What Is Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)?

LAST UPDATED: December 27, 2023

Picus Labs   By Picus Labs  •  May 23, 2023, 27 min read

In today's rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape, organizations must stay vigilant and proactive in their security measures. Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) is an innovative cybersecurity approach that utilizes automated tools to continually simulate the full attack lifecycle against an organization's infrastructure. 

By employing BAS solutions, organizations can identify vulnerabilities, prioritize remediation efforts, and improve their threat detection and mitigation capabilities. With real-time reporting and actionable insights, these solutions enable security teams to make informed decisions and adopt a threat-centric approach to cybersecurity. As a result, BAS has become an essential component of modern enterprise security best practices, helping organizations to stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

What Is Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) is a proactive security assessment approach that enables organizations to evaluate their security posture by simulating real-world cyber attacks and generating actionable results. This cutting-edge approach complements traditional assessment methods, such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and red teaming, to provide a comprehensive evaluation of an organization's security posture. By simulating various attack vectors, including network and email infiltration attacks, lateral movement, and data exfiltration, BAS solutions help organizations identify vulnerabilities and potential weaknesses in their systems before sophisticated attackers can exploit them. These simulations generate detailed reports that highlight security gaps, allowing organizations to prioritize remediation efforts based on risk level.

How Does a Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) Work?

BAS works by mimicking the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by actual cybercriminals to identify vulnerabilities and assess the effectiveness of an organization's security controls.

The BAS process typically begins with the selection of a scenario, which could be based on 

  • Emerging Threats
  • Custom-Defined Situations
  • Known Attack Patterns Leveraged in the Wild
  • Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Groups That Particularly Target Your Industry

Figure 1. Deciding on the emerging threat against which you will test your security controls with BAS.

Next, the BAS platform deploys agents (in some special cases, e.g. testing against lateral movement attacks, simulation solutions deploy not an agent but an implant that only runs in the RAM to mimic stealthy attacks) within the organization's network to mimic the behavior of an attacker. These agents attempt to infiltrate the network, exploit vulnerabilities, and move laterally to access critical assets or sensitive data.

During the simulation, the BAS platform continuously monitors the organization's security controls, including but not limited to

  • Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW), 
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), 
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS),
  • Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software, 
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR),
  • Data Leakage Prevention (DLP),
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions, 
  • Email Gateways, and

to evaluate their effectiveness in detecting, preventing and mitigating the simulated attack. The platform also collects valuable data on the attack's progress, providing the organization with insights into the potential risks and gaps in their security posture.

Upon completion of the simulation, the BAS platform generates a comprehensive report detailing the findings, including vulnerabilities discovered, security control performance, and recommendations for remediation. This information allows organizations to prioritize security improvements and better protect themselves against real cyber threats.

By offering a safe and controlled environment for cybersecurity testing, BAS enables organizations to identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by actual attackers, ultimately enhancing their overall security posture.

Why Is Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) Important?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) is important because it enables organizations to proactively assess their security posture and identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited by real cybercriminals. Through simulation of real-world attack scenarios, BAS provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of security controls and highlights areas for improvement. 

A BAS solution helps organizations 

  • prioritize security investments

  • mitigate potential risks, and 

  • minimize the likelihood of successful cyberattacks

As the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, BAS has become a crucial component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, ensuring that organizations stay one step ahead of attackers and maintain a robust defense against potential breaches.

What Are the Benefits of an Automated Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)?

There are three main benefits of a BAS solution.

  • Continuous Testing of Security Controls,

  • Integration of the MITRE ATT&CK Framework, and

  • Actionable Results and Mitigation Suggestion.

In the following sections, we offer a concise explanation of each of these three key aspects.

Continuous Testing of Security Controls

Even though traditional security practices like Red Teaming and Penetration Testing require skillful offensive security professionals to carry out security assessments against organizations’ infrastructure, such methods fall short of measuring the effectiveness of security controls because traditional security controls

  • have limited test scope,

  • are highly dependent on human operators' skill-sets,

  • are resource-intensive,

  • do not provide consistent outputs, and

  • are conducted at a single point in time.

On the other hand, Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) solutions enable organizations to identify prevention and detection weaknesses in their defense systems by continuously and proactively evaluating the effectiveness of existing security controls: 

Figure 2. Overall Prevention and Detection Results of an Arbitrary Host from the Picus Continuous Security Control Validation Platform.

