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What is the Cyberattack Lifecycle?

The cyberattack lifecycle, also known as the cyber kill chain, is a model that describes the stages of a typical cyberattack. The model was originally developed by Lockheed Martin and has since been widely adopted by the cybersecurity industry.

By understanding the stages of the cyberattack lifecycle, organizations can develop strategies and defenses to prevent, detect, and respond to breaches. They can also develop incident response plans and procedures to minimize the impact of an attack and recover from it as quickly as possible.

What Are the Stages of the Cyberattack Lifecycle?

The stages of a cyberattack lifecycle include:

  1. Reconnaissance: In the initial stage, the attacker gathers information about the target, such as IP addresses, domain names, and email addresses. This information is typically gathered through techniques such as social engineering, phishing, or scanning.
  2. Weaponization: The attacker creates or acquires a tool or exploit that can be used to compromise the target. This might include a malware payload or an exploit that takes advantage of a software vulnerability.
  3. Delivery: The attacker delivers the weaponized payload to the target, typically through an email attachment, a website, or a network exploit.
  4. Exploitation: The weaponized payload is executed on the target system, allowing the attacker to gain access to the system and begin to carry out their objectives.
  5. Installation: The attacker installs additional tools or malware that allow them to maintain access and control over the system.
  6. Command and control: In this phase, the attacker establishes a command and control channel that allows them to communicate with the compromised system and issue commands or exfiltrate data.
  7. Actions on objectives: In this final stage, the attacker carries out their objectives, which may include stealing sensitive data, disrupting services, or other malicious activities.

Learn more about the Armis approach to threat detection that covers all stages for managed and unmanaged devices.

How to Break the Cyberattack Lifecycle

The cyberattack lifecycle has multiple stages, and stopping an intrusion at any one of them can prevent a bad actor from carrying out their ransomware or data theft plans. Here’s what you need:

  • Prevention: The best way to break the attack lifecycle is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This involves implementing security controls, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software, to prevent attackers from gaining access to the network. Network segmentation can also effectively limit lateral movement and mitigate damage in the event of a breach.
  • Threat detection: Even with preventative measures in place, it’s still possible for attackers to breach a network. Threat detection methods, such as security analytics and a contextual device knowledgebase, can help identify and respond to attacks before they can cause significant damage.
  • Continuous monitoring: Ongoing monitoring of network activity, such as through Armis Asset Intelligence & Security Platform, can help to quickly detect and respond to any suspicious or anomalous behavior.
  • User awareness and education: Many attacks rely on social engineering techniques to trick users into giving up sensitive information or installing malware. Educating users on the risks of spear phishing and other social engineering techniques can help to reduce the likelihood of these attacks succeeding and improve organizational cyber hygiene.

Breaking the Attack Lifecycle With Armis

The Armis platform takes a proactive approach to breaking the cyberattack lifecycle. It reduces an organization’s attack surface and limits vulnerabilities by providing complete visibility and control over all assets, even those that are unmanaged, outdated, or otherwise unsecured. By interrupting the attack lifecycle at every stage, from reconnaissance to actions on objectives, Armis helps organizations maintain cyber resiliency and prevent devastating attacks.

Ready to see the Armis platform in action? Request a demo today.