While re-going though some Incident response topics with Security Blue Team, Cybary and LinkedIn Learning there was a common thread that they all had if they were going though NIST 800-61 (or even SANS standards) was NOT to skip the post incident activities. business is back up right? who cares? we got it all solved so post incident activities means going out to the local watering hole and having an adult beverage or six. That is what you mean right? No. not at all (although if you wanted to post post incident activities I guess this could work)
Now your might be thinking why well if your are a fan of standards/frameworks (If you are in Cyber you probably are since you do have compliance you need to meet among other things) there is this hole step that can also improve the process for next time, as it is going to happen as someone is going to have an off day and click yet another link to make your life full of fun. Also you wouldn’t hire a Pen-testing firm to come in and not review the findings and look for ways to improve the organizations security posture? You wouldn’t do Red team/purple team engagement with tools like Red Canary’s “Atomic Red Team” or MITRE Caldera would you? If not what are you really getting out of it other than doing a task to check the box for something which is not going to do anything to help you or the org (except maybe if you want to give yourself a gold star). You use these tools and skills to look at oversights, detection/alerts that are missing or not as clear. Which you would work to fix and to help your cause you could map this to ATT&CK/Shield (as we all know leaderships likes charts and frameworks are super helpful for some).
So the question is, we make time for that? why are we not making time for the post incident review? I get it. its another round table, another day potently spent going over process/procedures but if it makes your security posture better by looking at the things you would with a Pen-Test or purple teaming, why skip out on it. It’s like stomping out a fire without making sure it’s embers are fully out. In this case you don’t improve the response to a particular incident guess what happens? those embers (incident) rises into a flame and next thing you know you are dealing with a similar incident responding in the same way. Did that really work? sure you put out the big fire, but you did not ensure it was fully out because you are still getting hit in the same way you did before. now if your org is not giving you the time or capabilities to fully put out the fire, you probably do not have full management buy in into your incident response program as that should be the priority for those on the Computer Emergency Repose Team (CERT/Cyber Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) when facing an incident.
I do understand that most are working with limited business and that security is just a coast center (unless you are an MSSP or something among those lines). but how can the business really function under normal operations if you still have kindling flames of incidents (attack vectors that your IR plan/policy lacks coverage for) if you are constantly wasting time going back to “remediating” and leaving it at that. Maybe its the military and having to instruct a few classes that thought me the importance of After Action Reviews (AAR) but not doing that security incidents and then wondering why you are dealing with the same attacks over and over again fits the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result). Doubly so if the business gets effected by this time after time, you would think they would want it to be prevented to prevent any bad publicity and having to issues statements over and over again.
Taking the time to try and close the gap with post incident activities ensure senior leadership understand that this is apart of the process and ensure that it is the plan/policy. if they do not want to listen and want you to move on to other things remind them of their buy in/enforcement. If not, use ethics committees and other tools to ensure policies/plans/procedures are being enforced and allowed to be followed though to the end, the very end. At the end of the day this is to better the security posture to allow an org to keep operations up by having plans in place to avoid shutting down production due to a cyber incident that effects the CIA triad.
I know not every org is like this, but when going though videos and other training the theme that always seems to be around is “DO NOT SKIP THE POST INCIDENT ACTIVITIES” there is defiantly something up with the industry and something we need ensure we are doing. Along with doing IR exercises (if you want some gamification of IR tabletops look at Black Hills Information Security Backdoors and Breaches card game) But I’ll save that for another time.