How to design and deliver an effective cybersecurity exercise

Steve Durbin
Published 01 - April - 2024
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Armed forces have always utilised war-gaming exercises for battlefield training to prepare for times of conflict. With today’s digital transformation, the same concept is being applied in the form of cybersecurity exercises – tests and simulations based on plausible cyber-attack scenarios and incident response.

Cyber exercises press an organization’s ability to detect, investigate, and respond to threats in a timely and secure manner. Well-designed cybersecurity exercises help organizations proactively identify and address vulnerabilities in their people, processes, and technology, mitigating the blow should a real-life incident occur.

Types of cybersecurity exercises

Cybersecurity exercises can assume various forms including:

1. Table-top simulations: Typically paper-based exercises, table-tops run without the use of live infrastructure or the requirement for a simulated environment. They can be performed in many different facilities, from specially designed war rooms to a large conference room.

2. Digital simulations: These are group exercises run in simulated or test environments, which can be more realistic than table-top simulations. However, fully simulating a cyber-attack can be challenging as organizations may lack the facilities, technologies and skills to simulate a cyber-attack internally.

3. Red and blue teaming: Red and blue teaming tests the organization’s ability to defend against a group of determined attackers. It involves two teams – red teams, a team that plays the role of the hacker, and blue teams, an internal team that plays the role of the defender.

4. Penetration testing: Penetration testing focuses on breaking into systems by exploiting technical vulnerabilities, rather than assessing the organization’s ability to defend itself.

5. Phishing exercises: Phishing exercises test employees’ ability to detect fraudulent communications (email, text, phone, web), social engineering attempts, and their ability to respond to successful attacks.

How to design and deliver an effective cybersecurity exercise
Read the full article on Help Net Security