Systems Security – Vulnerability and Risk Assessment


Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP);

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) are a set of terms used in the field of cybersecurity to describe the methods and techniques used by attackers to carry out a cyberattack or security incident. TTPs can be thought of as the “tools” that attackers use to achieve their goals.

Impact of compliance frameworks on incident handling Compliance frameworks (GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FERPA, FISMA), reporting and notification requirements

Compliance frameworks can have a significant impact on incident handling for organizations. These frameworks provide guidelines and requirements that organizations must follow to ensure that they are meeting regulatory and legal obligations related to data protection and privacy. Some common compliance frameworks include GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FERPA, and FISMA.

One of the primary impacts of compliance frameworks on incident handling is that they often require organizations to report and notify affected individuals in the event of a security incident. For example, GDPR mandates that organizations report a data breach to the appropriate supervisory authority within 72 hours of becoming aware of it, and notify affected individuals without undue delay. Similarly, HIPAA requires covered entities to report breaches of protected health information to affected individuals, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and in some cases, the media.

Compliance frameworks may also impact the incident handling process by requiring organizations to implement specific security controls or procedures to protect sensitive data. For example, PCI-DSS mandates that organizations that process payment card information implement specific security controls, such as two-factor authentication and network segmentation. FERPA requires educational institutions to implement appropriate measures to safeguard student educational records.

Finally, compliance frameworks may impact incident handling by imposing penalties or fines on organizations that fail to comply with their requirements. For example, GDPR allows supervisory authorities to impose fines of up to 4% of an organization’s global revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater) for non-compliance.

Overall, compliance frameworks play a critical role in incident handling by providing guidelines and requirements for organizations to protect sensitive data, report incidents, and implement appropriate security controls. Failure to comply with these frameworks can result in significant penalties and reputational damage for organizations.

Explain the following: elements of cybersecurity incident response Policy, plan, and procedure elements; incident response lifecycle stages (NIST Special Publication 800-61 sections 2.3, 3.1-3.4)

Effective incident response requires a well-defined process that outlines the necessary steps to be taken in the event of a security incident. The following elements are crucial for a comprehensive cybersecurity incident response:

  1. Policy: A policy defines the overall goals, objectives, and principles of the incident response program. It sets the stage for incident response planning and implementation by providing guidance on what is expected of employees and the organization as a whole.
  2. Plan: An incident response plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the specific procedures to be followed in the event of a cybersecurity incident. It should provide detailed instructions on how to detect, contain, analyze, and recover from an incident, as well as identify key stakeholders, roles and responsibilities, and communication channels.
  3. Procedures: Incident response procedures provide detailed step-by-step instructions for executing the incident response plan. These procedures should be tailored to the organization’s specific needs and should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure their effectiveness.
  4. Incident response lifecycle stages: The NIST Special Publication 800-61 provides a framework for incident response that consists of four key stages:
  • Preparation: This stage involves developing and implementing incident response policies, plans, and procedures, as well as identifying and training incident response team members.
  • Detection and analysis: In this stage, the incident response team detects and analyzes potential security incidents, determines the scope and severity of the incident, and identifies the affected systems and data.
  • Containment, eradication, and recovery: This stage involves containing the incident to prevent further damage, eradicating the root cause of the incident, and recovering affected systems and data.
  • Post-incident activity: This stage involves documenting the incident, analyzing the incident response process, and identifying areas for improvement to enhance future incident response efforts.

By implementing these elements of cybersecurity incident response, organizations can effectively respond to and recover from security incidents, minimize damage, and prevent future incidents from occurring.

Explain vulnerability management Vulnerability identification, management, and mitigation; active and passive reconnaissance; testing (port scanning, automation)

Vulnerability management refers to the process of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and mitigating vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and network infrastructure. This process typically involves the following activities:

  1. Vulnerability identification: This involves using various tools and techniques to identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and network infrastructure. Vulnerability scanners, penetration testing, and security audits are some of the methods used to identify vulnerabilities.
  2. Vulnerability management: Once vulnerabilities are identified, they need to be managed. This involves assessing the risks associated with the vulnerabilities and prioritizing them based on their severity. The vulnerabilities with the highest risk should be addressed first.
  3. Vulnerability mitigation: After vulnerabilities have been prioritized, they need to be mitigated. This involves applying patches, updates, or other remediation measures to address the vulnerabilities. In some cases, vulnerabilities may need to be mitigated through other means, such as changing network configurations or implementing new security controls.
  4. Active and passive reconnaissance: Active reconnaissance involves using tools and techniques to actively probe an organization’s systems and network infrastructure for vulnerabilities. Passive reconnaissance involves monitoring network traffic to identify potential vulnerabilities.
  5. Testing: Port scanning and automation are some of the testing methods used to identify vulnerabilities. Port scanning involves scanning network ports to identify open ports and potential vulnerabilities. Automation tools can be used to automate the vulnerability identification and management process.

