The expert's guide to MITRE ATT&CK
Introducing the Expert's Guide to MITRE ATT&CK
This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth exploration of the MITRE ATT&CK framework. It covers the fundamentals of the framework, its components, and how it can be used to identify, assess, and defend against cyber threats. It provides detailed descriptions of the techniques and tactics used by attackers and how to detect them. Additionally, this guide provides practical advice on how to create a defense-in-depth strategy, how to use the framework to prioritize security investments, and how to develop effective mitigation strategies. This guide is an essential resource for security professionals and organizations looking to understand and protect their networks and systems against malicious actors.
What Is the MITRE ATT&CK Framework?
The MITRE ATT&CK framework has undergone three major iterations, each expanding upon the previous version to better reflect the changing landscape of cyber threats and the evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of cyber adversaries. Here are the three iterations of MITRE ATT&CK:
MITRE ATT&CK v1.0: The initial version of the MITRE ATT&CK framework was released in 2015. It consisted of a matrix that organized 131 techniques used by cyber adversaries into 11 different tactics. These tactics included Initial Access, Execution, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, Defense Evasion, Credential Access, Discovery, Lateral Movement, Collection, Exfiltration, and Command and Control. The framework was designed to provide a common language for discussing and sharing information about cyber adversary behavior across the cybersecurity community.
MITRE ATT&CK v2.0: The second iteration of the MITRE ATT&CK framework was released in 2018. This version expanded upon the original matrix, adding more techniques and tactics, and providing more detailed information about each. The updated framework also included a new section on Enterprise Techniques, which focused on techniques that could be used across multiple platforms, rather than specific to a single platform. The v2.0 framework also included a new feature called "sub-techniques," which provided more detailed information about each technique and allowed for better categorization and understanding of the adversary's behavior.
MITRE ATT&CK v3.0: The latest version of the MITRE ATT&CK framework was released in 2020. This version included several updates and improvements, including a new section on Pre-Attack Techniques, which focused on adversary behavior before an attack begins. The v3.0 framework also included more than 200 new techniques and tactics, and several new sub-techniques. One of the most significant updates was the addition of a new tactic called Impact, which focused on techniques used by adversaries to cause damage, disrupt operations, or harm an organization's reputation.
Overall, the three iterations of the MITRE ATT&CK framework have provided a valuable tool for the cybersecurity community, helping to better understand and defend against cyber threats by providing a common language and taxonomy for discussing adversary behavior. The continual updates and improvements to the framework reflect the dynamic and evolving nature of cyber threats, and the ongoing efforts of the cybersecurity community to stay ahead of them.
What are the three iterations of MITRE ATT&CK?
MITRE ATT&CK® is a widely recognized cybersecurity framework designed to help organizations understand the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of cyber attackers. The framework has become a crucial tool for cybersecurity professionals to identify, detect, and respond to security incidents. MITRE ATT&CK provides a comprehensive and structured approach to cyber defense, encompassing a wide range of attack scenarios and platforms.
The Three Iterations of MITRE ATT&CK There are three different iterations of the MITRE ATT&CK framework: ATT&CK for Enterprise, ATT&CK for Mobile, and ATT&CK for ICS.
ATT&CK for Enterprise
ATT&CK for Enterprise is the original iteration of the MITRE ATT&CK framework, and it focuses on adversarial behavior in Windows, Mac, Linux, and Cloud environments. The framework is organized into two categories: Tactics and Techniques. The tactics category encompasses the overall goals of an adversary, while the techniques category encompasses the specific actions that an adversary takes to achieve those goals.
The Tactics category includes techniques such as Initial Access, Execution, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, Defense Evasion, Credential Access, Discovery, Lateral Movement, Collection, Exfiltration, and Command and Control. Techniques within these categories cover a wide range of actions an adversary might take, such as using spear-phishing to gain initial access or exploiting vulnerabilities to execute code on a victim's system.
The Techniques category provides further detail on the specific actions an adversary might take to accomplish each tactic. For example, a technique under the Initial Access category might be “Spearphishing Attachment,” which describes the tactic of using a phishing email with a malicious attachment to gain initial access to a target system.
ATT&CK for Mobile
ATT&CK for Mobile is an extension of the MITRE ATT&CK framework that focuses on adversarial behavior on iOS and Android operating systems. As with ATT&CK for Enterprise, ATT&CK for Mobile is organized into tactics and techniques. Some of the tactics specific to mobile platforms include Network Effects, Device Effects, and Data Effects.
The Techniques category under ATT&CK for Mobile includes specific techniques such as “Jailbreak Detection Evasion” and “Accessing Device Camera.” These techniques provide a granular view of the actions an attacker might take when targeting mobile devices.
ATT&CK for ICS
ATT&CK for ICS is another extension of the MITRE ATT&CK framework that focuses on describing the actions an adversary may take while operating within an Industrial Control System (ICS) network. The framework is organized into three categories: Tactics, Techniques, and Sub-Techniques.
