The Configuration is MITRE than the Tool

by | Jun 4, 2024

Introduction:

MITRE ATT&CK stands as a cornerstone for understanding adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations. For SOC teams, it serves as a map to navigate the landscape of cyber threats, detailing the configurations, compensating controls, and vulnerabilities typical of various attack scenarios. This granular visibility empowers SOCs to prepare more effectively against potential attacks by aligning their defense mechanisms with the most likely threat vectors.

How should we use MITRE ATT&CK effectively as part of security operations?

Security operations teams often use the MITRE ATT&CK framework merely to check compliance boxes. However, they should instead focus on utilizing MITRE as a reference matrix to consistently categorize security events and incidents, which allows for the accurate measurement of similar outcomes. In addition, they should also focus on evaluating the effectiveness and relevance of security solutions based on their impact on business risk and disruptions, rather than simply assessing the comprehensiveness of solution coverage.

Configurations: The Backbone of Effective SOC Operations

Configurations within SOC frameworks are crucial. They determine how well a system can withstand an attack by preemptively adjusting its defenses in line with insights derived from the MITRE ATT&CK framework. These configurations involve setting up appropriate security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and more importantly, ensuring that these settings are tuned to detect and mitigate the tactics and techniques documented in MITRE ATT&CK.

For example, comparing how quickly phishing attacks are noticed (initial access) versus the time it takes to detect remote access software (command and control) is not directly comparable. The nature of the threat, the process to resolve it, and its business impact vary significantly. By focusing on comparing similar types of incidents, security operations leaders gain a more accurate understanding of their security posture.

Veriti leverages the MITRE ATT&CK framework to effectively pinpoint the most susceptible areas within your security infrastructure and associate them with the needed configuration changes and compensating controls. This not only reduces the manual labor involved in adjusting SOC configurations but also ensures that defenses are both precise and agile.

Compensating Controls: Bridging the Gap Between Detection and Response

Compensating controls are specific security measures implemented to mitigate potential threats when primary controls are insufficient or patching is unavailable. By leveraging the detailed analysis provided by MITRE ATT&CK, SOC teams can identify where their compensating controls need to be strengthened or reconfigured to better protect against specific adversary behaviors and techniques.

By integrating MITRE ATT&CK into daily operations, SOCs can stay one step ahead of attackers. This involves regular reviews of attack patterns, adapting to new threats, and continuous refinement of security configurations and compensating controls.

Organizational departments and businesses across industries can greatly benefit from sharing information through Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs). By using the MITRE ATT&CK framework as a common language for threat management outcome comparisons, organizations can glean specific insights into processes and training adopted by others. This knowledge enables them to make informed improvements to their own security procedures, enhancing their overall cybersecurity posture.

Conclusion:

To effectively leverage MITRE ATT&CK, security teams need to look beyond the evaluation outcomes and scores. Consideration must also be given to the relevance and potential impact of successful MITRE techniques on your specific infrastructure. When evaluating vendors, it’s crucial to address 2 core questions:

  • Does the threat technique impact my business negatively, and could it potentially lead to a serious breach given our systems and infrastructure?
  • Can the identified techniques or capabilities be detected with the technology investments we have made or plan to make?

The MITRE ATT&CK framework is more than just a tool; it is an essential part of the SOC arsenal that, when used correctly, can transform the security posture of an organization. Veriti’s solution exemplifies how the strategic application of MITRE ATT&CK can lead to a more robust and proactive security operation. As cyber threats grow more sophisticated, the integration of advanced frameworks into SOC operations is not just beneficial—it’s imperative.

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