Best Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) Tools

Defending your network infrastructure against cyber attacks is not an easy task. The attacker has an advantage over the defender. An attacker can attack from anywhere at any time. A defender would have to defend everywhere all the time, and this can be challenging.

Vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and red and blue teaming, among others have long been the tools of choice for the defender. But they suffer from two key disadvantages: They are not dynamic and resource-efficient. New vulnerabilities and attacks that exploit those vulnerabilities can arise at any time, meaning they may go undetected until the next scheduled vulnerability assessment or penetration testing service is conducted. So how do you ensure vulnerabilities and attacks are discovered as they arise?

Automation and AI technology hold the key. AI technology has the potential to upend the longstanding advantage that attackers have over defenders. Automation and AI will allow computers to take over key security tasks from humans, and then do them faster and at scale. This is where Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) technology comes into play. Gartner defines BAS technologies as tools “that allow enterprises to continually and consistently simulate the full attack cycle (including insider threats, lateral movement, and data exfiltration) against enterprise infrastructure, using software agents, virtual machines, and other means”.

BAS tools help make security testing and defense mechanisms more consistent and automated by providing continuous testing while alerting stakeholders about existing gaps in the security posture. A breach simulation can simulate malware attacks on endpoints and covert data exfiltration in your network. In this article, we’re going to review the leading BAS tools in the market. Hopefully, this will guide you in the process of choosing the right one for your business.

The Best Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) Tools

1. SafeBreach 

Figure 1.0 | Screenshot showing SafeBreach home page

SafeBreach is one of the pioneers in the breach and attack simulation solution. The company’s BAS platform enables organizations to see their overall security posture from an attacker’s perspective, and to proactively predict attacks, validate security controls and improve response efforts. SafeBreach BAS platform can simulate various breach methods used by attackers continuously, and identify breach scenarios across the network infrastructure. SafeBreach prides itself on having the largest attack playbook in the industry—24,000 attacks and counting.

The platform can be integrated with several third-party security tools such as SIEM, SOAR, workflow, and vulnerability management tools. Common use cases include threat assessment, security control validation, cloud security assessment, and risk-based vulnerability management. The platform is ideal for enterprises in any vertical or for service providers, MSPs, and technology vendors that want to offer BAS capabilities to their customers.

SafeBreach helps organizations manage their security posture using the following four-step approach:

  1. Attack The platform enables you to search and execute preconfigured attack scenarios to replicate common threats.
  2. Analyze Access powerful insight into the status of your organization’s security posture by aggregating and visualizing attack path and security-control performance data. Leverage the MITRE ATT&CK framework to understand overall organizational risk exposure.
  3. Remediate The SafeBreach platform provides actionable insights to identify security gaps and prioritize remediation efforts based on their level of risk.
  4. Report The availability of customizable dashboards and personalized reports makes it easier to communicate existing gaps and remediation priorities to the understanding of key stakeholders.

SafeBreach offers a partner program for vendors and service providers that want to incorporate BAS technology into their capabilities. Product pricing and licensing details are not available on their website, but you can contact them directly for a price quote. A free personalized online demo is available on request.

2. Picus Security

Picus Security
Figure 2.0 | Screenshot showing Picus Security home page

Picus Security is an award-winning security control validation platform, and one of the leading pioneers of BAS technology that help companies improve their cyber resilience. Picus evaluates your security controls using thousands of preconfigured attack scenarios and shows you exactly where gaps exist and how to mitigate them.

Picus Security’s key product offerings include:

  • Picus Threat Library A broad repository of threat and attack techniques such as malware, vulnerability exploit, web application attack samples, and nation-state attack scenarios designed to enable your security team to keep up with the changes in the adversarial context. Picus Threat Library content is mapped to the frameworks of MITRE ATT&CK, cyber kill chain, OWASP, Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), among others, to ensure the threat library is up-to-date at all times.
  • Picus Threat Emulation Module Picus Threat Emulation Module checks networks, web applications, endpoints, and email security controls for their readiness level for red team practices. It also serves as a bridge between your defensive capabilities and the adversarial scenarios in Picus Threat Library and links the identified gaps with the Picus Mitigation Library to speed up remediation efforts.
  • Picus Mitigation Library Picus Mitigation Library provides the security teams with the right mitigation technique and industry insights and best practices. This enables security teams to know when and how to step in to mitigate security risks and data breaches.
  • Picus Detection Analytics This module automatically queries SIEM, EDR, and other security logs to find differences in the available and expected events. It utilizes the extensive adversarial context from the Picus Threat Library to provide minimal to zero false positives.

The combined on-demand use of these products—Picus Threat Library, Picus Threat Emulation Module, Picus Mitigation Library, and Picus Detection Analytics delivers a complete cyber kill chain service that ranges from threat development to validation and mitigation. A free online demo is available on request.

3. Cymulate

Figure 3.0 | Screenshot showing Cymulate  home page

Cymulate is a SaaS-based platform that provides breach and attack simulation, continuous automated red and purple teaming service, and validation services for email gateway, web gateway, web application firewall, endpoint security, and data exfiltration (DLP), and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks. Cymulate empowers organizations to proactively protect their business-critical assets by making it easier to simulate real attacks and optimize security posture.

With just a few clicks, Cymulate can initiate thousands of machine-based attack simulations on your network to test your security controls and identify vulnerabilities, and shows you exactly where you’re exposed including guidance on how to fix it.

Key features and capabilities include:

  • The ability to test both perimeter and internal security controls, and all phases of an attack, from pre-exploitation to post-exploitation.
  • The ability to test continuously, periodically, and on-demand without interfering with business operations.
  • The ability to update continuously to deliver simulations that mirror common modern attack scenarios including those found in the wild, dark web, and sophisticated nation-state attacks.
  • The ability to provide comprehensive reports and recommendations for remediation and how to prioritize them based on exploitable vulnerabilities.

