White Hats on Offensive Against Black Hat Hackers: Report

Organizations are increasingly shifting towards a proactive approach to cybersecurity in order to address security gaps before attackers find and exploit them. This proactive stance is a response to the recognition that traditional security methods are becoming obsolete in the face of a fast-evolving threat landscape. In a report released by breach and attack simulation company Cymulate, it was noted that security leaders are moving away from the reactive pattern of buying new tech and scrambling to fix vulnerabilities after an attack has occurred.

The 2024 State of Exposure Management & Security Validation report from Cymulate highlighted the importance of organizations taking an attacker’s view to identify and address security gaps before they are exploited. The report, which gathered data from over 500 Cymulate customers, emphasized the need for businesses to continually assess the effectiveness of their security solutions and take proactive measures to limit their risk exposure.

According to Cymulate Field CTO David Kellerman, traditional security controls are no longer sufficient in today’s era of DevOps and cloud computing. He stressed the importance of continuously validating defensive security controls through targeted attack scenarios to ensure they are capable of withstanding evolving threats.

Matt Quinn, technical director for XM Cyber, echoed this sentiment, noting that organizations are moving towards a proactive approach to cybersecurity as the focus on detecting attacks as they happen is not enough. He highlighted the importance of addressing underlying vulnerabilities rather than relying solely on compensating controls to defend against cyber threats.

Callie Guenther, a cyber threat research senior manager at Critical Start, emphasized the need for organizations to anticipate potential threats and vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers. She noted that a reactive stance often leads to greater post-attack mitigation efforts and can have a significant impact on business operations.

Rob T. Lee, curriculum director at the SANS Institute, outlined several proactive measures that organizations can take to enhance their cybersecurity posture. These include adopting threat intelligence services, conducting regular penetration testing, implementing Zero Trust frameworks, and providing security awareness training for employees.

Artificial intelligence is also playing a key role in organizations’ proactive cybersecurity strategies. Matt Hillary, vice president of security and CISO of Drata, highlighted the use of AI to proactively identify critical vulnerabilities and support remediation efforts. AI can analyze vast amounts of data quickly to identify security gaps and potential risks within an organization’s network perimeter.

Elisha Riedlinger, COO of NeuShield, noted that while some organizations are proactive about implementing security solutions, many are still struggling to dedicate resources and time to proactive security measures. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing data security and implementing proactive security solutions to mitigate risks of data exfiltration.

The Cymulate report also highlighted the increasing risk of data exfiltration due to the diminishing effectiveness of traditional data loss prevention (DLP) controls. Gopi Ramamoorthy, from Symmetry Systems, pointed out that many organizations have not prioritized security around data and lack adequate visibility and controls over data in the cloud. This has led to continued incidents of data exfiltration due to gaps in data security posture.

Overall, the shift towards a proactive approach to cybersecurity reflects the growing recognition among organizations that waiting for attacks to occur before responding is no longer sufficient. By adopting proactive measures, organizations can better anticipate and address potential threats, safeguard their data, and enhance their overall security posture in the face of a rapidly evolving threat landscape.


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