Advanced Application Layer Attack Playbook

December 17, 20233 min read

Playbook Objectives:

  • To assess the preparedness and defense strategies of the organization viz a viz Advanced Application Layer Attacks
  • To identify vulnerabilities in the company’s application layer that may be exploited
  • To train IT staff and management in recognizing and mitigating potential cyber threats
  • To form an effective incident response strategy and ensure the prompt restoration of services in case of an attack.

Difficulty Level:

  • Advanced


  • The scenario revolves around Globex Corporation, a multinational company specializing in AI-based solutions. With the growth of their business around the globe, the company’s reliance on cloud-based applications and platforms has intensified. As a result, the entire organization’s operation is vulnerable to Advanced Application Layer Attacks aiming to exploit software vulnerabilities or interrupt service operations.
  • In the past few months, Globex Corporation has noticed a trend of sophisticated attacks targeting the application layer in other corporate entities which raised their concerns regarding their cyber defense capabilities.
  • The main intention of their cyber range exercise is to expose potential weaknesses in their app layer against such vicious attacks and devise effective countermeasures. Also, they aim to impart practical knowledge to their cybersecurity teams about these attacks, driving both awareness and strengthening defense capabilities.


  • Advanced Application Layer Attacks

Exercise Attack Steps:

  1. Reconnaissance: The first phase involves gathering as much information about the target – Globex Corporation. The cybersecurity team should evaluate the current security measures and the potential loopholes.
  2. Weaponization: Creation of a luring technique to gain unauthorized access to the corporation’s application layer. The team could consider creating a phishing email, malicious links, or exploiting existing software vulnerabilities.
  3. Delivery: The method applied to deliver the weapon, this could be via email or embedded in a trusted website.
  4. Exploitation: After successful delivery, the next step is to exploit the vulnerability – this could be launching an Advanced Persistent Threat(APT) or Denial of Service attacks.
  5. Installation: The payload or backdoor is to be installed without causing alarms. This involves bypassing intrusion detection.
  6. Command and Control: After breaching the system, this step involves obtaining control over the system.
  7. Actions on Objective: Achieving the attacker’s goal: this may be data exfiltration, system shutdown, or app manipulation.
  8. Analysis and Mitigation: Analysis of the attack, potential threat points, effectiveness of the past defense mechanism. Once identified, the team should devise ways to mitigate these vulnerabilities and prevent such attacks in the future.
By practicing such Advanced Application Layer Attacks, the company aims to reveal unseen vulnerabilities, track criminal behavior, and create counteractive, powerful defense strategies to nullify real-world cyber threats. This exercise is essential in the perpetually evolving cyber environment to stay one step ahead of such potential threats.