Anticipate Likely Attacks and Build Your Cyber Defense With Tenable One
With broad exposure coverage spanning IT, the cloud, containers, web apps and identity platforms, paired with Tenable Research threat intelligence and data science, you can focus on actionable steps to proactively prevent likely attacks and accurately communicate cyber risk to make more informed business decisions.
Cyber Defender Strategies: What Your Vulnerability Assessment Practices Reveal
Threat intelligence and cybersecurity in-depth research are the key to understanding what threat actors do in the real world, but historically, little of this research has focused on what cybersecurity teams do in response to increased data breaches.
In this guide, Tenable researchers use machine learning to analyze real-world vulnerability assessments and break them down across four distinct strategies or styles organizations commonly use for cyber defense.
This guide takes a deeper dive into these four styles with a breakdown of what each looks like and how they align with cybersecurity maturity posture:
- Minimalist executes bare minimum vulnerability assessments as required by compliance mandates.
- Surveyor conducts frequent broad-scope vulnerability assessments, but focuses primarily on remote vulnerabilities.
- Investigator executes vulnerability assessments with a high maturity, but only assesses selective assets.
- Diligent conducts comprehensive vulnerability assessments, tailoring scans as required by use case, but only authenticates selectively.
Download this guide to learn more about how your team’s current vulnerability assessment processes align with these styles and what you can do to adopt more mature cyber-defender strategies.
Cyber Defense Insights
Simplify CIS Critical Security Controls Implementation
CIS Controls for Effective Cyber Defense (CSC) is a set of information security control recommendations the Center for Internet Security (CIS) has developed and manages These controls represent industry-recognized best practices for cyber defense and help organizations develop effective and mature cyber defense policies to protect enterprises from some of the world’s most dangerous cyber crimes.
Traditionally, many security teams managed controls and frameworks using spreadsheets or manually tracking them on paper. However, as the attack surface expands and regulations become increasingly detailed and complex, it’s no longer an effective way to manage a cybersecurity and defense program. Alternatives, like Tenable Security Center, for example, provide an automated solution to these tedious, time-consuming, and often error-prone manual tasks. By using Tenable Security Center to implement and monitor CIS Critical Security Controls, you can advance your security practices with broader coverage, continuous visibility and control mapping.
Cyber Attackers in the Lead? Here’s How to Win the Race
The gap continues to widen between cyberattacker tactics and the cyber defense strategies organizations employ to identify and stop them. That’s especially prevalent in the time between when a public exploit for a vulnerability is published and when organizations respond and actively address the potential attack vector.
When attackers successfully breach a system undetected, they immediately gain an advantage over the defenders trying to stop them. The longer they go unnoticed, the easier it is to maintain that advantage. During this window of opportunity, your enterprise is exposed. Each time an attacker discovers a new security weakness, the greater that gap expands. Think of it as a race. Each time the threat actor exploits a vulnerability, the attacker paces ahead, leaving cyber defenders trailing behind. As long as the attacker stays in the lead, the greater the window of opportunity to strike with impunity.
Check out this Tenable Research Report to learn more about:
- What researchers discovered about the top 50 most prevalent vulnerabilities
- How to reduce the median seven-day window of opportunity most attackers have
- How you can leverage real-world attacks for faster remediation
- How to mitigate an attacker’s first-move advantage
Protecting Federal Government Infrastructure and Data From Cyber Attacks
Cybersecurity is challenging for all organizations, but government agencies face a myriad of factors that make their cyber defense work that much harder. In addition to discovering and mitigating a growing list of security weaknesses, these teams also face strict compliance and regulatory mandates, work with uncertain budgets, and experience significant skills gaps and hiring shortages for critical cyber defense roles.
Attackers are well aware government cybersecurity professionals are playing a constantly changing game of roulette, spinning the wheel, trying to predict where the next breach might land. In 2022 alone, more than 140 significant cybersecurity events directly impacted federal agencies and their partners, demonstrating that attackers are having increasingly better odds and successfully managing their nefarious tactics.
To more effectively thwart these actions, the federal government has called upon agencies and their partners to take a closer look at their attack surfaces and adopt a zero-trust security model to limit potential attack vectors. Download this ebook to learn more about the many pressures these agencies face with recommendations on how to overcome them by utilizing an exposure management platform that helps them protect sensitive data and reduce risk.
