The post is going to introduce readers about the concept of the cyber kill chain. After this, we had covered the use of this concept and the main eight phases involved in it. At the end of this post, we have also give reason that why is Cyber kill chain concept important for cloud data security.
What is Cyber Kill Chain?
The cyber kill chain is a series of steps, which draw cloud computing attack stages from the early reconnaissance levels to the data exfiltration. It helps in understanding and combating data breaches, ransomware, and APTs (advanced persistent threats). The framework of the kill chain was derived by Lockheed Martin who referred to a military model, originally made to detect, prepare to take action, get engaged, and completely destroy the target. Since its origination time, the Cyber kill chain process has developed gradually to a better anticipate and identify the insider attacks, advanced ransomware, social engineering, and innovative threats.
Use of The Cyber Kill Chain Process
There are various important phases in the process of the cyber kill chain. They begin from reconnaissance to the lateral movement to data exfiltration. All of the common threat vectors – let it be a phishing attack or recent malware strain or brute force – are usually based on the Cyber kill chain model. Each stage is associated with a particular kind of activity in the cloud computing threats, regardless of the fact whether it is an internal or external threat.
8 Phases Involved in Cyber Kill Chain
- Reconnaissance – It is the observation phase where attackers typically evaluate the condition from outside-to-in. An intruder is searching for information, which may expose vulnerabilities as well as the holes present in the system / network. This evaluation is done to detect both targets and ideas of the attack.
- Intrusion Stage – Dependent upon the fact that what hackers have discovered in the reconnaissance phase, they are able to enter into the target’s system – frequently resulting in security vulnerabilities or breakage of security barriers. This phase can be accomplished by sending a malicious attachment or link via email to the target users.
- Exploitation Stage – This phase of Cyber kill chain model is like ‘you are insider the gate, and still the boundary is crossed. In simple words, here the vulnerabilities’ exploitation takes place. In this, delivering malicious code onto the PC takes place to get a better foothold. Hackers can enter into the system and do whatever they wish to.
- Privilege Escalation – Internet hackers often demand for more permissions to enter into the system and easily access data to expose it or harm the targeted firm. For the same, Cybercriminals have to escalate their rights often to the administrator. The privilege escalation techniques comprise of brute force attacks, zero-day vulnerabilities, etc.
- Lateral Movement – It is like you had fixed problem on one PC still, you have to fix other systems too. Once attackers have entered the system, hackers can move to other machines and tenants with a perspective of gaining more data access privileges. It can include any of the high permissions, greater access to machines, and collecting of huge amount of data.
- Anti-forensics – Internet hackers have to include their tracks for successfully pulling off the threat and in this phase, they often lay incorrect trails, leak data, and permanently delete logs for confusing or slowing down the forensic investigation team. This may mean wiping documents and header content or altering the confidential data in a way as if it was never used.
- Denial of Service – This phase of cyber kill chain model is like ‘jam the phone wires and shut down the power grid‘. It includes normal access disruption for end users and systems to restrict the threat occurrence from being tracked, monitored, and blocked. The DoS threat disrupts and then, suspends the access that can lead to crashing of the system.
- Exfiltration Stage – Hackers always plan the exit strategy! This phase comprises of fetching of data from compromised systems and then, going out of the harmed PC in shortest possible duration. After this, attackers can ransom data, sell it, or do whatever they desire.
Why We Are Reading About Cyber Kill Chain Model?
Cyber kill chain process enables users to think and act like a hacker. It is the model that often criticized to concentrate on boundary protection and restrict malware protection. Once get consolidated with advanced analytics and predictive architecture, this model becomes important for creation of an unbreakable data security. This idea helps in recognizing the weak points available in the business networks and allows companies to strengthen their existing security level. The holes or gaps present in a network can be filled easily only if one detects them. Therefore, to do the same, this concept of Cyber kill chain is useful to detect problems in security and fix them immediately.