These simulations can be scheduled 24/7, providing a flexible approach to assess and strengthen an organization's security posture.

Operationalizing the MITRE ATT&CK Framework

The integration of the MITRE ATT&CK framework in a BAS solution offers security professionals a valuable resource for understanding and addressing adversarial techniques. By mapping each attack technique within the framework, it enables customizable simulations targeting specific threat groups, enhancing the precision and effectiveness of security assessments. 

Figure 3. Integration of the MITRE ATT&CK Framework with Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS).

This empowers organizations to improve their threat detection, mitigation, and overall security posture.

Actionable Results and Mitigation Suggestion 

One of the most significant benefits of BAS solutions is their ability to provide actionable results and data-driven mitigation suggestions, which are essential for effective risk management and decision-making.

Detailed Insights 

BAS solutions offer detailed insights into the security posture of an organization, highlighting specific vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and gaps in security controls. This level of detail allows security teams to pinpoint the exact areas that require attention, helping them to allocate resources more efficiently.

Data-Driven Prioritization

By analyzing the simulation results, BAS solutions enable organizations to prioritize vulnerabilities based on their potential impact and exploitability. This data-driven approach ensures that the most critical threats are addressed first, minimizing the risk of a successful breach.

Contextual Mitigation Recommendations

BAS solutions provide context-aware mitigation suggestions, taking into consideration factors such as the organization's infrastructure, existing security controls, and threat landscape. These tailored recommendations guide security teams in implementing targeted remediation strategies, such as applying patches, updating configurations, or deploying new security measures, to effectively address identified weaknesses.

Reduced Time to Remediation

Through continuous simulations and real-time reporting, BAS solutions help security teams to identify and remediate vulnerabilities faster than traditional assessment methods. This reduced time to remediation minimizes the window of opportunity for attackers, increasing the organization's overall security and resilience.

By delivering actionable results and data-driven mitigation suggestions, BAS solutions empower organizations to make informed decisions and optimize their security investments, ultimately enhancing their ability to defend against evolving cyber threats.

What Types of Attacks Can Be Simulated With BAS?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) platforms are designed to simulate a wide range of attack scenarios, covering various tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) employed by cybercriminals. Some common types of attacks that can be simulated with BAS include:

  • Email Infiltration Attacks,

  • Malware and Ransomware,

  • Credential-Compromised Attacks and Insider Threats,

  • Exploitation of Known Vulnerabilities,

  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) Attack Campaigns,

  • Lateral Movement, and

  • Data Exfiltration.  

Each of the given attacks are provided with a brief explanation.

Email Infiltration Attacks

BAS platforms can simulate email infiltration attacks by sending malicious emails to specific addresses within an organization, with the primary goal of testing the email gateway's security controls. These simulations involve sending emails containing malicious attachments or links to assess the effectiveness of the organization's email filtering systems and security policies.

During the simulation, no human interaction is required or expected. The primary focus is to evaluate whether the email gateways can effectively block the malicious emails or, at the very least, remove or quarantine the malicious attachments. By identifying potential weaknesses in email gateway security and filtering mechanisms, BAS platforms enable organizations to improve their defenses against email-borne threats and reduce the risk of successful infiltration attacks.

Malware and Ransomware

BAS platforms can accurately simulate the behavior of various malware and ransomware infections, including downloader or wiper malware, stealthy infostealers or backdoors to test the effectiveness of endpoint protection solutions, threat detection mechanisms, and incident response capabilities. By simulating real-world attacks, BAS allows organizations to evaluate their ability to prevent, detect, and remediate malware infections, even as these threats continue to evolve.

By identifying potential weaknesses and gaps in their security controls, organizations can prioritize security improvements and develop more robust defenses to better protect themselves against the ever-growing landscape of malware and ransomware threats.

Credential-Compromised Attacks and Insider Threats 

BAS can simulate sophisticated credential-based attacks that leverage advanced access methods, such as Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) dumping and Local Security Authority (LSA) secrets extraction. These techniques allow attackers to obtain sensitive authentication data, bypassing typical security controls that may quickly detect and raise alerts for more common methods like brute force or spray and pray attacks. By simulating these advanced access methods, BAS platforms help organizations identify potential weaknesses in their credential protection mechanisms and enhance the security of their authentication processes.