Effective vulnerability management is critical to maintaining the security and integrity of an organization’s systems and network infrastructure. By identifying, prioritizing, and mitigating vulnerabilities, organizations can reduce the risk of cyber attacks and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their critical assets.

Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks and developing strategies to mitigate or eliminate them. It involves identifying potential threats to an organization’s information systems and data, evaluating the likelihood and impact of those threats, and taking steps to minimize or eliminate their impact.

Here are some key elements of risk management:

  • Vulnerability vs. risk: A vulnerability is a weakness in a system that could be exploited to cause harm. Risk is the likelihood that a vulnerability will be exploited and the potential impact if it is. Identifying vulnerabilities is an important step in risk management, but it is not enough on its own. It is also necessary to assess the risk associated with each vulnerability and prioritize them based on the likelihood and impact of exploitation.
  • Ranking risks: Once risks have been identified, they must be prioritized based on their potential impact. This can be done using a risk matrix, which plots the likelihood of a risk occurring against its potential impact. Risks can be ranked as low, medium, high, or extremely high based on this analysis.
  • Approaches to risk management: There are different approaches to managing risk, including risk avoidance, risk reduction, risk transfer, and risk acceptance. Risk avoidance involves eliminating or avoiding the risk altogether, while risk reduction involves taking steps to minimize the impact of the risk. Risk transfer involves shifting the risk to another party, such as through insurance. Risk acceptance involves acknowledging the risk but choosing to accept it rather than taking action to mitigate it.
  • Risk mitigation strategies: There are various strategies for mitigating or reducing risk, including implementing security controls, developing incident response plans, and conducting security awareness training for employees. The specific strategy will depend on the nature of the risk and the organization’s risk tolerance.
  • Risks associated with specific types of data and data classifications: Different types of data carry different levels of risk. For example, personal data such as names, addresses, and social security numbers may be more valuable to attackers than other types of data. Data can also be classified based on its sensitivity, with higher sensitivity data requiring more stringent security measures.
  • Security assessments of IT systems: Security assessments involve evaluating the effectiveness of an organization’s information security, change management, computer operations, and information assurance processes. These assessments can help identify vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for improving security.
  • Importance of disaster recovery and business continuity planning
  • Natural and human-caused disasters,
  • Features of disaster recovery plans (DRP) and business continuity plans (BCP), backup,

Disaster recovery controls (detective, preventive, and corrective)

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are essential for organizations to minimize the impact of natural and human-caused disasters. Here’s a breakdown of each of the concepts and their importance:

Disaster recovery planning:

Disaster recovery planning (DRP) is the process of creating a plan to recover from a disaster or disruption. This plan outlines the steps and procedures necessary to restore an organization’s critical infrastructure and operations to normalcy. Some of the key features of disaster recovery plans include:

  • Identification of critical business processes and systems
  • Strategies for backup and restoration of data
  • Procedures for incident response and business continuity
  • Identification of key personnel and their responsibilities during the recovery process
  • Testing and validation of the plan

Business continuity planning:

Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process of creating a plan to ensure the continuity of critical business functions in the event of a disruption. This plan outlines the procedures necessary to maintain essential operations during and after a disaster. Some of the key features of business continuity plans include:

  • Identification of critical business functions and their dependencies
  • Procedures for incident response and continuity of operations
  • Strategies for communication and coordination with stakeholders
  • Identification of key personnel and their responsibilities during the recovery process
  • Testing and validation of the plan


The importance of disaster recovery and business continuity planning cannot be overstated. Disruptions to an organization’s operations can result in significant financial and reputational losses. A well-designed DRP and BCP can help minimize the impact of such disruptions by ensuring the availability of critical systems and operations. Additionally, compliance requirements, such as those set forth by regulatory bodies, often mandate the creation and implementation of such plans.

What is the purpose of testing and validation in disaster recovery and business continuity planning?

The purpose of testing and validation in disaster recovery and business continuity planning is to ensure that the plans and procedures are effective and reliable in the event of an actual disaster or disruption. Testing allows organizations to identify potential weaknesses or gaps in the plan and make necessary adjustments to improve the plan’s effectiveness. Validation ensures that the plan meets regulatory and compliance requirements and that it aligns with the organization’s objectives and risk tolerance.

Testing and validation should be conducted regularly to ensure that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date. This includes testing the backup and recovery systems, as well as the procedures for activating and implementing the plan. Organizations can use a variety of testing methods, including tabletop exercises, simulation exercises, and full-scale testing. The results of testing should be documented and used to refine the disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

Check out the CCST CyberSecurtiy practice tests at