- To ensure that the IT staff of ZenithTech, Inc. is adequately prepared to handle the complexities of patch management and the remediation of vulnerabilities identified on the company’s network.
- To assess and improve the current patch management policies and procedures for effectiveness and to reinforce the cybersecurity posture of ZenithTech effectively.
- To simulate a realistic threat scenario in which the company’s systems are exploited due to unresolved vulnerabilities, necessitating an orchestrated response for containment and mitigation.
- To provide a hands-on experience where IT personnel can practice identifying, prioritizing, and applying critical patches as well as mitigating the risks associated with system vulnerabilities.
- Intermediate to Advanced
- ZenithTech, Inc. is a high-profile fintech company that has recently experienced rapid growth, resulting in the expansion of its IT infrastructure to support new services and an increasing number of clients.
- The company’s CISO, Susan Winters, recognizing the criticality of safeguarding client data and maintaining service availability, has authorized a proactive cyber range exercise focusing on patch management and vulnerability remediation to test and improve ZenithTech’s defense mechanisms.
- The IT infrastructure at ZenithTech includes a combination of on-premise servers running various operating systems, cloud-based services, employee workstations, and a sprawling network of IoT devices. Remote staff access company resources through a VPN, which has been flagged by the security team as a potential vector for exploitation due to inconsistent patch levels.
- A recent audit by an external consultancy revealed several critical vulnerabilities across multiple systems that had not been patched in a timely manner, raising concerns about the potential for a serious security breach.
- As part of a concerted effort to address these concerns, ZenithTech has decided to execute a cyber range exercise that simulates a targeted attack leveraging both known and zero-day vulnerabilities unpatched in the network’s systems.
- Patch Management and Vulnerability Remediation
Exercise Attack Steps
- Initial Reconnaissance: Cyber range exercise begins with the simulation of attackers conducting reconnaissance, looking for unpatched systems by exploiting public information and scanning for vulnerabilities.
- Exploitation of Identified Vulnerability: Attackers find an unpatched vulnerability within the secure web server servicing the company’s main client portal and exploit it to gain unauthorized access.
- Establishing Foothold: The attackers establish a foothold on the compromised web server and escalate their privileges to admin level.
- Lateral Movement: Utilizing the high-level access gained, attackers move laterally within the network, aiming to compromise the internal database server containing sensitive client information.
- Discovery of Additional Vulnerabilities: Attackers discover additional vulnerabilities on IoT devices and other critical systems within ZenithTech’s network without automated patching procedures.
- Deployment of Payload: To demonstrate the potential damage, a simulated payload resulting in a denial-of-service (DoS) attack is deployed, affecting the online client portal.
- Detection and Analysis: ZenithTech’s security team, part of the exercise, detects the unusual traffic, and system behavior, instigating an immediate response to analyze the breach.
- Patch Management and Response: The IT team is tasked with identifying the vulnerable systems and using their patch management tools to quickly deploy updates and security patches.
- Vulnerability Remediation: The team executes a series of actions to remediate the vulnerabilities found across the network, which includes the configuration of firewalls, segmentation of compromised networks, and system hardening.
- Incident Response: Simultaneously, the cyber range exercise includes an incident response simulation requiring the team to follow the established incident response playbook to mitigate and recover from the attack.
- Post-Exercise Analysis: After the exercise, conduct a thorough review of the team’s actions, time to response, and effectiveness of remediation efforts to identify areas for improvement and refine the incident response plan accordingly.