Exploitation of Known Vulnerabilities

Breach and Attack Simulation platforms can exploit known and emerging vulnerabilities in software and systems to test an organization's patch management and vulnerability management processes. 

To ensure that customers can perform up-to-date simulations against the latest threats, including zero-day vulnerabilities, BAS solutions maintain a comprehensive and constantly updated library of exploits. Red team professionals actively monitor sources such as the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database, as well as security research findings, to identify and integrate the latest Proof-of-Concept (PoC) exploits into the threat library. By simulating attacks using both known and newly discovered vulnerabilities, BAS platforms provide organizations with valuable insights into their security posture, enabling them to address potential risks proactively and strengthen their defenses against evolving threats.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) Attack Campaigns

BAS platforms can simulate multi-stage attacks used by APT groups, such as APT42, Gamaredon, MuddyWater, and Cozy Bear (APT29), to test an organization's ability to detect, respond to, and recover from highly targeted and sophisticated threats. APT groups often employ advanced tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), including custom malware, exploitation of unpatched and critical vulnerabilities, and lateral movement techniques, to infiltrate their targets and maintain a persistent presence.

By mimicking the behavior of these notorious threat actors, BAS platforms enable organizations to gain valuable insights into their security posture and identify weaknesses in their defense strategies. These simulations can reveal potential vulnerabilities in network security, endpoint protection, and employee awareness that could be exploited by real APT groups. By understanding the tactics used by these advanced adversaries, organizations can improve their overall resilience and develop targeted defenses to protect against the evolving threat landscape posed by APTs.

Lateral Movement 

BAS platforms can simulate lateral movement attacks by incorporating reconnaissance and harvesting attack techniques within the organizational network. During the simulation, BAS platforms first perform information gathering, much like a real attacker would, using techniques including but not limited to queries on GPO and LDAP, host/IP scanning, and network enumeration, etc. This reconnaissance phase allows the platform to identify potential targets, vulnerabilities, and misconfigurations in the network.

Once the information has been harvested, the BAS platform proceeds with the lateral movement attack by leveraging the gathered data to access other endpoints, servers, or sensitive data repositories within the network. The simulation employs various access attack techniques, such as exploiting system vulnerabilities, compromised credentials, or misconfigurations, to pivot to another machine or escalate privileges.

By accurately replicating the entire attack process, from reconnaissance to lateral movement, BAS platforms provide organizations with valuable insights into potential attack paths and the effectiveness of their network segmentation and access control measures. This information enables organizations to enhance their security measures, improve network defenses, and better protect against sophisticated cyber adversaries.

Data Exfiltration

BAS can simulate different methods of data exfiltration, including the use of covert channels and traffic obfuscation techniques, to test the effectiveness of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions and monitoring capabilities. By identifying potential weaknesses in data protection strategies, organizations can better safeguard sensitive information and reduce the risk of costly data breaches.

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What Types of Security Controls Can Be Tested with Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) platforms can assess a wide range of security controls across an organization's infrastructure, helping to identify potential weaknesses and improve overall security posture. Some of the security controls that can be tested with BAS include

  • Network Security Controls,

  • Endpoint Security Controls,

  • Email Security Controls,

  • Access Control Measures,

  • Vulnerability Management Policies,

  • Data Security Controls, and

  • Incident Response Controls

Below, we provide a brief overview of each security control.

Network Security Controls 

BAS platforms can simulate attacks that target Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW), Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Web Application Firewalls (WAF), and network segmentation

For example, to test the effectiveness of an IDS solution, BAS can simulate a specific attack that generates network traffic patterns resembling known attack signatures, such as port scanning, dumping the memory of the lsass.exe process, requesting a TGT for performing a Kerberoasting attack, or attempting to exploit known vulnerabilities. This process tests the detection capabilities of the IDS and its ability to generate alerts in response to suspicious activities.

Endpoint Security Controls 

BAS can simulate malware and ransomware infections to test the effectiveness of anti-malware and antivirus solutions, Host-based Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions, and host-based firewalls. This may involve attempting to execute malicious payloads on endpoints or attempting to disable security software.

Email Security Controls 

By sending simulated phishing emails with malicious attachments or links, BAS platforms can test the organization's email filtering systems, email gateway security, spam filters, and anti-phishing measures.

Access Control Measures

BAS can attempt to bypass Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), exploit weaknesses in role-based access control (RBAC) configurations, or test the resilience of identity and access management (IAM) solutions by simulating credential-based attacks.

