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Utilizing the MITRE ATT&CK Framework to Minimize Cyber Threats

By John Meyer, VP, Cyber Products and Services

The rise of the remote workforce, the expansion of 5G networks and the booming expansion of new tech into our organizations make cybersecurity more important now than ever before.

While companies continue to bolster their cybersecurity posture, cybercriminals are getting smarter and constantly innovating new ways to gain access and exfiltrate critical organizational data. It appears no matter how much training is provided, the everyday user within an organization may still represent the single largest network vulnerability.

In the new landscape, shared information is constantly moving across a distributed workforce and is touching a range of different technology, from on-prem networks to multi-cloud environments and even personal devices. As a result, the traditional approach of recognizing types of attacks and blocking them at the perimeter is far from sufficient to safeguard an enterprise. The sheer volume of attacks makes identifying every single threat nearly impossible, leaving organizations vulnerable.

For government agencies who are tasked with safeguarding sensitive information, a hardened IT security posture is critical to track suspicious behavior and prevent costly data breaches from critically impacting an enterprise’s operations.

Taking a page from the cybercriminals’ playbook

For federal agencies looking to stay ahead of the evolving cyber threat environment, utilizing established resources that deploy adaptive and proven tactics can help to safeguard their networks.

One such roadmap is the Mitre ATT&CK Framework. The ATT&CK Framework is an actively curated knowledge base of industry threat intelligence which outlines common tactics, approaches and platforms used by cybercriminals The framework is globally-accessible and used as a foundation for the development of specific threat models and methodologies across all industries – private, public and the cybersecurity product and service community.

Because of its widespread use and collaborative resource sharing, the framework emphasizes how important it is for enterprises to start monitoring adversary tactics and suspicious behavior in their data as it enters, circulates and exits its networks.

As cybersecurity has shifted its focus from defending the perimeter to protecting and monitoring data from attack, stronger cyber tools have emerged influenced by the Mitre ATT&CK framework to properly identify and remove these potential cyber threats from within their network.

Stopping cybercriminals from inside your network

With cyber strategy now shifting from simply trying to prevent intruders from network penetration to also identifying and thwarting their efforts post-breach, cyber leaders are actively pursuing software tools that can counter cybercriminal tactics like data exfiltration and malware-based attacks.

These tools adhere to the principles of the ATT&CK Framework by identifying where adversaries are attacking and how. Two solutions enterprises should add to their cyber toolbox are data loss prevention (DLP) and content disarm and reconstruction (CDR). These technologies, when integrated together and used to enhance both inbound and outbound cyber posture can significantly increase the effective catch and kill rate of potential threats entering and leaving their networks. 

By actively deploying integrated DLP and CDR, enterprises can identify and mitigate potential harm from malware while ensuring the most critical enterprise data doesn’t leave in the hands of the attacker.

A major benefit of CDR is its ability to cleanse / reconstruct an infected file so that it can continue its journey to its destination in turn, increasing workflow efficiency. For example, CDR allows IT professionals to deactivate all active java script or malware in a -PDF file to produce a cleansed version of the file enabling it to reach its intended end user without disruption.  On the other hand, should cybercriminals gain access to an organization’s systems via a technology breach, DLP can help stop the exfiltration of critical data by potentially catching malicious communications or attempts to access or move data within or outside an organization’s network. When paired together with traditional and non-traditional antivirus and other cyber protection software, integrated CDR and DLP can help mitigate cyberattacks without slowing down an enterprise’s normal operational workflows.


By using technologies that can deliver integrated DLP and CDR, organizations can be proactive in efforts to reduce both their inbound and outbound cyber risk profiles. These capabilities not only help to make an organization more secure from active cyberthreats, but can also help an organization control costs by lowering their cyber liability insurance premiums.

In a world where a variety of cloud-based operations have become the norm—creating increasingly complex IT environments—deploying technologies that can keep track of the file-based data coming into your networks, moving across your networks and exiting your networks is critical to ensuring the safety of your IT environment.

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