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Adaptive Cyber Resiliency Best Practices

Posted by Jay Kurup on May 28, 2024

The cyber threat landscape is undeniably complex and dynamic. Traditional cybersecurity measures are struggling to detect and stop attacks before they can cause damage. The IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report for 2023 found that only one-third of reported breaches were initially detected by an organization’s internal security teams and tools.For cybersecurity leaders focused on building organizational resiliency, defending against a shifting threat landscape is equal parts prevention and recovery. 

This blog provides an overview of adaptive cyber resiliency, and how it supports a proactive and preventative approach to cyber defense. For an in-depth review, download the “Achieving Adaptive Cyber Resiliency with Automated Moving Target Defense” white paper. 

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Complex attack techniques are bypassing standard detection and response technology

Attackers continuously iterate and innovate attack techniques to stay one step ahead of defensive tools and technologies. Many techniques aren’t new — rather attackers, always seeking the fastest path to access, are finding success in iterating on classic methods. 

For example, the Verizon 2024 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) found that vulnerability exploitation for initial breach entry nearly tripled in 2023, increasing 108%. In many cases attackers can exploit breaches faster than teams can patch them. According to the DBIR it takes organizations approximately 55 days to address vulnerabilities, while large-scale scanning for those same vulnerabilities by threat actors starts within five days. 

Once initial access is established, attackers can initiate dangerous and undetectable attacks like ransomware and pure extortion attacks — the DBIR found the latter grew year-over-year, representing 9% of breaches in 2023.  

A current state of omni-present risk means that security leaders must shift from a reactionary mindset to a preventative one. An adaptive cyber resiliency strategy can mitigate the danger of cybersecurity complacency, helping leaders and their teams speed breach event response, contain breach damages and return to business as usual faster. 

The DBIR breach data reinforces that popular attack techniques are increasingly initiated through vulnerability exploitation. “Set and forget” detection and response strategies and technologies are failing to stop the attacks that ensue.  

Cybersecurity Risk

Security leaders, acutely aware of increasing risk, are re-assessing their organization’s overall security posture. And regardless of size, scope or industry, three central and supporting use cases have emerged:    

  1. Ransomware —Ransomware looms large for organizations due to its multifaceted threats. These attacks hold critical data and systems hostage, causing severe disruptions and financial losses. Beyond operational standstills, ransomware tarnishes reputations, erodes customer trust, and risks business losses. Modern ransomware tactics use increasingly sophisticated fileless and in-memory techniques that can evade industry-standard detection and response technologies. Additionally, some attackers may tamper with third-party security solutions, disabling key defenses to execute their malicious code unimpeded.

  2. An expanding attack surface — Many factors are continually warping and expanding every organization’s attack surface. The adoption of cloud services and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions diversifies potential entry points for attackers. The surge in remote and hybrid work models introduces vulnerabilities as employees access systems from varied networks and devices, while the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices on corporate networks amplifies risks of compromise and lateral movement. Additionally, extensive reliance on third-party integrations raises concerns over security inconsistencies and overlooked vulnerabilities. Users with higher privileges represent a critical risk, as their compromised accounts can lead to significant breaches. Deviations from basic hardening policies and the need for constant validation of these policies further exacerbate the risk. Morphisec's solutions offer robust protection by dynamically preventing unauthorized access and continuously validating security policies to ensure a resilient defense.

  3. Security control gaps — Outdated and unpatched systems harbor vulnerabilities ripe for exploitation by attackers. Insufficient access controls, marked by weak authentication and authorization measures, open the door to unauthorized access to critical systems and data. Any lack of robust endpoint protection leaves user devices vulnerable to malware infections, while ineffective detection and response mechanisms permit breaches to linger undetected, granting attackers prolonged access. Additionally, inadequate employee training heightens risks, as uninformed staff become susceptible to phishing attacks and mishandle sensitive information.  


Applying adaptive and proactive cybersecurity strategies to counter advancing threats 

Overall, a reliance on digital systems is fueling the cybersecurity landscape’s rapid evolution and its ability to outpace traditional security measures. Today's cyber threats, while rooted in classic methods, are highly sophisticated and adept at exploiting weaknesses in static and reactive security protocols that rely on signature-based detection and sporadic updates.  

Proactive Cybersecurity

The inadequacy of perimeter-focused cybersecurity models, combined with the complexity of threats, demands a shift towards adaptive and proactive strategies capable of evolving alongside the ever-changing threat landscape. 

For security leaders, refining cybersecurity strategies in response to the escalating sophistication of adversaries' tactics is key to defending against them. Traditional strategies tend to adopt a reactive stance, emphasizing threat intelligence to inform conventional defense mechanisms like signatures, heuristics, behavior analysis, and Indicators of Attack (IOA) and Indicators of Compromise (IOC). 

Yet to effectively counter advancing threats, a proactive and perpetually evolving adaptive cyber resiliency strategy is imperative. Such an approach fortifies an organization’s overall security (and defense) posture against cyber-attacks.  


Adopting an adaptive cyber resiliency architecture for robust and scalable defense 

An Adaptive Cyber Resiliency architecture is designed to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on cyber resources.It not only defends against current threats, but it’s also agile enough to adapt and recover from future cyber events swiftly. 

It’s an approach that ensures that cybersecurity measures evolve in alignment with both technological advancements and emerging threat landscapes, establishing a robust defense mechanism that promotes sustained and continuous security and trust. 

Download the Achieving Adaptive Cyber Resiliency with Automated Moving Target Defense white paper to explore the components of adaptive cyber resiliency strategy and how Automated Moving Target Defense can support performative cyber resilience outcomes. 

Achieving Adaptive Cyber Resiliency White Paper