Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tactics Playbook

December 17, 20233 min read

Playbook Objectives:

  • To prepare and evaluate the company’s Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tactics against simulated cyber threats.
  • Improve awareness and understanding of DLP strategies among the staff.
  • Enhance the capacity of the company’s IT personnel in the management of DLP tools.
  • Test the effectiveness of the DLP tools in preventing theft and loss of data.

Difficulty level:

  • Intermediate to Advanced
  • Scenario: Ziltech, a leading software development company, is deeply concerned about the rising instances of data breaches affecting businesses globally. The company understands that their key assets, the proprietary software codes, employee information, and customer details are attractive targets for cyber attackers. Recently, its competitor faced a major cyber attack leading to severe data loss. This spurred Ziltech’s Board of Directors and the IT team to conduct a more rigorous review of their data security measures.
  • Given these concerns, they decide to conduct a Cyber Range exercise focusing on their Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tactics to detect possible vulnerabilities and evaluate the effectiveness of the defenses in place. The exercise simulates a scenario where an insider collaborator releases malware into Ziltech’s network intending to encrypt valuable data and extract it without detection.
  • Ziltech aims to become more vigilant and resilient against potential cyber threats and ensure maximum data security while preserving their competitive edge in the industry. Therefore, the main objective of this exercise is to test the efficiency of their DLP solutions and further refine it as needed.


  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Exercise Attack Steps:

  1. Preparation:
    • The IT team prepares a safe and controlled environment to simulate the attack.
    • They create a baseline of normal network activity to identify any deviations during the attack scenario.
    • They back up all data to prevent actual loss.
  2. Initial Breach:
    • An insider collaborator (simulated) introduces a piece of malware into the network, bypassing the firewall, which goes undetected by antivirus software.
  3. Lateral movement:
    • The introduced malware starts slowly spreading across network, encrypting files restrictively to go unnoticed.
  4. Command and Control:
    • The malware tries to establish a connection with an external command and control server for further instructions.
  5. Data Exfiltration:
    • The collaborator attempts to transport encrypted data outside the network for exploitation.
  6. Detection:
    • DLP tools in place should identify unusual data movements and flag it as potential data breaches.
  7. Response:
    • On the detection of this threat, the IT team will isolate the affected systems and contain the breach.
  8. Analysis:
    • The team will analyze the breach, determine potential improvements and refine DLP strategies accordingly.
Through this exercise, Ziltech understands their vulnerabilities, fortifies their defenses by improving their DLP strategies, and prepares the workforce to be proactive in treating future threats. They also formulate an enhanced DLP plan using their insights from the cyber range exercise.