Cyber Incident Response Tabletop Exercise

Cyber security incidents will one day happen, and how you prepare for such events is vital. Do you have a plan of action? What will you do if the worst happens to your firm? It would help if you built safeguards to guard against vulnerabilities or security flaws before they pose a major threat.
To protect the organization from external and internal attacks, organizations need to maintain a cyber security incident response and review policy. Firstly it’s crucial to set up an incident response plan (IRP) that will determine how the organization should respond when attacked. This policy helps focus efforts on areas of high risk and to determine mitigation steps for tackling insider threats. Reviews need to take place periodically so that any changes in plans can begin being made quickly.
Understood are the activities carried out during an incident response.

Cybersecurity Incident Response (IR) – Importance of Planning

Planning a successful cyber incident response process is a joint effort involving a host of people, including representatives from across all levels of the organization and external stakeholders. These incident response blueprint stakeholders from different departments may include risk management, IT, asset owners, line of business managers, and compliance officers, to name a few.

Cyber attacks can be scary and very hard to defend against. However, suppose you have a cyber incident response plan in place and perform regular tabletop exercises. In that case, it helps prepare your team for the reality of how to handle a cyber-attack. With playing out all kinds of incident response scenarios to ensure we are constantly updating our plans and policies so that when the time arrives, we will be ready to respond to cyber-attacks.

What is Cyber Incident Response Table Top Exercise?

An incident response tabletop exercise is an important form of organizational training about security incident preparedness, taking participants through the process of conducting incident simulation scenarios and providing hands-on training for participants that can then highlight flaws in incident response planning.

Cyber security incident preparedness tabletop exercises are an essential part of an organizational training strategy when it comes to getting your team members and personnel ready for an actual security incident. At this type of training session, participants will learn how to deal with a hypothetical scenario that simulates what would happen if vulnerabilities were exploited and issues arose in your organization’s infrastructure.

IR Plan to defend against Cybersecurity attack vectors

Cyberattack VectorExamples/DescriptionObjectiveProblem Identifier
MalwareVirus, worm, trojan horse,
spyware, rootkit software
Data theft, password stealer, network or system compromiseAntivirus software; intrusion detection system (IDS
PhishingDeceptive malicious email that targets organizational users and uses attachments or malicious links to plant malwareNetwork or system access; data breachUser
RansomwareExtortion (data are deleted or encrypted unless ransom is paid)Blackmail for ransom
Ransomware announcement
Denial of service (DoS)Overwhelm network device or server to prevent access or usageNetwork or system disruptionNetwork administrators via network monitoring system
Compromised, weak or stolen credentialsUser login account and passwordData breachForensic investigation
Third- and fourth-party vendorsSuppliers, cybersecurity partnersObtain competitive informationNetwork monitoring system; log management system
Device misconfigurationData at rest, data in motionGain access to dataSystem assessment
Unpatched vulnerabilitiesServers, network devices, mobile computing devicesObtain access to device and dataPatch management system
Structured Query Language (SQL) injectionsManipulate database servers to expose informationGain access to dataPenetration tester
Cross-site scriptingInject malicious code into a commentGain access to system, network and dataPenetration tester
Session hijackingIntercepted session cookiesGain access to dataUser
Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacksPublic Wi-Fi networksGain access to networkIntrusion prevention system (IPS)
Brute-force attackTrial-and-error attempts to gain access to network or systemGain access to systemLog management system

Cyber Attack Incident Response tabletop exercises for regulatory compliance

Regulatory organizations have clear cut and stricter standards to validate cyber security incident response for information and data security compliance the event of a cyber-attack.

Comparing defense controls against existing controls, the regulatory bodies mandate that all organizations to assess and test their incident response and business continuity plans readiness on a regular basis through Tabletop exercises.

Tabletop exercises are an effective way to test an organization’s response plan and ensure that all employees are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the event of a security incident.

Regulatory compliances Guidelines for cyber incident response testing in the form of:

  • Incident management
  • Cybersecurity crisis management exercises
  • Annual BCP (Business continuity management)  simulation test exercises
  • Tabletop (discussion-based) exercises
  • Simulation testing
  • Complete rehearsals
  • Simulate pre-defined breach scenarios
  • Post-incident/crisis management roles and much more

Cyber security Incident Response Tabletop Exercise Benefits

There are many reasons why tabletop exercises should become a standard component of your cyber incident response preparedness and evaluations.

We’ll tell you exactly how they can benefit you and why they are so important.

IR Tabletop Benefit #1: Tabletop Exercises Validate Incident Response Plan

Creating an incident response plan is good for your cybersecurity strategy. Still, you can’t just fire it off into the Internet’s vast sky and hope for the best. You need to test your IR plan at least once before facing the real day-to-day work of responding to any cyber incidents that might occur. For example, when there’s a valid threat about a potential breach,

The purpose of a Cybersecurity incident response tabletop exercises is to validate your existing Incident Response Plan. You can identify the plan’s strengths and weaknesses by running through different incident response scenarios with your team before an actual incident occurs. This way, you can make necessary changes to the plan to be more effective when an incident happens.

Cybersecurity incident response tabletop exercises are designed to simulate an actual crisis, and it helps in validating an organization’s IR readiness in the event of a cyber attack. By simulating a real-world incident response scenario and testing existing controls against proposed defense controls, these exercises help to validate an organization’s ability to respond effectively to a cybersecurity incident.

IR Tabletop Benefit #2: Security awareness among employees

Cybersecurity incident response tabletop exercises are essential for building a team’s critical thinking skills and helping employees understand how to combat a data breach or cyber attack. These exercises can help your team prepare for and respond to an incident more effectively.

IR Tabletop Benefit #3: Improving Security Incident response readiness

Developing incident response procedures, drill scenarios, roles, and responsibilities define incident assessment and escalation process. Such Incident response preparedness maintains stakeholder confidence in executing incident response operations as per 2 key IR frameworks:

  • The NIST Incident Response Framework
  • The ISO/IEC 27035-1:2016 information security incident management

Incident Response Tabletop 

Incident Response Table Exercise Process

What is tabletop exercise scenarios?

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