Businesses are more aware than ever of how cybercrime could impact their reputation and their bottom line.
Annual reports such as the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report and the Verizon Insider Threat Report continue to flag those cyberthreats and trends that should be on every organisation’s radar.
However, while knowledge is essential in understanding the cyberthreat landscape, being prepared to deal with a cybersecurity incident requires a much more comprehensive approach.
Based on three years (2016-2018) of Incident Response (IR) Plan assessments and data breach simulations conducted by Verizon for its customers, the Verizon Incident Preparedness and Response (VIPR) Report now gives organisations strategic guidance on creating effective and efficient IR Plans.
“Companies think that having an IR Plan on file means they are prepared for a cyberattack. But often these plans haven’t been touched, updated or practiced in years and are not cyber-incident-ready,” said Bryan Sartin, Executive Director, Verizon Global Security Services. “Having an out-of-date plan is just as bad as having no plan at all. IR Plans need to be treated as ‘living documents’, regularly updated, and breach scenarios practiced in order for them to be truly effective.”
John Grim from the Verizon Threat Research Advisory Center (VTRAC) and Investigative Response Team, added: “IR Plans can be kept current by including stakeholder feedback, lessons learned from breach simulation testing as well as intelligence insights on the latest cyber-tactics being used. This enables the plan to constantly re-create itself reflecting the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.”
Six typical phases for incident response
Verizon experts have identified the six typical phases every IR Plan should contain, within which key takeaways are provided in order to help organisations maximise these areas. An overview is as follows:
- Planning and preparation – This includes constructing the IR Plan to include key internal stakeholders and third parties – crucial for an effective response.
- Detection and validation – Detect and classify cybersecurity incidents by severity level and source early in the IR process.
- Containment and eradication – Focus on containing and eradicating cyber threats.
- Collection and analysis – Collect and analyse evidence organisations need to shed further light on cybersecurity incidents; helping with effective data breach containment, eradication, remediation and recovery activities.
- Remediation and recovery – Provide remediation and recovery measures; specifically, describe those actions to not only ensure operations are recovered and restored to normal but to also prevent or mitigate future incidents.
- Assessment and adjustment – Feed post-incident lessons-learned results back into the IR Plan to improve cybersecurity metrics, controls and practices.
The VIPR Report also includes five ‘Breach Simulation Kits’ consisting of real-world scenarios to provide organisations with the content to facilitate their own mock incident table-top exercises in order to practise and perfect their IR Plan with stakeholders. These scenarios include cryptojacking insider threat, a malware outbreak, cyberespionage, as well as a cloud-related cyberattack.
The complete Verizon Incident Preparedness Response Report, as well as the Breach Simulation Kits are available to download on the VIPR Report resource page.