Vulnerability Management Policies

BAS platforms can exploit known vulnerabilities in software and systems to test the effectiveness of patch management processes, software and hardware inventory management, and vulnerability scanning solutions.

Data Security Controls 

By simulating attempts to exfiltrate sensitive data, BAS can test the effectiveness of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions, encryption technologies, and secure storage configurations. This may include simulating file transfers, database breaches, or unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Incident Response Controls

BAS can generate simulated security incidents to test the organization's Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions, log management systems, and incident response processes. This could involve creating false positive alerts, simulating a data breach, or triggering other security events to evaluate the response time and effectiveness of the incident response team.

Security Control Validation as the Foremost Use Case of Breach and Attack Simulation

Security Control Validation (SCV) has emerged as a critical use case for Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) in today's complex threat landscape. By adopting a threat-centric approach, organizations can effectively test, measure, and enhance the performance of their security controls across multiple prevention and detection layers. SCV delivers actionable insights that not only optimize tool utilization but also identify vulnerabilities within an organization's security infrastructure.

SCV offers valuable insights that enable organizations to maximize the efficiency of their security tools and pinpoint vulnerabilities within their security architecture. By simulating a wide variety of threat scenarios, such as malware, ransomware, and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) like APT28 (Fancy Bear), APT32 and FIN7, a Security Control Validation (SCV) solution facilitates both continuous and on-demand assessments, ensuring an up-to-date security score. 

This dynamic approach allows organizations to stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape and proactively address emerging threats. With SCV, organizations can achieve a more robust and resilient security posture, ready to tackle the ever-changing cybersecurity challenges they face.

Figure 4. Security Control Validation (SCV) as the Foremost Use Case of BAS.

While some BAS tools primarily focus on Attack Path Management or Attack Surface Management, SCV solutions stand out for their in-depth, threat-centric insights. In comparison to automated penetration testing tools, SCV platforms possess several distinct advantages:

  • Precision Threat Readiness Assessment,

  • Full-Spectrum Cyber Kill Chain Simulation,

  • Non-Disruptive Continuous Monitoring,

  • Granular Context through Log Analysis, 

  • Actionable, Prioritized Mitigation Suggestions,

  • Customizable Testing Scenarios, and

  • Integration with Existing Security Tools 

Below, each section is given a brief overview. 

Precision Threat Readiness Assessment

SCV platforms allow organizations to assess their defenses against specific, real-world threats such as the LockBit, Royal and BlackByte ransomware.  

By simulating these attack vectors, SCV enables organizations to prioritize remediation efforts and allocate resources efficiently, ensuring that the most critical vulnerabilities are addressed first. This targeted approach helps organizations to better understand and mitigate their unique risks.

Full-Spectrum Cyber Kill Chain Simulation

SCV platforms simulate Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) across all stages of the cyber kill chain, from initial reconnaissance to data exfiltration. This comprehensive approach enables organizations to identify and address vulnerabilities at each stage, such as weak email filtering allowing spear-phishing emails, or inadequate network segmentation enabling lateral movement. By covering the entire attack lifecycle, SCV provides a holistic and in-depth view of an organization's security posture.

Non-Disruptive Continuous Monitoring

Traditional security assessment approaches, such as red teaming and penetration testing, can disrupt business operations because they often require exceptions, like granting firewall access. After the assessment is complete, these changes need to be reversed, and security professionals must ensure they do not unintentionally create any security weaknesses in the overall posture. In contrast, Security Control Validation (SCV) platforms deliver ongoing insights into an organization's security infrastructure. This allows for regular assessments without negatively affecting productivity. Continuous monitoring helps organizations rapidly identify and address emerging vulnerabilities, maintaining a solid security posture.

Granular Context through Log Analysis

SCV platforms leverage event log analysis and other contextual data, such as network traffic patterns and user behavior, to deliver a comprehensive understanding of an organization's security infrastructure. This in-depth analysis can reveal hidden attack vectors and interdependencies between security controls, enabling organizations to address vulnerabilities more effectively. For example, SCV may identify that an organization's intrusion detection system is not properly configured, leading to the potential for undetected breaches.