Tenable Community: Your Go-To Resource for Cyber Defense
If you have questions about cyber defense, join Tenable Community to connect with others who have similar interests and those who want to learn more about exposure management or how to mature cyber defense programs.
Here are some sample conversations happening now:
CIS Control 17: Implement a Security Awareness and Training Program
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Tenable Security Center and CIS CAS set a foundation for your journey through CIS implementation groups. The controls are part of IG2 and IG3, and provide next steps and focus for risk management.Read More
CIS Guide Outlines How To Attain an Affordable Cyber Hygiene Foundation
When tasked with beefing up their cybersecurity foundation, organizations often struggle with basic questions. What steps should we take first? Which products will we need? How much money should we plan to spend?Read More
Understanding CIS Critical Security Controls
CIS Controls are a prioritized set of cybersecurity controls developed by a community of experts to help organizations minimize cyberattack risk. The controls are based on common and effective security practices and align with leading security frameworks such as NIST Cybersecurity Framework and ISO/IEC 27001.
There are many benefits to implementing the CIS Controls, including:
- Reduced risk of attacks with mitigation recommendations for the most common and dangerous cyber threats.
- Improved compliance aligned with leading security frameworks.
- Increased efficiency and prioritization to help your teams focus security resources on the most important controls first.
- Reduced costs associated with cyber defense by preventing and detecting potential breaches early on.
The controls are divided into three groups:
- Group 1: Basic Hygiene: The foundation of a strong cyber defense program.
- Group 2: Foundational Controls: Build on basic hygiene controls and provide additional protection against cyberattacks.
- Group 3: Organizational Controls: Help with cyber defense management and to improve overall security posture.
The best approach to implementing CIS Controls will vary depending on the size and complexity of your organization and other factors like your industry, budget and resources. However, there are some common implementation strategies applicable to all organizations. These best practices include:
- Phased implementation, starting with the most important controls first.
- Top-down implementation with senior management setting the tone and supporting the implementation process.
- Bottom-up implementation, with employees at all levels contributing to the implementation process.
By understanding and implementing the CIS Controls, you can reduce cyberattack risk, improve compliance posture, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
An exposure management solution like Tenable can help your teams better understand and implement CIS Controls by providing you with comprehensive asset visibility, vulnerability management, risk assessment and compliance reporting capabilities.
- Identify and inventory all assets to understand attack surface scope and to identify assets that need protection.
- Identify and remediate vulnerabilities across all assets to reduce the risk of attacker exploitation.
- Assess cyberattack risk based on asset inventory, vulnerability data and threat intelligence to prioritize CIS control implementation.
- Demonstrate CIS compliance to meet regulatory requirements and reduce risk of fines and other penalties.
7 Steps to Build an Effective Cyber Defense Strategy
Cyberattacks are a constant threat. Organizations of all sizes and industries are at risk, and the consequences of a successful attack can be devastating. That's why it's more important than ever to develop a comprehensive cyber defense strategy.
But what exactly is a cyber defense strategy? Think of it as a plan that outlines how your organization will protect itself from cyber events. A mature cyber defense strategy should include multiple measures such as vulnerability management, incident response and security awareness training.
While each organization will have a unique approach to developing an appropriate and effective cybersecurity attack and defense strategy, here are 7 steps you can take to build your cyber defense strategy:
Assess your current security posture
Identify assets, vulnerabilities and threats. Use a variety of tools and techniques to assess your posture, such as vulnerability scanners, penetration tests and risk assessments.
Define your objectives
What are your most critical assets? What do you need to protect first? What is your organization’s risk tolerance level? What are your compliance requirements? These objectives will help define the strategy you use to achieve them.
Develop a risk management plan
Identify, assess and manage risks.
Implement security controls
Protect your assets from cyberattacks, for example, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, vulnerability management and access control systems.
Monitor systems and networks
Look for suspicious or unusual activities using tools such as security information and event management (SIEM) systems and intrusion detection systems.
Respond to incidents
Use your incident response plan that includes procedures for containment, eradication, recovery and lessons learned.
Educate your employees
Ensure employees understand cyber defense best practices through training programs, awareness campaigns and phishing and other simulations.