With Cymulate, organizations can better manage their security posture using the following three-step approach:

  1. Simulate Attacks Enables you to launch attacks across the entire MITRE ATT&CK framework with the flexibility to run end-to-end red team campaigns or specific attack techniques with a wide range of attack scenarios.
  2. Know Your Security Gaps This step allows you to gain visibility into your current security exposure, exploitable vulnerabilities, and other security gaps after carrying out the simulated attacks. It measures and tracks your security performance with a risk score based on proven methodologies, including NIST, CVSS V3, and Microsoft DREAD.
  3. Remediate with Actionable Insights This step allows you to optimize your security posture with clear, prescriptive guidance. The insights obtained to enable you to prioritize resources and budget based on your risk exposure level.

Cymulate BAS service can be easily deployed via the AWS marketplace. A private demo and a 14-day free trial are available on request.

4. XM Cyber

XM Cyber
Figure 4.0 | Screenshot showing XM Cyber home page

XM Cyber is a leading hybrid cloud security company that provides an award-winning Attack Path Management platform that lets organizations continuously visualize their on-prem and cloud networks from the perspective of an attacker to spot attacks before they happen. This is achieved via continuous simulated attacks. These simulations then expose real-life security gaps stemming from identified vulnerabilities, human errors, and misconfigurations.

The platform identifies an organization’s most critical assets, analyzes every potential attack path, and offers remediation options based on your risk level and its associated impact. XM Cyber helps organizations manage their security posture using the following four-step approach:

  1. Contextualize This step uncovers hidden connections between misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and overly permissive identities that compromise critical assets. It also detects lateral movement opportunities and gives you a true visualization of an attacker’s approach with graph-based modeling.
  2. Prioritize Enables you to run simulated scenarios 24/7 against the newest threats aligned with MITRE ATT&CK techniques. This allows your team to discover, understand, prioritize, and eliminate risk, and direct resources to resolve the most damaging attack paths with step-by-step remediation guidance.
  3. Resolve This step enables you to save analyst time by cutting off attack paths and eradicating key risks at the right point; allowing you to automatically feed guided remediation into your ticketing system.
  4. Improve This step supports continuous 24/7 monitoring of your hybrid network environments for new cyber risk exposures to improve your security posture. It also allows you to easily communicate to the board the impact of security investments with data that shows how your security posture is improving.

The XM Cyber comes with an intuitive dashboard that offers simplified navigation and flexible unlimited assessments of scenarios and configurations. XM Cyber does not publicly disclose its pricing on its website. Prospective customers will need to directly contact the vendor for a custom quote. A free online demo is available on request.

5. AttackIQ

Figure 5.0 | Screenshot showing AttackIQ  home page

The AttackIQ Security Optimization Platform is based on BAS technology. AttackIQ automatically tests security programs for gaps by emulating the attackers’ behavior and generates real-time performance data and mitigation strategies to improve your security posture. It is a SaaS agent-based solution that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

AttackIQ’s scenarios and assessment templates align to the MITRE ATT&CK framework and reflect up-to-date threat intelligence to help improve the defense capabilities from endpoint detection and response to next-generation firewalls to security segmentation capabilities to native internal security controls in cloud providers.

Key features and capabilities include:

  • Tests the defense capabilities that matter most to you, from endpoint detection to next-generation firewalls, and other internal and external security controls.
  • Generates granular information about control detection and prevention to improve effectiveness.
  • Recreates and evokes adversary behaviors across the modern hybrid cloud infrastructure, and validates cloud platform native security controls to optimize cloud infrastructure investments.
  • Employs the use of AI and machine-learning-based cyber defense technologies, and generates granular information about security control detection and prevention to improve effectiveness.
  • Code-based compilations of adversary behavior and thousands of scenarios are built into the AttackIQ platform.
  • Generates insightful reports about the details of a specific security assessment, and security control changes over a specified period.

AttackIQ does not provide pricing details on its website. Prospective customers would have to directly contact the vendor for a quote. A free on-demand demo and a personalized one-on-one demo are available on request.

6. CyCognito

Figure 6.0 | Screenshot showing CyCognito home page

CyCognito is a SaaS-based BAS platform that takes the attackers’ perspective in analyzing your network assets for vulnerabilities that will be most attractive to cybercriminals. It then identifies and prioritizes the critical points of exposure that attackers can most easily exploit and offers prescriptive remediation guidance. As with most SaaS applications, CyCognito requires no deployment, integration, or configuration.

CyCognito helps organizations manage their security posture using the following five-step approach:

  1. Graphs Business and Asset Relationships The CyCognito platform uses ML and a graph data model to reveal and relate all business relationships in your enterprise and cloud environments.
  2. Determines Business Context This step helps you determine business context to enable your organization to continuously understand which assets and what data belong to which departments or subsidiaries within your organization, the business processes associated with those assets, and what risks and attack paths the assets are exposed to.
  3. Tests Security at Scale CyCognito tests identifies and uncovers Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) and attack vectors that malicious actors could use to breach your most critical assets, including data exposures, misconfigurations, and even zero-day vulnerabilities.
  4. Prioritizes Risks This step identifies and prioritizes your organization’s most critical risks, making it easy for your security teams to know where to focus remediation efforts.
  5. Accelerates Remediation For every risk that’s identified, the CyCognito platform provides detailed and actionable remediation guidance and exploit intelligence so that your security teams can have a clear path forward.

CyCognito does not provide pricing details on its website but you can contact the vendor directly for a quote. However, you can sign up for a custom demo to see how the platform works.