Actionable and Prioritized Mitigation Suggestions

SCV solutions generate practical, prioritized recommendations for addressing identified security gaps. For instance, if an organization is found to be vulnerable to a specific type of ransomware, the SCV platform may recommend updating antivirus software, implementing a more robust backup strategy, or providing targeted employee training. These prioritized recommendations help organizations to focus their efforts on the most urgent vulnerabilities, enhancing their overall security posture.

Customizable Testing Scenarios

SCV platforms enable organizations to create tailored testing scenarios that align with their specific threat landscape, risk appetite, and compliance requirements. For example, a financial institution might configure an SCV platform to focus on testing controls against threats targeting SWIFT systems, ensuring that the validation is both targeted and relevant.

Integration with Existing Security Tools

SCV platforms seamlessly integrate with an organization's existing security tools, such as SIEM systems, endpoint protection solutions, and vulnerability scanners. This integration allows organizations to maximize the effectiveness of their security investments by providing a unified view of their security posture, simplifying management, and enabling more effective collaboration between security teams.

By using an SCV solution, organizations can better understand weaknesses and take more effective actions to enhance their overall security posture.

How Does BAS Differ From Other Types of Cybersecurity Testing?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) offers a proactive and automated cybersecurity testing approach that differs from traditional methods such as penetration testing, red teaming, and vulnerability scanning. BAS solutions focus on validating the effectiveness of existing security controls by simulating real-world attacks on an organization's systems, enabling continuous assessment and improvement of security defenses.

In this section, we are going to examine the BAS against other traditional security assessment solutions such as 

  • Red Teaming

  • Penetration Testing, and 

  • Vulnerability Scanning.

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) vs Red Teaming

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) and red teaming are both valuable methods for assessing an organization's cybersecurity posture, but they differ in several key aspects. Red teaming involves a group of ethical hackers, or "red team," simulating real-world attacks on an organization's systems to identify security weaknesses. While red teaming can provide valuable insights, it is typically a manual, resource-intensive, and time-consuming process with on-point outcome that is valid for a short period of time.

In contrast, BAS offers an automated, continuous, and scalable assessment of an organization's security controls. It enables organizations to test their defenses against a wide range of threat scenarios, including malware, ransomware, and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), without the need for human intervention. This automation allows for consistent and continuous assessments, which is a significant advantage over the point-in-time nature of red teaming exercises.

BAS also focuses on validating the effectiveness of security controls across the entire cyber kill chain, providing a comprehensive view of an organization's defenses. Red teaming, while similarly exploring the cyber kill chain, is limited by the expertise and availability of the red team members. Additionally, the automated nature of BAS enables organizations to test a larger number of systems and security controls more efficiently than red teaming.

Lastly, BAS provides quantifiable metrics that allow organizations to measure the performance of their security controls and track improvements over time. Red teaming, on the other hand, often produces qualitative results that can be more difficult to measure and compare. This distinction makes BAS a more data-driven and actionable approach to assessing an organization's cybersecurity posture.

Explore the differences between Breach and Attack Simulation(BAS) and Red Teaming in our detailed comparison article.

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) vs Penetration Testing

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) and penetration testing both serve to assess an organization's cybersecurity posture, but they differ in several key aspects. One such aspect is the level of automation and consistency provided by BAS, which enables continuous and regular assessments of an organization's security controls. In contrast, penetration testing is often manual or semi-automated, leading to potential inconsistencies in results and limited testing frequency.

Furthermore, BAS evaluates the effectiveness of security controls across the entire cyber kill chain, offering a comprehensive view of an organization's defenses. Penetration testing, on the other hand, typically focuses on specific targets or systems, which may not provide a complete assessment of the overall security posture.

While penetration testing primarily identifies vulnerabilities, BAS goes a step further by validating the effectiveness of security controls. This distinction allows organizations to prioritize remediation efforts based on actual risk, rather than simply addressing a list of vulnerabilities. Finally, the automated nature of BAS allows for greater scalability, enabling organizations to test a larger number of systems and security controls more efficiently than is possible with penetration testing.

Interested in a comprehensive comparison between pen-testing and BAS? Click here to learn more.

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) vs Vulnerability Scanning

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) and vulnerability scanning are both essential components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, but they serve different purposes and offer unique benefits. Vulnerability scanning is an automated process that identifies potential weaknesses in an organization's systems, such as outdated software, misconfigurations, or unpatched vulnerabilities. While this approach can uncover a broad range of security issues, it does not validate the effectiveness of security controls in place or simulate real-world attack scenarios.