Cyber defense is an ongoing process, so plan to regularly review and update your strategy, especially when your environment changes.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cyber Defense
Are you new to cyber defense? Do you have questions but not sure where to start? Check out this FAQ for some common cyber defense questions and answers.
What is cyber defense?
Cyber defense is the practice of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorized access or criminal activities. It encompasses a range of technologies and practices, including:
- Vulnerability management: Identifying and remediating security vulnerabilities in software and hardware.
- Network security: Protecting networks from unauthorized access and malicious attacks.
- Endpoint security: Protecting individual devices, such as computers and mobile devices, from malware and other threats.
- Data security: Protecting data from unauthorized access, disclosure, modification or destruction.
- Identity and access management: Controlling who has access to which resources.
Why is cyber defense important?
Cyber defense is important because it helps protect organizations and individuals from a range of cyber threats, including:
- Data breaches: Unauthorized access to and theft of sensitive data, such as customer information, financial data or intellectual property.
- Malware infections: Malicious software that can damage or disable systems and networks.
- Ransomware: Malware that encrypts data and demands a ransom payment to decrypt it.
- Denial-of-service: Attacks that overwhelm a system or network with traffic, making it unavailable to users.
- Phishing attacks: Emails or other communications that try to trick users into revealing sensitive information like credentials or clicking on malicious links.
What are the three principles of cyber defense?
The three principles of cyber defense are:
- Prevent cyberattacks from happening.
- Detect cyberattacks as early as possible.
- Respond to attacks quickly and effectively to minimize damage.
What is active cyber defense?
Active cyber defense is the practice of taking steps to prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks before they cause damage such as:
- Penetration testing: Simulating cyberattacks to identify vulnerabilities and improve security.
- Threat hunting: Actively searching for malicious activity on networks and systems.
- Incident response: Developing and practicing plans to respond to cyberattacks.
What is passive cyber defense?
Passive cyber defense is the practice of implementing security measures to protect networks and systems from cyberattacks such as:
- Installing security software and configuring it properly, for example, firewalls and antivirus software.
- Applying security patches to software and hardware to fix known vulnerabilities.
- Implementing security policies and procedures to educate employees about cybersecurity and reduce the risk of human error.
What are some cyber defenses?
Some common cyber defenses include:
- Firewalls: Monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic to block unauthorized access.
- Intrusion detection systems: Monitor network traffic for suspicious activity and alert administrators to potential threats.
- Antivirus software: Scans computers and networks for malware and removes if found.
- Data encryption scrambles data so unauthorized users can’t read it.
- Identity and access management: Controls who has access to which resources.
Are cybersecurity and cyber defense the same?
Cybersecurity and cyber defense are similar, but not exactly the same. Cybersecurity is a broader field of protecting systems, networks and data from cyber threats. Cyber defense is the specific set of technologies and practices to implement these measures. Cybersecurity is a more holistic approach with defensive and offensive measures. Cyber defense focuses on protecting systems, networks and data from attacks.
What’s the role of cyber defense in cybersecurity?
Cyber defense plays a critical role in cybersecurity. It is the first line of defense against cyberattacks. Cyber defense measures can prevent attacks from happening, detect attacks early and minimize damage attacks cause.
What are some cyber defense best practices?
Some cyber defense best practices include:
- Keep software and hardware up to date. Apply security patches to software and hardware as soon as they are available.
- Use long and complex passwords for all of your accounts, and enable multi-factor authentication when possible.
- Be careful about which emails you open and which links you click on. Phishing is a common way for attackers to gain access to your systems and data.
- Educate your employees about cyber defense. They are one of the biggest security risks to your organization. Talk to your employees about:
- How to identify and avoid phishing attacks
- How to create strong passwords and use multi-factor authentication
- How to keep devices secure
- What to do if they think they have been compromised
- Have a cybersecurity plan that outlines how you will prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks. The plan should include procedures for incident response, data backup and recovery and employee training.
- Monitor systems and networks for suspicious activity using a variety of tools and services, such as intrusion detection systems, security information and event management (SIEM) systems and managed security service providers (MSSPs).
