simulation software, organizations can model how adversaries are likely to attack and uncover the security gaps that exist within an environment.

Effective Threat Vulnerability Management Via Continuous Testing

Attack path management platforms are one example of threat simulation software. These platforms launch non-stop simulated attacks against an organization’s environments, illuminating the gaps that can be exploited, showing how those exploits are likely to occur and then placing these threats within a larger risk context. Unlike conventional vulnerability scanners that focus primarily on severity, these tools can place threats within the context of risk to critical assets.

Cyber threat simulation tools also typically offer guided remediation once vulnerabilities have been identified. These issues are scored based on critical risk, allowing organizations to address the most relevant threats first.

One of the key attributes of modern threat simulation is its continuous nature. Historically, organizations would engage in manual penetration tests or red team/blue team exercises to identify threats and vulnerabilities. These exercises were costly, dependent on human skill and experience levels and, most importantly, episodic. While they could identify threats at a point in time, they could not provide ongoing assessment.

Automated threat simulation introduced a faster, less expensive and ongoing method for accomplishing the same objective. For that reason, it has become a cornerstone tool for organizations seeking to effectively manage threats and vulnerabilities while dealing with the usual resource constraints faced by IT departments.

XM Cyber

XM Cyber is a leader in hybrid-cloud security, using the attacker’s perspective to find and remediate critical attack paths across on-premises and multi-cloud networks.

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