On the other hand, BAS focuses on testing the performance of security controls by simulating various threat scenarios, including malware, ransomware, and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). This approach not only identifies potential vulnerabilities but also validates how well security controls can detect, prevent, and respond to these threats. Unlike vulnerability scanning, which provides a snapshot of an organization's security posture at a specific point in time, BAS offers continuous and automated assessments, enabling organizations to maintain an up-to-date understanding of their security posture.

Additionally, BAS covers the entire cyber kill chain, providing a more comprehensive view of an organization's defenses, whereas vulnerability scanning primarily identifies weaknesses in specific systems. BAS also delivers actionable insights and mitigation recommendations to address identified security gaps, making it a more targeted and strategic approach to improving an organization's overall security posture.

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) vs. Traditional Security Assessments 

The following table provides a concise comparison of Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) with other traditional cybersecurity assessment methods, such as Red Teaming, Penetration Testing, and Vulnerability Scanning. By examining key aspects, such as automation, assessment frequency, security control validation, and mitigation insights, this table highlights the unique advantages of BAS and illustrates why it has become an essential component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.


Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)

Penetration Testing

Red Teaming

Vulnerability Scanning

Testing Method

Automated & Continuous

Manual or Semi Automated



Testing Frequency

Continuous & On-Demand


Point-in-Time or Periodic

Periodic or On-Demand

Security Control Focus

Validation of Security Control Effectiveness

Exploiting Vulnerabilities

Breaching Defenses

Identifying Vulnerabilities

Real-World Attack Scenarios





Speed & Efficiency


Moderate to Low



Resource Intensity






Across Prevention & Detection Layers

Specific Systems/Applications


Specific Systems/Applications

Actionable Recommendations





Integration with Security Frameworks

Yes (e.g., MITRE ATT&CK)




Quantifiable Metrics





Non-Disruptive Testing


May cause disruptions

May cause disruptions

Minimal Disruptions

Traditional Approaches Don’t Provide A Complete Picture
Learn how BAS strengthens cyber resilience by answering essential questions about the risks organizations face
Download Now: "Achieving a Threat-Centric Approach with BAS"

Is It Possible for Breach and Attack Simulation Testing to Cause Damage to an Organization’s Systems or Data?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) testing is designed to be a safe and non-intrusive method for evaluating an organization's security posture. One of the key benefits of BAS is its ability to simulate attacks without exposing sensitive data, which eliminates the risk of data breaches or leaks that might concern IT professionals. Moreover, BAS tests have minimal impact on system performance, allowing organizations to carry out simulations without any disruption to their daily operations. These simulations are conducted in a controlled environment, ensuring that unintended consequences or cascading effects on other systems are avoided.

In addition, BAS solutions are built to comply with regulatory and compliance frameworks, providing organizations with the assurance that their testing activities remain compliant. The platforms also offer customizable testing parameters, enabling IT professionals to tailor simulations according to their specific environment and risk tolerance. This customization helps reduce the likelihood of any unintended impacts on the systems being tested.

Another aspect that makes BAS a trustworthy solution for IT professionals is that it does not require intrusive network scanning or firewall exceptions. This means that the existing security infrastructure remains intact and undisturbed during testing, further reinforcing the safety and non-intrusive nature of BAS.

In summary, BAS testing provides IT professionals with a safe, effective, and non-disruptive method to assess and validate their organization's security posture. By addressing potential concerns and offering a risk-free approach to improving cybersecurity defenses, BAS solutions instill confidence in IT professionals who seek a reliable and secure method for testing their security controls.

What to Consider When Choosing a Breach and Attack Simulation?

When evaluating a Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) solution, you need to consider 10 ten criteria:

  • Up-to-date Against Current and Emerging Threats

  • Threat Simulation Across the Full Attack Lifecycle

  • Validation of Enterprise Security Controls

  • Continuous and Automated Simulation

  • Detection Rule Validation

  • Threat Customization 

  • Direct and Actionable Mitigation Insights

  • Real-Time and Customized Reporting

  • Mapping to MITRE ATT&CK and Other Frameworks
  • Ease of Use and Ease of Deployment

Each criteria is provided with a brief description.

Up-to-date Against Current and Emerging Threats

Staying Up-to-date against emerging threats is essential for an effective BAS solution. The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and as a result, the threat library used by BAS should be regularly updated to keep pace with new techniques, vulnerabilities, and campaigns. 