- Test your security regularly to identify and fix vulnerabilities by conducting penetration tests, vulnerability assessments and red-teaming exercises.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest cyber threats. Follow cybersecurity news and blogs like Tenable Research, attend conferences and workshops, and work with cybersecurity professionals.
Does my organization need cyber defense?
Yes, every organization needs cyber defense because no organization is immune to cyberattacks, which can cause significant financial damage, disrupt operations and damage your reputation.
What are some examples of cyber defense careers?
Some examples of cyber defense careers include:
- Security analyst: Monitor systems and networks for suspicious activity, investigate security incidents and develop and implement security solutions.
- Network security engineer: Design, implement and maintain network security solutions.
- Information security engineer: Develop, implement and maintain security solutions for information systems.
- Security architect: Design and implement overall security strategies.
- Chief information security officer (CISO): Responsible for the overall security of information systems.
Why is cyber defense more difficult than cyber offense?
Cyber defense is harder than cyber offense because defenders have to protect against all potential attacks, while attackers only need to find one vulnerability to succeed. Additionally, cyber defenders are often limited in available resources, while cyberattackers often pool resources and target the weakest defenders.
Which frameworks can help with cyber defense?
There are several frameworks that can help with cyber defense:
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF): A voluntary framework that provides a set of standards and best practices for improving cybersecurity posture.
- ISO/IEC 27001: An international standard that provides a set of requirements for information security management systems.
- COBIT 5 for Information Security: A framework that provides organizations with a set of good practices for information security management.
How can Tenable help me with cyber defense?
Tenable automated cyber defense solutions can help your teams identify, assess and remediate vulnerabilities across your IT environment:
- Improve your security posture by identifying and remediating vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.
- Reduce the risk of data breaches and other cyberattacks by identifying and remediating vulnerabilities attackers might exploit.
- Comply with security regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR.
Cyber Defense Blog Bytes
ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) tools will revolutionize developer productivity, but each new AI tool increases AI security and compliance risk. It’s even further complicated because there isn’t yet clear insight into what all of these emerging risks look like or how to mitigate them. Explore this blog to take a closer look at what a McKinsey survey says about how AI will impact development and the types of security risk that come along with those benefits.
Managing frameworks like MITRE ATT&CK is challenging and the more complex the requirements, the harder it can be to ensure compliance. That’s because teams are often left guessing which controls they should implement and many don’t have a tiered-implementation strategy to guide progress. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency’s (CISA) new Decider tool can help.
Local, state and federal government agencies are responsible for ensuring their systems and data are protected from potential nation-state attacks. As such, the government has called on its agencies to shore up defenses with new standards that set baseline standards. The standards include a range of cyber defense tactics from planning and preparation for cyber events to developing a patch management system. Check out this blog to learn more about how government agencies and their partners can make systems more secure.
Cyber Defense On Demand
How to Securely Unify OT & IT with an Air-Gapped Architecture
Attack surfaces are increasingly complex, especially those that operate in IT, cloud services and operational technology (OT) environments. While air-gapping was once the answer to keep OT devices out of attackers’ crosshairs, increased connectivity and use of cloud services quickly negate this once effective strategy, especially for organizations that want to use OT data for analytics and more effective business decision-making. So, how can you overcome common converged IT/OT security challenges to make the most of all your data?
In this on-demand webinar, learn more about:
- Benefits and disadvantages of OT/IT convergence
- OT data transfer best practices
- How to unify your OT/IT security strategies
- How to centralize OT data monitoring within your IT environment
Proactively Predict and Address Cyber Risk to Stay Ahead of Attackers
One of the most important aspects of cyber defense is vulnerability management. Tenable One is a leading vulnerability management platform that can help your organization identify, assess and remediate vulnerabilities across your IT environments. Tenable One provides a comprehensive view of your vulnerability landscape, including security weaknesses, misconfigurations and other issues in your on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments:
Comprehensive vulnerability coverage
Coverage for a wide range of assets, including servers, workstations, mobile devices, web applications and cloud infrastructure.
Prioritization based on risk and business impact, helping you remediate the most critical vulnerabilities first.
Continuously identify new and emerging vulnerabilities.
Integrations with other security tools, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and security information and event management (SIEM) systems so you can automate your security workflows and improve your overall security posture.
Manage vulnerabilities in even the largest and most complex IT environments.