Cybersecurity, in a nutshell, is the discovery of weaknesses in systems and mitigating them before they can escalate into incidents.
The issue is that organizations can have millions of vulnerabilities within their network on a daily basis.
Patching up major flaws is challenging even for companies that aren’t understaffed in the cybersecurity department.
On a regular day, teams can mitigate only 10% of the vulnerabilities that are in their system. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize weaknesses that pose the greatest risk and to remove or patch them up early.
Overworked IT teams can’t mitigate them right away either.
Mitigating flaws on time is difficult because the attack surface can, and often does, change within minutes, and it’s difficult playing catch up with the system in fast-paced environments. Hackers can also come up with new threats for which your security is not yet ready. Basically, there are a lot of things going on at once.
So, how do businesses manage weaknesses in their systems?
Vulnerability Prioritization Technology focuses on high-risk threats, and includes tools such as Breach and Attack Simulation and Attack-Based Vulnerability Management.
How do these tools compare with the systems such as scanning and CVSS that cybersecurity teams normally use?
Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS)
Also known as CVSS, Common Vulnerability Scoring System is the tool that most companies use to decide as to the order in which they’ll patch up flaws.
The graph is easy to understand, and it marks the vulnerabilities from 1-10, in the order of least to most concerning weaknesses. IT teams usually focus on the threats that score seven or more on the CVSS scale.
Its main shortcoming is that it doesn’t analyze the flaws within their context. As a result, your teams might patch up weak spots that are ranked high but don’t pose an immediate threat in the system.
What’s more, it could be weeks between the teams getting the order in which the flaws have to be managed and them doing so.
For the attack system that is changing with every new employee login and update, that can leave the company exposed to threats, buying time for three actors to exploit weaknesses between patch ups.
Vulnerability Scanning Solution
Scanning resembles CVSS because it scans the system and prioritizes the weaknesses that have to be mitigated first. In fact, it’s likely to give you identical results.
A solution such as scanning also lacks context that determines whether the assessment of the threat effect is critical and likely to disrupt security.
The static nature of scanning presents an issue for continually altering environments the way CVSS does.
Breach and Attack Simulation
Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) tests the security that you have, your teams, and the protocols that keep the company safe from breaches. To put them to the test, BAS exploits possible weaknesses similarly as a hacker would.
The attacks are simulated in a safe environment and testing results in a report highlighting high-risk threats and offers possible solutions for IT teams that manage the system.
Since it’s automated and can be set to test the security and people 24/7, BAS can catch the major weaknesses and breaching attempts early, before they can result in critical security complications for the company.
To assess whether the security is ready for both old and newly emerging threats, BAS is continually updated with the latest findings in the MITRE ATT&CK Framework.
The Framework is a major resource and a library of all the latest methods and techniques that hackers have used to breach organizations.
Attack-Based Vulnerability Management
ABVM is the latest technology that aids teams to uncover harmful vulnerabilities that are lurking in a company’s systems.
This vulnerability prioritizing technology includes simulated and emulated attacks to form a full diagnostics of security.
What’s more, it does so within the specific context of your business.
Based on the findings, it generates a report that suggests the order in which the weaknesses should be mitigated in the system.
The tool determines whether the flaws need patching up based on whether they’re likely to affect your unique attack surface.
It has the ability to single out vulnerabilities that have been marked as low risk by the CVSS but also have the potential to cause major breaches in the context of your security.
Even more importantly, it determines whether the flaws that you’re already patched up are effectively mitigated or still need your attention and further action.
Fixing the flaws in the system is a lot of work for the IT teams. Correct prioritization of threats is important because they have limited time to remedy critical issues in the system and they have to make decisions in a split second.
An accurate way of deciding which vulnerabilities need immediate attention of your team shifts their focus on the real threats that can damage your company’s finances and reputation.
Shifting Towards Risk and Context Oriented Solutions
Scanning and Common Vulnerability Scoring Systems fall short in determining high-risk flaws in the right context.
They have a difficult time keeping up with the attack surface that is continually changing with every employee login, additional software that makes infrastructure even more complex, and emerging hacking threats.
Also, they don’t account for the correct context in the diagnostics. Since every organization is different and what might be a detrimental flaw for one business is a low-level threat for others.
This can lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time on patching up weaknesses that aren’t likely to result in a successful cyberattack.
Breach and Attack Simulation scans the systems 24/7 to summarize high-risk threats in real-time.
The latest technology prioritizes high-risk vulnerabilities. ABVM scans for them in the context of your organization and enables you to prevent attacks by patching up flaws before hackers can discover and exploit them.