Threat Simulation Across the Full Attack Lifecycle

This criterion is essential for a BAS solution, as it involves understanding and simulating various cyber threat techniques across all stages of the attack lifecycle, including 

  • Pre-Compromise Attacks

    • Email attacks

    • Malware download attacks

    • Vulnerability exploitation attacks

    • Web application attacks

  • Post-Compromise Attacks

    • Atomic endpoint attacks

    • Data exfiltration attacks

    • Lateral movement attacks

  • Attack Campaigns 

    • Malware attack scenarios 

    • Threat Group attack campaigns 

running by threat actors like MuddyWater and Fancy Bear APT groups.

Validation of Enterprise Security Controls

Organizations utilize numerous security controls across various networks and locations. An effective BAS solution should assess the entire security infrastructure and integrate seamlessly with a range of prevention and detection technologies, including but not limited to 

  • Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW), 

  • Web Application Firewall (WAF),

  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), 

  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS),

  • Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software,

  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR),

  • Extended detection and response (XDR), 

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP),

  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions, and

  • Email Gateways.

Continuous and Automated Simulation

BAS provides continuous, automated attack simulations, efficiently identifying weak points in security controls and monitoring changes in control configurations. This process doesn't require an operator and can detect the status of various security controls.

Detection Rule Validation

BAS helps address inefficiencies in SOC operations caused by false positive alerts. BAS validates detection rules, enabling SOC teams to evaluate and fine-tune them, making the process of designing and testing these rules more efficient and less time-consuming.

Threat Customization 

Each organization's cyber threat landscape is unique, requiring tailored threat prioritization. BAS should offer threat profiling to help SOC teams prioritize risks. BAS should also enable custom attack simulations and campaigns, allowing security teams to simulate their specific threat landscape and assess their security posture effectively.

Direct and Actionable Mitigation Insights

Threat simulations help assess security controls and identify gaps. To effectively address these gaps, a BAS solution should provide actionable mitigation content for various security controls, even for emerging threats and zero-day vulnerabilities. This enables SOC teams to swiftly develop custom mitigation strategies.

Real-Time and Customized Reporting

BAS solutions should generate assessment reports suitable for various stakeholders, including executives, SOC teams, and auditors. These reports should present real-time metrics, such as overall security score, detection rate, log collection, detection, and prevention.

Mapping to MITRE ATT&CK and Other Frameworks

An effective BAS solution should provide comprehensive support for established industry frameworks, such as the MITRE ATT&CK framework. By mapping its threat simulations and techniques to these frameworks, a BAS solution can help organizations identify their security gaps based on standardized methodologies. This alignment also enables security teams to compare their security posture against industry best practices and prioritize remediation efforts based on the most relevant and prevalent threats.

Ease of Use and Ease of Deployment

A BAS solution should be easy to deploy and use to ensure seamless integration with an organization's existing security infrastructure. The solution should have a user-friendly interface and provide clear instructions for deployment, configuration, and maintenance. Additionally, it should offer flexible deployment options, such as on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid, to accommodate different organizational needs and network architectures. An easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy solution will encourage adoption and help organizations maximize the benefits of a BAS solution.

If you are interested in learning more about how to choose a Breach and Attack Simulation, visit our “Achieving a Threat-Centric Approach with Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)” whitepaper here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the most asked questions about Breach and Attack Simulation
Can Breach and Attack Simulation Tools Be Integrated With Other Security Technologies in My Organization?
Yes, Breach and Attack Simulation tools can be integrated with other security technologies, such as SIEM, vulnerability scanners, IDS/IPS, and EPP. Integration can enhance the effectiveness of BAS by providing additional context and visibility into the security posture of the organization.
How Can I Measure the Effectiveness of My Security Controls Using Breach and Attack Simulation?
You can measure the effectiveness of security controls by simulating various attack scenarios and evaluating how your security controls respond to them. BAS can also continuously monitor and assess your security posture, identify vulnerabilities, and prioritize remediation efforts based on risk.
What Are Some Best Practices for Implementing and Managing a Breach and Attack Simulation Program?
Best practices for implementing and managing a BAS program include setting clear objectives, selecting appropriate tools, defining testing scenarios, involving key stakeholders, and prioritizing remediation efforts based on risk. It's also important to regularly review and update the BAS program to ensure its effectiveness.

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