Cybersecurity Policy Development and Execution Playbook

December 16, 20234 min read

Playbook Objectives

    • To assess and enhance the readiness of the company against sophisticated cyber threats
    • To facilitate the development of a comprehensive cybersecurity policy that mitigates risks
    • To practice the execution of the cybersecurity policy in a controlled environment
    • To identify gaps in incident response strategies and improve on them
    • To train IT staff and management in recognizing and responding to cyber incidents

Difficulty Level

    • Advanced: This exercise is intended for an organization with a mature IT infrastructure and dedicated cybersecurity personnel.


    • Company Name: FinSecure Inc.
    • Industry: Financial Services
    • Background: FinSecure Inc. is a mid-sized fintech company specializing in online transactions and asset management services. Given the sensitivity of financial data and regulatory compliances like GDPR and PCI-DSS, FinSecure Inc. recognizes the dire need for a robust cybersecurity policy.
    • Story: Over the past six months, FinSecure Inc. has noticed an uptick in phishing attempts and suspicious network activities suggesting that the company might be a target for a sophisticated cyber-attack. Competitor breach analysis reveals that attackers increasingly employ tactics such as social engineering, ransomware, and persistent threats. FinSecure Inc. decides to proactively address these vulnerabilities by simulating a realistic attack scenario within a Cyber Range to stress test their current cybersecurity policy and to develop a tuned and actionable response playbook.
    • People/Characters:
      • Jane Doe, CISO of FinSecure Inc.
      • John Smith, Lead Network Engineer
      • Alice Johnson, Incident Response (IR) Team Leader
      • Cyber Attack Simulation Team (CAST)
    • Network/Systems:
      • Internal network with client data servers
      • Employee workstations (both office and remote)
      • Email servers and web application servers for online transactions
      • Backup and disaster recovery sites


    • Cybersecurity Policy Development and Execution

Exercise Attack Steps

    • Stage 1: Intelligence Gathering
      • The CAST will perform reconnaissance to gather information about FinSecure’s employees, network infrastructure, and public-facing applications.
    • Stage 2: Initial Compromise
      • A phishing campaign is launched targeting multiple departments, simulating a spear-phishing attack aimed at compromising email credentials.
    • Stage 3: Establishing Foothold
      • Upon successful credential theft, the CAST escalates privileges to gain persistent access to the FinSecure network.
    • Stage 4: Lateral Movement
      • The simulation includes the CAST leveraging the compromised credentials to access sensitive areas of the network, such as financial data stores and transaction servers.
    • Stage 5: Exfiltration Simulation
      • CAST begins simulation of data exfiltration processes, aiming to mimic the transfer of sensitive financial data out of the company’s network.
    • Stage 6: Ransomware Deployment
      • Encrypted critical systems are deployed to understand the company’s capability in handling ransomware infection and business continuity.
    • Stage 7: Incident Response Execution
      • The IR team is tasked with identifying the attack, containing it, eradicating the threat, recovering systems, and documenting the process.
    • Stage 8: Policy Development Drill
      • Based on the lessons learned, FinSecure’s cybersecurity policy is refined to address weaknesses and enhance resilience.
    • Stage 9: Execution and Review
      • A secondary, unannounced drill is conducted to test the execution of the updated policy and measure the response improvements.
    • Stage 10: Feedback and Adjustment Cycle
      • Gather feedback from participants, evaluate the efficacy of the response, and make necessary adjustments to the cybersecurity policy and training programs.