Some of the tactics specific to ICS networks include Reconnaissance, Resource Development, and Impact. Techniques within the framework cover actions such as “Supply Chain Compromise,” “Exploitation for Client Execution,” and “Process Injection.”
MITRE ATT&CK is a powerful tool for cybersecurity professionals to understand and defend against cyber attacks. The three iterations of the framework - ATT&CK for Enterprise, ATT&CK for Mobile, and ATT&CK for ICS - provide a comprehensive view of adversarial behavior across a wide range of platforms and scenarios. Understanding the tactics, techniques, and procedures of attackers is essential for any organization that wants to improve its cybersecurity posture and reduce its risk of a successful cyber attack.
Where does the data in the MITRE ATTACK Framework come from?
The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is a comprehensive database of adversarial behavior patterns and tactics that cybersecurity professionals can use to better detect, understand, and stop cyberattacks. The framework serves as a reference for incident responders, security analysts, and threat hunters alike, offering detailed information on known attack techniques and strategies.
One of the unique features of the MITRE ATT&CK Framework is that it is populated almost entirely by publicly available information. This information is gathered from a variety of sources, including reports from cybersecurity vendors and researchers, data breaches and other cyber incidents, and even public forums and social media.
By using publicly available information, the MITRE ATT&CK Framework remains relevant and up-to-date, even as attackers develop new and increasingly sophisticated attack methods. In fact, the framework is updated regularly to reflect changes in the threat landscape, with new techniques and tactics being added as they are identified.
MITRE itself also conducts research on emerging threats and new attack methods, contributing their findings to the framework. This research is typically conducted by the MITRE ATT&CK team, which is composed of cybersecurity experts with extensive experience in threat hunting, incident response, and other related fields.
In addition to these sources of data, the MITRE ATT&CK Framework also benefits from community contributions. Cybersecurity professionals around the world use the framework to better understand the tactics and techniques used by attackers, and may contribute their own observations and insights to the database. This creates a dynamic and constantly evolving resource that reflects the latest developments in the world of cybersecurity.
Overall, the MITRE ATT&CK Framework is a powerful tool for cybersecurity professionals, providing a comprehensive database of adversarial behavior patterns and tactics that can be used to better detect and respond to cyberattacks. Its reliance on publicly available data ensures that it remains current and relevant, even in the face of rapidly evolving threats. By leveraging the insights provided by the framework, security analysts and incident responders can better protect their organizations against cyber threats and keep sensitive data and systems safe from harm.
What is in the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix?
The MITRE ATT&CK Matrix is a widely used knowledge base and model that details the various tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by cyber adversaries in the different phases of their attack lifecycle. It provides cybersecurity professionals with a common language to understand the different ways bad actors might operate, so that organizations can detect, prevent, and respond to cyber threats more effectively.
In this article, we will provide an overview of the different tactics in the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix and their corresponding techniques, as well as examples of how they are commonly used by adversaries.
Tactics in the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix
The MITRE ATT&CK Matrix categorizes adversary behavior into tactics, which represent the objectives of an attack. The tactics are presented linearly from the point of reconnaissance to the final goal of exfiltration or impact.
Reconnaissance: Reconnaissance involves the gathering of information about the target organization to plan future adversary operations. This includes identifying and mapping the organization's assets, people, and processes, as well as vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Examples of reconnaissance techniques include search engine reconnaissance, network sniffing, and social engineering.
Resource Development: Resource Development involves establishing resources to support operations, such as setting up command and control infrastructure, purchasing and configuring tools, and obtaining access credentials. Examples of resource development techniques include domain registration, malware deployment, and setting up a VPN.
Initial Access: Initial Access involves the adversary trying to gain access to the target organization's network. This can be achieved through a variety of means, including phishing, exploiting vulnerabilities in software or hardware, or by using stolen credentials. Examples of initial access techniques include spear phishing, exploiting unpatched software, and exploiting weak passwords.
Execution: Execution involves trying to run malicious code on the target system. This can be accomplished by exploiting vulnerabilities or by tricking the user into running the code. Examples of execution techniques include remote access tools, backdoors, and fileless malware.
Persistence: Persistence involves trying to maintain a foothold in the target system, even after detection and removal attempts. This can be accomplished by creating backdoors or by changing system configurations to make it harder to detect the adversary's presence. Examples of persistence techniques include registry keys, scheduled tasks, and rootkits.
Privilege Escalation: Privilege Escalation involves trying to gain higher-level permissions to enable more access and control of the target system. This can be accomplished by exploiting vulnerabilities in software or by stealing or cracking passwords. Examples of privilege escalation techniques include pass the hash attacks, exploiting misconfigured access controls, and using exploit frameworks.
Defense Evasion: Defense Evasion involves trying to avoid being detected by security systems, such as antivirus software or intrusion detection systems. This can be accomplished by using techniques that mimic legitimate activity or by hiding malicious activity within trusted processes. Examples of defense evasion techniques include using obfuscation techniques, disabling security tools, and using steganography to hide data.
