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An Infrastructure for Deploying and Testing Situational Awareness for Cybersecurity

Ritu Chaudhary
May 26, 2022

Situational Awareness for cyber security ensures that security teams receive timely alerts of any anomaly within the network infrastructure to mitigate the risks before harm is done. The modus operandi of the approach is to enable full visibility of the cyber environment. And to reach that goal, the creation of infrastructure is necessary.  Numerous tools can be used by enterprises to deploy situational awareness in cybersecurity that includes general tools, specific tools, etc.

General tools comprise of

SIEM: Security Information and Event Management tools have Next-Gen detection, analytics and response capabilities. The tools provide real-time analysis of security alerts by combining security information management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM) practices. SIEM tools compare events to rules and analytics engines, then indexes them for sub-second search, allowing sophisticated threats to be detected and analysed utilising global intelligence.

SOAR: Security Orchestration, Automation and Response tools have enhanced capabilities to analyse reports from other security practices like event logging, indicator-detection, firewalls and others to provide a comprehensive outlook about the security posture, risk levels and support automated and manual incident response.

UEBA: User and Entity Behavioural Analytics leverage machine learning methods to interpret collected data to draw the line of distinction between normal network behaviour and anomaly that helps identify attackers or compromised systems.

Specific purpose tools integrate data to map key changes to specific services. Host auditing systems is one such tool that employs configuration scanning and event-log analysis to identify hosts that are out of compliance or indicate compromise.

Another tool is the Domain-name system (DNS) change monitoring system which looks into the configuration violations and cache contents to pick out indicators of compromise. These tools provide regular and timely alerts to help security teams prevent attacks.

Once the infrastructure has been laid out, it is important to test it to know whether it is operating optimally or needs modifications. Testing the infrastructure of situational awareness for cyber security can be done by performing:

Penetration testing: The penetration test, colloquially called pen test, is a simulated cyberattack against the infrastructure to check vulnerabilities in the security posture. The test involves different methods to exploit the cybersecurity infrastructure to identify possible vulnerabilities. The primary goal of the test is to improve situational awareness infrastructure for cyber security and provide protection against future attacks.

Attack scenario simulation: Another way to test the infrastructure is using the attack scenario simulation method. According to this method, a specialised cyber environment is created, called cyber range, that mimic a cyber environment and different simulated attack situations like DDoS, phishing, and other deadly attacks are carried out to check the security posture.

Vulnerability assessment: A vulnerability assessment is a thorough examination of the infrastructure for cyber situational awareness to point out the security flaws. It determines whether the infrastructure is vulnerable to any known treats and assigns severity levels to those. The process also offers remediation or mitigation.

Only deploying an infrastructure to enable situational awareness for cybersecurity is not enough. Security teams should regularly test the components to gauge the performance levels for better protection from the emerging range of sophisticated cyberattacks.

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