Validating and restoring defense in depth using attack graphs
October 23, 2006
Defense in depth is a common strategy that uses layers of firewalls to protect Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) subnets and other critical resources on enterprise networks. A tool named NetSPA is presented that analyzes firewall rules and vulnerabilities to construct attack graphs. These show how inside and outside attackers can progress by successively compromising exposed vulnerable hosts with the goal of reaching critical internal targets. NetSPA generates attack graphs and automatically analyzes them to produce a small set of prioritized recommendations to restore defense in depth. Field trials on networks with up to 3,400 hosts demonstrate that firewalls often do not provide defense in depth due to misconfigurations and critical unpatched vulnerabilities on hosts. In all cases, a small number of recommendations was provided to restore defense in depth. Simulations on networks with up to 50,000 hosts demonstrate that this approach scales well to enterprise-size networks.