The cyber threat landscape is ever-evolving. Adversaries ceaselessly refine tactics, devise new attack patterns, and exploit zero-day vulnerabilities. Making it progressively challenging for organisations to stay ahead of the curve. Amidst this relentless onslaught, the MITRE ATT&CK framework has become an indispensable tool for strengthening cyber resilience. Offering an all-encompassing knowledge base of adversary behaviours derived from real-world observations. In this blog article, we’ll delve into using MITRE ATT&CK for cyber resilience testing. We’ll explore Threat-Informed Defence, examine how tools like Validato empower information security teams, and discuss the role of automated cyber resilience testing in ensuring compliance with legislation like NIS2 and DORA.


MITRE ATT&CK (Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge) is a globally accessible knowledge base that systematically documents tactics and techniques employed by cyber adversaries throughout various phases of the attack lifecycle. It offers a structured framework, classifying these adversarial behaviours:

  • Tactics: Representing the adversary’s strategic goals, such as initial access, persistence, privilege escalation, data exfiltration, and more.
  • Techniques: Detailing the specific actions (the ‘how’) an adversary undertakes to achieve their tactical objectives. Examples include spear phishing attachments, exploiting vulnerabilities, or credential dumping.

MITRE ATT&CK is constantly updated, reflecting the latest threat intelligence. It serves as a common language and invaluable resource for understanding cyber threats, improving defensive strategies, and assessing the effectiveness of security controls.

Why Use MITRE ATT&CK for Cyber Resilience Testing?

Cyber resilience testing is a vital proactive measure for organisations aiming to gauge their defences against potential attacks. Let’s see why leveraging ATT&CK can take your testing to the next level:

  • Identification of Security Gaps: By emulating real-world adversary techniques outlined in MITRE ATT&CK. Security teams can pinpoint blind spots and weaknesses in their existing defences that might otherwise go unnoticed.
  • Validation of Security Controls: Resilience testing based on ATT&CK techniques helps evaluate the efficacy of security solutions. It sheds light on whether your endpoint protection (EDR), threat intelligence platforms, and other controls are capable of detecting and blocking known threats.
  • Prioritisation of Remediation: Insights gained from MITRE ATT&CK guided testing enable organisations to prioritise remediation efforts. Instead of guessing, you’ll gain clarity on critical areas needing immediate attention to bolster your defences.
  • Improved Threat Intelligence: By aligning testing activities with ATT&CK, security teams can refine their threat intelligence processes. Better understanding the tools and techniques utilised by specific threat actors.

Threat-Informed Defence: The Power of Context

A Threat-Informed Defence approach fundamentally shifts how you manage cyber resilience. Instead of reactive “whack-a-mole,” it centres on proactively understanding adversaries, prioritising countermeasures based on their most likely actions. MITRE ATT&CK is pivotal to this strategy:

  1. Threat Actor Profiling: Examine relevant industry-specific threat intelligence reports and use the ATT&CK Navigator tool to visualise the attack techniques commonly associated with threat actors targeting your sector.
  2. Mapping Vulnerabilities: Match identified threat profiles to your known system vulnerabilities, focusing on attack paths with the highest potential for success from the adversary’s perspective.
  3. Prioritised Testing: Design cyber resilience tests cantered around the ATT&CK techniques deemed most likely and impactful based on your unique threat landscape.
  4. Remediation and Continuous Improvement: Use test results to strengthen defences in areas proven vulnerable. This is an ongoing process, as threats and your systems evolve.

Cyber Resilience Testing Tools: Validato

Manually testing a myriad of MITRE ATT&CK techniques presents logistical hurdles for security teams. Tools like Validato automate cyber resilience testing, streamlining the process and providing several benefits:

  • Comprehensive Technique Coverage: Validato offers an extensive library of pre-built MITRE ATT&CK technique test cases. Making it easy for teams to simulate diverse adversarial behaviours.
  • Seamless Integration: The platform seamlessly integrates with common security solutions, enabling teams to assess the performance of their existing controls against simulated attacks.
  • Customisation and Simulation: Security teams can customise test cases, tailor them to specific threat scenarios, or even create bespoke tests to emulate targeted attack chains.
  • Actionable Reporting: Detailed reporting highlights detected attacks, missed tactics, and pinpoints security vulnerabilities. This actionable data is pivotal for improving your security posture.

Example: Validato for Threat-Informed Defence

  1. Scenario: A threat report reveals that Ransomware groups frequently manipulate administrative features in Microsoft Windows, like Powershell (ATT&CK Technique T1059.001) to execute their malware.
  2. Test: Run the Validato threat scenario – Top Ransomware Techniques – that will attempt to manipulate Powershell, as a bona fide adversary would.
  3. Detect/Prevent: Assess whether enterprise security controls detected abnormal use of Powershell and whether these attempts were blocked or not
  4. Results: The tool reports whether the simulated attack was successful, indicating gaps in your defences.

By repeatedly testing each ATT&CK technique aligned with your Threat-Informed Defence. You proactively reveal potential entry points and gain a holistic view of your cyber resilience.

Automated Cyber Resilience Testing and Regulatory Compliance (NIS2 & DORA)

In Europe, legislation like the revised Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2) and the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) are establishing stricter cyber resilience standards for various industries. These regulations promote proactive cyber resilience testing, mandating:

  • Regular Risk Assessments
  • Implementation and Testing of Technical Controls
  • Incident Response and Recovery Planning

Automated cyber resilience testing platforms like Validato support adherence to these compliance requirements:

  • Demonstrating “Due Diligence”: Detailed test reports serve as evidence to regulators of continuous cyber resilience improvement efforts.
  • Quantifying Resilience: Measurable results inform risk assessments and guide investment decisions to prioritise areas needing the most attention.
  • Improving Incident Readiness: By regularly stress-testing your security controls, you refine your incident response procedures for efficiency and effectiveness.


In the dynamic cyber threat landscape, the MITRE ATT&CK framework offers a systematic approach to building a robust cyber resilience posture. By utilising ATT&CK, security teams can move beyond reactive defence to an intelligence-led strategy. Automated cyber resilience testing tools like Validato empower teams to simulate real-world attack scenarios, identify vulnerabilities, validate security controls, and prioritise improvements to fortify their defences. In doing so, they better position themselves to meet the demands of regulatory compliance.

Remember, cyber resilience is not a destination, but a continuous journey. Let MITRE ATT&CK be your map, and automated testing your vehicle to navigate the ever-changing threat terrain.