How to Measure Threats in Cybersecurity Risk Management?

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Many IT experts would say that it’s impossible to manage what you can’t measure, especially in cybersecurity risk management. If you don’t have accurate data on your organization’s cybersecurity situation, you won’t be able to make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources. This article will discuss how you can measure anything in cybersecurity risk management. We’ll cover everything from threats and vulnerabilities to risks and impacts. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to quantify cybersecurity risk like a pro.

Threats and vulnerabilities are the foundation of cybersecurity risk management. You need to know what your organization is vulnerable to if you want to understand your risks. The best way to do this is by using a threat model. A threat model will help you identify the most likely threats to your organization and prioritize them accordingly.

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Once you’ve identified your threats, it’s time to assess your vulnerabilities. This can be done with various tools, including vulnerability scanners and penetration testers. These tools will help you identify the weaknesses in your systems and determine how likely they are to be exploited by attackers.

Cybersecurity risks could include but are not limited to the following aspects:

  • Backdoor
  • Denial-of-service attack
  • Direct-access attacks
  • Eavesdropping
  • Multi-vector and polymorphic attacks
  • Phishing
  • Privilege escalation
  • Reverse engineering
  • Side-channel attack
  • Social engineering
  • Spoofing
  • Tampering
  • Malware

After assessing your threats and vulnerabilities, it’s time to measure your risks. There are several different risk metrics that you can use, including the likelihood and impact of a cybersecurity incident. By understanding the risks your organization faces, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources.

Finally, it’s crucial to track the progress of your risk management program over time. This will help you ensure that your organization stays secure and that your risk posture is improving. You can use a variety of metrics to track your progress, including the number of threats identified, the number of vulnerabilities fixed, and the amount of risk reduced.

About threat models in cybersecurity

Cybersecurity risk management is an important and complicated topic, but it can be divided into three main areas: cybersecurity threat models. These are the ways you evaluate your cybersecurity risks as they come at you from different directions. You need to know what’s coming at you before you can protect yourself against it.

Share of components of cyber security risk assessments in U.S. healthcare organizations as of 2020
Share of components of cyber security risk assessments in U.S. healthcare organizations as of 2020 (Image: HIMSS / Statista)

A cybersecurity threat model is an assessment of all aspects of cybersecurity risk. This includes identifying assets, vulnerabilities, threats, impacts, and likelihoods for each asset type to prioritize security investments. The goal of these assessments is not just to identify cyber risks but also to determine which ones are most likely or have the most significant potential impact on business operations if exploited by adversaries. This information helps decision-makers understand where their efforts will be best used to improve cybersecurity.

There are many different types of cybersecurity threat models, but they all have the same goal: to help you understand and mitigate your cybersecurity risk. The most common type is the asset-based model, which classifies assets into high, medium, and low values based on their criticality to the business.

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There are many different types of cybersecurity threat models, but they all have the same goal: to help you understand and mitigate your cybersecurity risk. The most common type is the asset-based model, which classifies assets into high, medium, and low values based on their criticality to the business. Other popular models include the kill chain model and the diamond model.

Phases of intrustion kill chain threat model for cybersecurity risk management
Image: U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

The kill chain model breaks down cybersecurity risk into seven stages: reconnaissance, weaponization, delivery, exploitation, installation, command and control, and actions on objectives. The diamond model is a risk management framework that helps you prioritize cybersecurity investments by identifying four key factors: potential impact, the likelihood of an incident, time to respond, and the cost of an incident.

Cybersecurity risk metrics and measuring threats

Risk metrics are essential to cybersecurity risk management as they allow organizations to quantify and qualify the risk of a cybersecurity incident. There are many different types of risk metrics, but they can generally be divided into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative metrics are based on numbers, while qualitative metrics are based on words or feelings.

One of the most common ways to measure cybersecurity threats is by counting the number of incidents. This can be done in various ways, such as counting the number of malware infections or scanning for known vulnerabilities. However, this method has some limitations. For example, it may not consider the severity of the incidents or how often they occur.

