Cyber Defenses: Classifications & Taxonomies

The purpose of the Cyber Attacks section is to provide a general overview regarding cyber defenses, and to show some pragmatic ways to classify them and organize them via taxonomies.
What is a cyber defense
cyber attack: An offensive action by a malicious actor that is intended to undermine the functions of networked computers and their related resources, including unauthorized access, unapproved changes, and malicious destruction. Examples of cyber attacks include Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks.

The terms cyber defense, cyber countermeasure, and cyber threat are interrelated as follows. In the general case, a cyber defense is the aggregate of activities that are intended to eliminate or mitigate the effects of cyber threats. In the more specific case, a cyber countermeasure is a particular defense activity that is aimed to eliminate or mitigate the effects of a specific cyber attack.

For example, IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and IPS (Intrusion Protection System) products are cyber countermeasures designed to detect and protect against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cyber threats. However, in practice IDS/IPS products that detect DDoS attacks at the application layer are ineffective in thwarting DDoS attacks that employ legal protocol packets to attack their targets.

For further information about related cybersecurity terms check out the Cybersecurity FAQ.

Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.George S. Patton

Cyber Defense Classification

Cyber defenses may be classified by Temporality (static vs. dynamic) and Maneuverability (perimeter-based vs. moving target) as show in the following table.

Defense Classification

Assumptions

Includes

Temporality

Perimeter Security

Internal Security

Unprotected (open system)
N/A
[Dismissive or skeptical re Cyber Risks]
N/A
N/A
Details to be provided…
Details to be provided…
Static Perimeter-Based Security
Relatively static HW/SW configuration
[Only external cyber threats defended; HW trusted & SW distrusted]
Firewall + Anti-Virus SW
Static
Details to be provided…
Details to be provided…
Enhanced Perimeter-Based Security
All of the above
[Only external cyber threats considered; both HW & SW distrusted]
All of the above + Intrusion Detection System (IDS) / Intrusion Protection System (IPS)
Static++
Details to be provided…
Details to be provided…
Dynamic Moving Target Defense (MTD)
All of the above
[Both external & external cyber threats considered; all HW & SW assumed compromised; recognized need to deploy smart dynamic countermeasures]
All of the above
+ reactive Intrusion Protection System (IPS)
Dynamic
Details to be provided…
Details to be provided…
Coarse Grained Cyber Defense Classification via Temporality & Maneuverability

Cyber Defense Countermeasure Taxonomy

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Cyber Defenses - Other Resources

  • Cyber Defense Resources
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