Breach and attack simulation (BAS) platforms allow companies to see weaknesses in their cyber infrastructures before a malicious hacker can exploit them.
What Is BAS – Breach and Attack Simulation?
Breach and attack simulation (BAS) is an approach to cybersecurity that uses advanced tools to imitate the attacks used by cybercriminals on companies’ digital infrastructure. The simulated attacks allow the professionals to see how and in what ways a company’s digital infrastructure may be susceptible to cyber threats.
While other forms of cybersecurity, such as firewalls and micro-segmentation, guard against cyberattacks, BAS serves to test cyber infrastructures’ attack preparedness. By imitating a variety of cyberattacks, BAS testing can better demonstrate to a company where and how it must improve its cybersecurity. These attacks include but are not limited to email infiltration, identity fraud, and ransomware. A company can maximize its cyber protection against existing threats using a BAS assessment platform through trial and error processes.
How Does BAS Testing Work?
On a BAS platform, a cybersecurity or IT professional can select the type of attack they want to mimic. Afterward, the cyber security simulation software will deploy a digital agent that mimics the type of selected attack. The BAS software will monitor how its agent moves through the network and how successful it is. These factors will allow the platform to compile a report on potential weaknesses in a company’s cybersecurity setup.
The cyber attack simulation does not harm a company’s digital infrastructure. The generated reports give cybersecurity professionals a better idea about what they must improve in a company’s digital setup to guard against that attack type.
Why Is BAS Testing Useful?
Unlike other cybersecurity practices like penetration testing where an individual attempts to breach a company’s network on the company’s behalf to discover how the organization can better improve its cybersecurity, BAS is automated.
Since BAS is an automated breach simulation, it can run at any time and discover ways to breach a company’s digital infrastructure that an individual tester may not have thought of. The reports generated by the breach and attack simulations’ results allow cybersecurity professionals to prioritize digital weaknesses and create better cyber defenses for an organization.
Since many BASs can run regularly, they give cybersecurity and IT professionals quicker notice about when a company’s system may be poorly prepared for a certain type of attack. These diligent tests allow professionals to improve on a cyber weakness more swiftly. The quicker response leaves a potential hacker less time to exploit an error.
BAS platforms are often built on the information available through a global cybersecurity database called MITRE ATT&CK. The database keeps track of the methods cybercriminals use to break through companies’ cyber defenses. Since BAS tests are often based on information found in the MITRE ATT&CK framework, the tests can prepare a company for attacks it may not have previously heard of.
What Companies Provide BAS Tools? How Do They Differ From Each Other?
BAS platforms have existed for years. However, simulations and their purposes are always changing. New developments occur in the category regularly. Below are some of the offerings available for BAS that have been well-reviewed in recent months across different review websites.
The Security Validation platform by Picus Security is well regarded for offering a thorough way to test elements of a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure individually and collectively. However, overall customer sentiment also mentions the offering could be more comprehensive in how it simulates threats.
- Offers easy-to-understand fixes for cybersecurity misconfigurations
- Allows companies to test security layers individually and separately
- A user-friendly mitigation menu makes the product easy to utilize
- Provides continuous security validation
- Easy to integrate with other cybersecurity products
- Endpoint monitors can crash and require manual integration into the platform
- Could use more testing types to better reflect malware capabilities
- Limited customization options
- Occasional glitches
- Training required to understand best how to use the product
Overall customer feedback on the Exposure Management and Security Validation platform by Cymulate BAS states that it offers thorough and insightful reports. However, many customers also complain the Cymulate breach and attack simulation platform is limited in the testing it can perform at any given time.
- Dashboard is easy to navigate
- Guides and knowledge base that provide useful information to users
- Responsive customer support
- Clear test reporting that allows one to fix cybersecurity flaws quickly
- Automatic testing for emerging threats
- Threat assessments sometimes fail for unknown reasons
- Different testing modules have varying administrative skill requirements to get the best insights out of the test
- Can only run one type of assessment on part of one’s cybersecurity infrastructure at a time
- Cost prohibitive to obtain all modules available on the platform
- Complex setup that can be time-consuming and stressful
The Enterprise platform by AttackIQ BAS is customizable and cost-effective, according to customer reviews of the product. However, there are issues regarding the set-up of a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure within the AttackIQ breach and attack simulation platform to provide accurate test results.
- User-friendly for analysts of most skill levels
- Great cost for the services offered
- Customizable for specific company needs
- Simulates cyber threats in an accurate way that provides insightful reporting
- Dashboard can be difficult to navigate
- All agents must be added manually, which makes it difficult to build an effective map of the network for testing
- Product supports a limited amount of integrations with other digital platforms·
- Tracking and reporting functions for problems do not exist
SafeBreach’s platform is considered a robust BAS platform with a customizable platform that provides helpful reports by customers. However, it is a resource-heavy platform that requires multiple individuals to manage effectively.
- Ability to customize the dashboard for personalized results analysis
- Scalable as one’s cyber infrastructure grows
- Large and regularly updated library of attacks to simulate
- Can integrate with other cybersecurity tools
- Easy to use
- The product has many bugs
- Some simulations are poorly designed and not helpful
- Unhelpful customer support
- Integration with some tools and operations systems is poor
The Threat Simulator platform by Keysight is thought of as useful by customers because of its ability to run multiple simulations at once. However, the platform is complex and requires an administrator with extensive experience in IT and/or cybersecurity.
- Can carry out multiple simulations constantly on cybersecurity infrastructure
- Simulations as well as misconfiguration fixes can be automated
- The user interface is easy to use
- Replicates the nature of real threats accurately
- Security simulation patches can take a long time to integrate into a company’s cyber infrastructure
- Difficult to learn how to use the platform
- Can be difficult to understand the newest threat simulations and their purposes
- Running complex simulations can take up large amounts of resources causing other programs to slow down
The Future of BAS Software
In its October 2023 report Invest Implications: Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2024: Continuous Threat Exposure Management, Gartner projects, “by 2026, organizations prioritizing their security investments, based on a continuous threat exposure management (CTEM) program, will realize a two-third reeducation in breaches.”
BAS platforms can be a crucial tool for the CTEM cycle. The CTEM cycle is designed so that cybersecurity and IT professionals can best use attack simulations to identify and eliminate threats to a company’s digital infrastructure.
BAS platforms will continue to be useful for a company’s cybersecurity toolkit, even though BAS itself does not actively guard against cyberattacks, because of how BAS helps cybersecurity and IT professionals fortify an organization’s digital defenses.
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