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Another way to measure cybersecurity threats is by using vulnerability scanners. These tools scan systems for known vulnerabilities and provide information about how risky they are. However, vulnerability scanners can only identify known vulnerabilities, so they may not find all the vulnerabilities in a system.

Threat intelligence is another way to measure cybersecurity threats. Threat intelligence refers to the collection and analysis of information about cybersecurity threats. This information can be used to help organizations protect themselves against future attacks.

There are many other ways to measure cybersecurity risks, but these are the most common methods. Organizations should choose the method that best suits their needs and risk profile. By using risk metrics, organizations can better understand and manage their cybersecurity risks.

How to leverage a vulnerability scanner?

A vulnerability scanner is a tool that helps organizations identify and assess cybersecurity risks by identifying system vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanners work by scanning systems for known vulnerabilities and providing information about them, including the risk level they pose to the organization. This information can help organizations make informed decisions about best protecting their systems and data.

There are many different vulnerability scanners, each with its own features and capabilities. Choosing a scanner that meets the organization’s specific needs is vital. Some factors to consider when selecting a scanner include the type of scan (dynamic or static), the operating system(s) being scanned, the language used by the scanner, and the features offered.

Size of cyber security market worldwide in 2019 and 2030
Size of cyber security market worldwide in 2019 and 2030 (Image: NMSC / Statista)

Once a vulnerability scanner is chosen, it must be appropriately configured and used to get the most benefit from it. The scanner should be run regularly, and the results should be analyzed to identify potential risks and prioritize cybersecurity investments.

Is penetration testing a part of cybersecurity operations?

Whether you do pentesting (penetration testing) in-house, outsource human resources in this field, or put up bounties for freelancers to work on, Penetration testing is a key part of cybersecurity risk management. By simulating an attack, penetration testers can help organizations identify and fix vulnerabilities before real-world attackers exploit them. This helps organizations reduce their risk of a data breach or other cybersecurity incident.

But penetration testing is just one part of a comprehensive cybersecurity risk management program. Other important components include risk assessment, threat modeling, and incident response planning. By using these techniques, organizations can measure their cybersecurity risk and take steps to reduce it.

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Organizations that neglect to measure their cybersecurity risk are putting themselves at serious risk. Cyberattacks are becoming more common, and the damage that can be done is often significant. To protect themselves, organizations need to understand their risk and take steps to mitigate it.

Measurement is key in cybersecurity risk management. By using the right tools and techniques, organizations can better understand their risk and take the necessary steps to reduce it. They can help protect themselves from the growing threat of cyberattacks by doing so.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity risk management is a complex process, but organizations can measure their cybersecurity risk and take steps to reduce it by using the right tools and techniques. They can help protect themselves from the growing threat of cyberattacks by doing so. No matter how likely something is to occur, it is important to measure it so that steps can be taken to reduce the risk.

For example, the coronavirus has nothing to do with IT and cybersecurity. Still, good risk management accounted for pandemics even before they hit us and had business continuity plans, resiliency, and contingency plans in place. Identify all risk items, classify them, and then design a mitigation plan or choose to ignore a threat or risk knowingly.

Suppose you’re looking for a standardized practice and methodology framework. In that case, I recommend you check into the book ‘Information Security Risk Management for ISO 27001/ISO 27002’ by Alan Calder and Steve G. Watkins as a starting point for your research and studies. I’m confident there are many other good books on the subject but have a look if this one might be a good pick for you. Another helpful book might be ‘How To Measure Anything in Cybersecurity Risk,’ and to better understand that, you can watch the video below, showing an interview with the authors Douglas W. Hubbard and Richard Seiersen.


YouTube: “How To Measure Anything in Cybersecurity Risk” – Cybersecurity Canon 2017

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Bullrun. The statistics have been done by Statista. The intrusion kill chain phase chart has been done by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isakhttps://techacute.com
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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