The kill chain model – the seven stages of a cyber attack.

Kill chain model – seven stages in the course of a cyber attack

and the job market in many areas, narrow specializations are becoming a thing of the past, and employers are looking for candidates with a wide range of skills. It’s happening in the cybersecurity industry. Having an extensive knowledge of how to protect IT, cloud and network environments will increase your chances of being among the best job candidates and help you combat all kinds of current and future cyber threats.

A security-based approach to the network requires professionals to combine skills from different disciplines. Before the explosive growth of digital transformation, OT and IT networks operated independently of each other. The former were not connected to the Internet and, therefore, were considered relatively safe from external threats. But as digital innovation evolved, they began to merge with IT networks as companies sought to reduce costs, increase productivity, and compete in the marketplace.

Digital chain of death

Today all networks are exposed to a wide range of threats. This means that companies need employees with many different specialties. A look at the seven stages of the model kill chain, illustrating the course of a cyber attack will help you better understand these processes. You can use them as a guide to suggest what skills among company employees are needed to thwart an attack at each stage.

1. Recognition Includes activities such as collecting email addresses of potential victims and gathering information about them. Simply knowing the basic principles of cyber hygiene is needed to thwart this step, e.g. The ability to recognize phishing messages. It can be learned by anyone of any age and at any career stage.

2. Armament – At this stage, the criminal uses previously obtained information to embed malicious software in a document or place it on a website, to which he gained unauthorized access. This is the stage where the criminal creates the attack process and few protective measures, even knowledge of security rules, can make a difference.

3. Providing – involves spreading a malicious tool, e.g. in the form of email attachments or website addresses, to the victim’s target environment. Training employees can help them learn the skills needed to recognize phishing emails.

4. Exploiting a vulnerability in an application or operating system. This is one of the key stages of an attack, on which its success depends. This is the moment when a well-trained IT team steps in to keep systems up to date and ensure the company has anti-virus software installed. They are also tasked with securing all critical data.

5. Installation The moment an attacker installs malware on a victim’s device. This step goes beyond the “human firewall,” so it requires trained personnel to keep a watchful eye on system security and look for unusual occurrences within the system.

6. Command and control – The attacker takes control over the device. Malware is often not automated, so this step is done manually and occurs when the system is compromised or already infected. That’s why “hunting” is such a popular tactic – looking for unusual activity where data is sent outside the company.

7. Activities to exfiltrate data involve collecting and extracting information from the victim’s environment and then encrypting it. Once an attacker has access to and control over a company’s network, they can accomplish their goals.

Knowledge of the different steps in the chain kill chain The first step in the fight against cybercrime is to identify the target and its effects. Digital security is in fact about the ability to adapt one’s actions and their flexibility, as the threat situation is constantly evolving, so above all, training that broadens knowledge and builds user awareness can bring great benefits.

Cyber awareness must be taken care of

There are many free courses where you can start your training programs. Training and penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, can also be useful. It is worth focusing on these techniques to understand the mindset and tactics of cybercriminals. Also important are such issues as the ability to conduct an investigation after an incident, as well as detect and analyze threats, knowledge of coding and recording techniques, and having engineering knowledge of network infrastructure.

However, don’t focus on just one area of knowledge. Essential technical skills to develop include: “hunting” for threats, reverse engineering malware, penetration testing, detecting exploits or managing large data sets. You also need skills in using virtualization and container environments, knowledge of Linux, scripting languages, JavaScript (knowledge of these is essential) and a solid understanding of how the network environment works.

Realize your passion

It is worth remembering that in the market there is a constantly growing demand for skilled professionals who can help in the fight against innovative techniques used by cybercriminals. And while some IT security career paths are shaped in traditional ways, such as. Through university programs and apprenticeships, there are other ways, such as certification programs and training to help people get into this field on their own.

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