|David Bianco's "Pyramid of Pain"|
First, if you're new to this discussion, start by reading my previous post, and then check out David's post on combining the "Kill Chain" with the Pyramid of Pain. For another look at this, check out David's Enterprise Security Monitoring presentation from BSidesAugusta - he talks about the kill chain, PoP, and getting inside the adversary's OODA loop. Pay particular attention to David's "bed of nails" slide in the presentation.
Second, I wanted to provide a synopsis of the discussion from G+. Those involved included myself, David, Jack, and Ryan Stillions...David brought him into the conversation initially because Ryan had developed a concept of "Detection Maturity Level" that overlaps with David's Pyramid concept. Nothing is available yet, and hopefully Ryan will blog on it soon.
To start off the discussion, I asked that if finding, understanding and countering TTPs causes the adversary "pain", why is there so much emphasis within the community on finding indicators? There was the thought that indicators are shared because that's what clients are looking and asking for, implying that those providing 'threat intel' services follow client requests, rather than driving them. This goes back to maturity...in order to share TTPs, organizations have to be mature enough to (a) detect and find them, and (b) understand and employ them within their infrastructure. There was another comment that indicators at the lowest levels of the PoP are focused on because there are more of them...a recent presentation at RSA 2014 mentioned "3000 indicators". From a marketing perspective, that's much better than "TTPs for one group".
Ryan followed up with a comment that focusing on the lower levels of the PoP actually inflicts pain on the analysts (re: false positives), and he used the phrase "Cost of Context Reconstruction" (Ryan, start blogging, dude!!), which refers to the "lower in the stack you operate, longer it takes to re-establish situational context, arrive at conclusions, pivot, etc."
At that point, the discussion then moved to organizational maturity and people...skills, etc. David recommended his above blog post and video, and I went off at that point to get caught up.
The question was then posed asking if attribution was important. Ryan thought that would be a great panel question, and I agree...but I also think that this is a great question to start thinking about now, not simply to mature and crystallize your thoughts, but when it is posed to a panel, there are going to be a lot of folks who are hearing it for the first time.
What the discussion then centered around at that point was that attribution can be important, depending upon the context (if you're in the intel or LE communities), but for most organizations with a maturity level that has them at the lower levels of the Pyramid, attribution is a distraction. What needs to be focused on at that point is moving further up the Pyramid and maturing the organization to the point where TTPs are understood, detected, and employed within the detection and response framework.
This then circled back to the "why", with "because that's what the client is asking for" thrown in as a possible response. David brought up the concept of "provisional attribution" during the course of an incident, meaning that "this is what we know at the moment, but we may be wrong so it's subject to change at any time".
At that point, we got back to "hey, maybe we should open this up", hence, this post. So, that's where we are at this point. So, as a means of summary:
Use the Pyramid of Pain to:
- Identify detection/skill gaps
- Determine organizational detection/response maturity (looking for a blog post from Ryan...)
- Combine with the Kill Chain to bring "pain" to the adversary
There was also the idea of actually having a panel discussion at a conference. I think that's great idea, but I also think that it's limiting...shelving the discussion until a conference means no movement, and then all of a sudden, there's a discussion that many folks are seeing for the first time, and they haven't had time to catch up. So, we'll take this back to G+ for the time being, simply because at this point, there really hasn't been any better ideas for a forum for this sort of discussion.
Addendum: The G+ post with comments can be found here.