A typical compromise assessment plan uses specialized software and scripts combined with forensic data to find compromises or problems that were not previously discovered. It is frequently used to find security holes and detect all known malware types as well as remote access tools.
A compromise assessment is a thorough examination of a network and its components to find malware, unidentified security vulnerabilities, and indications of unwanted access. More specifically, the evaluation looks for attackers who are present or have recently been active in the environment. Such an evaluation is frequently carried out following a security incident to estimate the likelihood of any potential future cyber incidents and to confirm whether the company is now secure.
A typical compromise assessment plan uses specialized software and scripts combined with forensic data to find compromises or problems that were not previously discovered. It is frequently used to find security holes and detect all known malware types as well as remote access tools. The ultimate objective is to perform a thorough forensic investigation and assist in creating an appropriate incident response plan.
Importance of Compromise Assessment
Cyber adversaries are sweeping the globe like a hurricane, and advanced threat actors are developing into more cunning and persistent threats. In order to create effective controls, it is crucial to identify the shortcomings. Breach detection durations can range from months to possibly years.
Finding and prioritizing vulnerabilities, such as incorrect setups or unpatched services, is the main goal of pen-testing and vulnerability assessments. Both of these services cannot notify you if hackers have already set up a command and control server with multiple access points after they leveraged those vulnerabilities, despite the fact that fixing these vulnerabilities is essential and can stop future attacks. Hence, by including a routine compromise assessment (CA) in your risk mitigation approach, you can be sure that your company has at least a workable road map for eliminating system vulnerabilities and identifying with certainty that no threats have managed to get past your defenses.
Identifying a Compromise
- Reused custom malware:
The dark web has a large marketplace for purchasing commercial malware. Nevertheless, a lot of attack groups will spend a lot of money creating customized malware, especially those engaged in targeted attacks. Of course, in order to safeguard their investment, they would instead reuse it.
Or, to escape discovery, they make tiny modifications to it to produce variations.
A skilled compromise assessment team can identify attack groups by comparing the “fingerprints” of such malware discovered during earlier investigations.
- Persistence mechanisms:
Attackers employ a variety of methods—some well-known, some less so—to stay present in your surroundings. The assessment team can identify indicators that a breach is ongoing or has just happened by being familiar with how attack groups typically operate.
- Lateral movement techniques:
The most sophisticated attack groups steal valid credentials to imitate typical user behavior. They then navigate an environment freely using the stolen credentials.
An expert assessment team is aware of the methods used by attackers to get and utilize those credentials.
- Reuse of network indicators:
Attack groups frequently reuse network protocols, web security certificates, IP addresses, website domain names, and IP addresses across numerous victims. Such uses are instantly identified by an experienced assessment team. The group might even be able to decode or decrypt network data in order to see the commands being sent by the attacker.
Difference between Vulnerability and Compromise Assessment
The goal of vulnerability assessments (VAs) is to identify every potential weakness throughout the attack surface of a system that might be used to gain initial access. The purpose of compromise assessments (CAs) is to thoroughly scan your entire system for vulnerabilities, prospective threats, unusual user behavior, and any signs of previous intrusions. Compromise assessments examine user behavior in search of anomalies, going beyond the purview of vulnerability assessments.
Use Cases of Compromise Assessment
- Merger & Acquisition:
Compromise assessments can be carried out during the merger and acquisition process to evaluate the acquisition’s environment, present security posture, and the organization’s exposure to cyber risks.
- Unusual activities:
While doing the compromise assessment, noticing unusual behavior on your network will help you not only identify the cause of the actions but also get ready to create a long-term remediation strategy.
Benefits of Compromise Assessment
There are various reasons why you could need an assessment. The two most frequent ones are when a company in your field has been compromised and you are concerned about your own environment or when the board wants to know if they have been penetrated.
Advanced threat groups frequently use the same strategies to target numerous businesses across various industries. As a result, learning about other attacks, even those from unrelated industries, frequently prompts firms to investigate whether they are also targets.
- Advanced Detection:
Identifies attacks by looking at the evidence—early detection of configuration errors, security holes, and vulnerabilities.
- Response Time:
Address security issues in days rather than months.
- Quick Recognition of Indicators:
Searches for indicators of compromise to determine whether the network has been compromised.
- Reduced Exposure Time:
By quickly and covertly identifying unknown attacker behavior, you can shorten the amount of time an attacker can remain in the network.
- Improve Detection Abilities:
Identifies suspicious conversations and dangerous files flowing via the network rapidly using threat data from a number of sources and the necessary knowledge.