Credential Access: Credential Access involves stealing account names and passwords to enable further access to the target system. This can be accomplished by brute force attacks, keylogging, or by tricking the user into revealing their credentials. Examples of credential access techniques include password spraying, pass the ticket attacks, and exploiting password reuse.
Discovery: Discovery involves trying to figure out the target environment, such as the type of system, software, and applications in use. This information can be used to determine the best way to proceed with the attack. Examples of discovery techniques include port scanning, network mapping, and identifying open shares.
Lateral Movement: Lateral Movement involves moving through the target environment to gain access to additional systems or resources.
How do you use the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix?
MITRE ATT&CK is a valuable resource for cybersecurity professionals as it provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and responding to adversarial behavior. However, understanding how to use it can be daunting. This article will provide an overview of how to use the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix effectively, with h3 headings for SEO purposes.
Mapping Threats to the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix
The first step in using the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix is mapping threats to the framework. This involves identifying the techniques that an attacker might use to achieve their objectives and mapping them to the appropriate tactics and techniques in the matrix. This can be done manually or using tools that automatically map threats to the matrix.
Integration with Cybersecurity Tools
The next step is integrating the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix with cybersecurity tools. The most common tools used for this purpose are SIEM, EDR, and CASB. Integration involves aggregating log data from endpoints, networks, and cloud services and using it to identify threats and map them to the appropriate tactics and techniques in the matrix.
Using MITRE ATT&CK with SIEM
Using MITRE ATT&CK with a SIEM involves aggregating log data from various sources, such as endpoints, network devices, and cloud services. The SIEM then uses this data to identify threats and map them to the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix. This allows security teams to see which tactics and techniques attackers are using and prioritize their response accordingly. Changes to security posture can be conducted in the security tools that provide the log data, such as EDR or CASB.
Using MITRE ATT&CK with EDR
Using MITRE ATT&CK with EDR involves mapping events observed by the endpoint agent to the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix. This allows defenders to determine the phases of a threat event, assess the associated risk, and prioritize their response. By correlating events with the tactics and techniques in the matrix, security teams can better understand the scope and severity of an attack.
Using MITRE ATT&CK with CASB
Using MITRE ATT&CK with a CASB involves mapping cloud events to the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix. This allows security teams to see which tactics and techniques attackers are using in cloud environments and prioritize their response accordingly. CASBs can also be used to enforce security policies and block malicious activities in cloud services.
The MITRE ATT&CK Matrix is a powerful tool for understanding and responding to adversarial behavior. Mapping threats to the matrix and integrating it with cybersecurity tools like SIEM, EDR, and CASB can provide valuable insights into attacker tactics and techniques, allowing security teams to prioritize their response and improve their overall security posture.
What are the benefits of adopting the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix?
The MITRE ATT&CK framework is a comprehensive cybersecurity knowledge base that outlines the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by threat actors during a cyber attack. It provides a common language for defenders to understand, prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of adopting the MITRE ATT&CK matrix.
Adversary Emulation: One of the primary benefits of adopting the MITRE ATT&CK matrix is that it can help organizations assess their security posture by applying intelligence about an adversary and how they operate to emulate a threat. This allows organizations to test and verify defenses by creating adversary emulation scenarios.
Red Teaming: Another benefit of adopting the MITRE ATT&CK matrix is that it can be used to create red team plans and organize operations. Red teaming is the practice of simulating a cyber attack against an organization to test its security defenses. Using the MITRE ATT&CK matrix to plan and organize red team operations can help organizations identify vulnerabilities and improve their overall security posture.
Behavioral Analytics Development: The MITRE ATT&CK matrix can also help organizations develop behavioral analytics by linking together suspicious activity to monitor adversary activity. By simplifying and organizing patterns of suspicious activity deemed malicious, organizations can detect and prevent cyber attacks before they cause damage.
Defensive Gap Assessment: Another benefit of adopting the MITRE ATT&CK matrix is that it can help organizations determine what parts of their enterprise lack defenses and/or visibility. By assessing existing tools or testing new ones prior to purchasing, organizations can determine their security coverage and prioritize their investment in cybersecurity.
SOC Maturity Assessment: Similarly, the MITRE ATT&CK matrix can be used to assess how effective a security operations center (SOC) is at detecting, analyzing, and responding to breaches. By using the matrix to evaluate the SOC's capabilities, organizations can identify areas for improvement and develop a plan to enhance their security defenses.
Cyber Threat Intelligence Enrichment: Finally, the MITRE ATT&CK matrix can be used to enhance information about threats and threat actors. By using the matrix to assess whether they are able to defend against specific Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and common behaviors across multiple threat actors, organizations can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the cyber threats they face.
In conclusion, the MITRE ATT&CK matrix is a powerful tool for organizations seeking to improve their cybersecurity defenses. By adopting the matrix, organizations can emulate adversaries, test their defenses, develop behavioral analytics, assess their defensive gaps, evaluate their SOC's maturity, and enhance their cyber threat intelligence. As cyber threats continue to evolve, the MITRE ATT&CK matrix provides a flexible and comprehensive framework for organizations to stay ahead of the curve.