Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) are essential concepts in the field of cybersecurity and cyber threat intelligence. They refer to the methods and approaches used by threat actors to achieve their objectives in cyberattacks. Understanding TTPs is crucial for detecting, defending against, and responding to cyber threats effectively. Here is a breakdown of each element:
Tactics are high-level, strategic goals that threat actors aim to achieve during an attack. They represent the overarching objectives of an attack. Some common cyberattack tactics include:
- Data exfiltration: Stealing sensitive data.
- Denial of Service (DoS): Overloading a system or network to make it unavailable.
- Phishing: Deceiving individuals to reveal confidential information.
- Privilege escalation: Gaining higher-level access rights within a system.
- Persistence: Maintaining long-term access to a compromised system.
Techniques are the specific methods and tools that threat actors employ to accomplish their tactics. These are more detailed and tactical than tactics. Techniques can vary significantly depending on the attacker’s goals and capabilities. Examples of cyberattack techniques include:
- Malware: Using malicious software to gain access or control over a system.
- Spear-phishing: Customized phishing attacks targeting specific individuals.
- SQL injection: Exploiting vulnerabilities in web applications to manipulate databases.
- Zero-day exploits: Leveraging undiscovered vulnerabilities in software.
- Social engineering: Manipulating individuals to reveal sensitive information.
- Water Hole attack: Attackers compromise websites that are likely to be visited by their target victims. When victims visit these websites, their devices may be infected with malware.
- Burte Force: Brute force attacks involve repeatedly trying all possible combinations of passwords or encryption keys until the correct one is found. These attacks are time-consuming but can be successful if passwords are weak.
- IoT Exploitation: Attackers target vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart cameras or thermostats, to gain access to home or corporate networks
Procedures represent the step-by-step processes or workflows that threat actors follow when conducting an attack. These are highly detailed and specific to the chosen technique and the tools involved. Procedures provide a granular understanding of how an attack is executed. Examples of procedures in cyberattacks might include:
- Malware delivery: The sequence of actions to deliver and execute malware on a victim’s system.
- Credential harvesting: The process of obtaining login credentials from compromised systems.
- Lateral movement: Techniques used to move laterally within a network to expand access.
- Data exfiltration process: Steps taken to steal and transmit data from a compromised system.
- Evasion techniques: Actions to avoid detection or analysis by security tools.
Understanding TTPs is critical for cybersecurity professionals because it allows them to:
- Detect Attacks: Recognize patterns and behaviours associated with known TTPs to identify ongoing or potential attacks.
- Develop Défense Strategies: Design security measures that specifically target the techniques and procedures used by threat actors.
- Enhance Incident Response: Respond effectively to security incidents by understanding how attackers operate and what steps they take.
- Share Threat Intelligence: Communicate threat information with other organizations and security communities to help them defend against similar attacks.
- Improve Threat Hunting: Proactively seek out signs of compromise in the network based on known TTPs.
Regularly updating and sharing information about TTPs is a fundamental aspect of cyber threat intelligence, as it helps organizations and the broader cybersecurity community stay informed about emerging threats and adapt their defences accordingly.