Security Testing

The Top 10 Threat Simulation Platforms

Discover the top 10 best threat simulation platforms with features like real-time attack simulations, vulnerability assessments, and reports.

The Top 10 Threat Simulation Platforms Include:
  • 1. AttackIQ Security Optimization Platform
  • 2. CALDERA
  • 3. Cymulate
  • 4. Fortinet FortiTester
  • 5. Fortra Cobalt Strike
  • 6. Mandiant Advantage Security Validation
  • 7. Pentera
  • 8. Picus Security Attack Path Validation
  • 9. SafeBreach Breach and Attack Simulation
  • 10. XM Cyber

Threat simulation platforms have rapidly become a pivotal tool in enhancing cyber resilience and guarding against cyber threats and vulnerabilities in today’s highly digital ecosystem. They do this by offering simulated attacks and vulnerability assessments, thereby aiding organizations in understanding their existing loopholes and how prepared they are to block potential cyber threats. These platforms enable the continuous evaluation of an organization’s security posture and help to identify areas that require improvements or fortification. 

With an ever-growing landscape of cyber threats, having a robust threat simulation platform has become an imperative rather than an option. These platforms facilitate a proactive approach to cyber security and can be integrated seamlessly into existing security infrastructures, enhancing their capabilities, and offering a more robust line of defense against cyber adversaries.  

Threat simulation platforms operate by mimicking real-world attack scenarios, evaluating the effectiveness of existing security measures, and providing insights into how they can be enhanced. They also offer a platform for training personnel in handling cyber-attacks efficiently, fostering a culture of security awareness within the organization. Moreover, these platforms assist in meeting compliance requirements, helping organizations adhere to industry standards and regulations.

Choosing the right platform for you can be a complex task, given the wide range of options available. This guide aims to simplify the decision process for you by presenting our top choices of the threat simulation platforms on the market today. We have evaluated these platforms based on various parameters including their capabilities, customer feedback, and overall market presence.

AttackIQ Logo

AttackIQ’s Security Optimization Platform is designed to test and verify that security controls function as intended. The platform operates continuously and automatically, employing scenarios and evaluations throughout your security framework in line with MITRE ATT&CK. This provides real-time data about your control performance, facilitating informed adjustments to your tools, processes, and staff.

By leveraging breach and attack simulations, AttackIQ allows a comprehensive evaluation of your security technology sensors, including event logs and network security controls. This ensures that each alert is operating correctly, resulting in a thorough understanding of your entire security system’s performance. Data from these simulations assists businesses in analyzing their assets’ status and deciding on the value of their investments. The platform’s automated approach also reduces the expenses associated with manual testing, allowing for resource allocation to other business areas.

AttackIQ’s platform stands out for its deep alignment with the MITRE ATT&CK framework and its partnership with MITRE Engenuity’s Center for Threat-Informed Defense. It offers a vast library of adversary behaviors, enabling users to check their cybersecurity preparedness. Additionally, the platform aids in ensuring that zero trust architectures operate as expected and streamlines the compliance process by aligning with key frameworks like NIST 800-53. Finally, the platform can test and confirm the alignment of security controls with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), ensuring the proper handling of unclassified DoD-related data.

AttackIQ Logo
Caldera Logo

CALDERA is a cybersecurity framework developed by MITRE, focused on conducting autonomous breach-and-simulation exercises. The platform can be used for manual red-team activities or automated incident responses. Rooted in the MITRE ATT&CK framework, the system comprises two main parts. The core system includes the framework code featuring an asynchronous command-and-control server with a REST API and a web interface. The additional plugin functions as extensions to the main framework, offering increased capabilities such as agents, reporting, and specific TTPs collections.

The primary advantage of using CALDERA is its ability to streamline routine cybersecurity testing, conserving both time and resources. It provides cyber teams the means to autonomously emulate adversaries. Teams can design a specific threat profile, introduce it to a network, and identify potential vulnerabilities. This approach aids in examining defenses and training teams to detect distinct threats.

CALDERA also offers automated testing of cyber defenses, encompassing aspects like network and host defenses, logging mechanisms, analytics, alerting, and automatic responses. For manual assessments, CALDERA enhances the existing toolset for red teams, allowing integration with custom tools. Additionally, it fosters research in areas such as cyber gaming, emulation and simulation, automated cyber operations, cyber defense analytics, and modeling.

Caldera Logo
Cymulate Logo

Cymulate offers a platform designed for continuous threat exposure management, catering to both technical and business demands. The platform validates the efficacy of security controls by safely simulating threat activities in real-time environments.

Key features of the Cymulate platform include realistic testing of security architecture, aiming to reduce threat exposure. Cymulate allows for continuous and automated validation of security operations, helping to optimize incident responses and security operations. The platform supports over 120,000 attack simulations, sourced from real-world attack strategies and encompasses the entire cybersecurity kill-chain. With these simulations, users can test for threat detection and evaluate controls for effectiveness. Each threat vector is scored independently and is aggregated to provide an overall risk score based on recognized industry standards.

Cymulate’s dashboard is data-driven, offering insights into potential breach feasibility and aiding proactive risk management. This dashboard displays security control health metrics and provides a user-friendly interface for more detailed exploration. Reports produced by Cymulate are actionable, featuring risk scores, attack summaries, and optimization insights, while also offering industry benchmarking and mapping to the MITRE ATT&CK Framework. To enhance security measures, Cymulate also provides clear mitigation guidance for identified gaps, suggesting multiple remediation pathways, and integrating with various security tools to ensure targeted and effective response actions.

Cymulate Logo
Fortinet logo

FortiTester is a tool designed for enterprises and service providers aiming to ensure the security and resilience of their infrastructure. The platform focuses on continuous validation of both effectiveness and performance, evaluating an organization’s people, processes, and technology.

For assessing network performance, FortiTester offers a range of tests suitable for a variety of infrastructure components such as next-generation firewalls, load balancers, and web platforms. Notable tests include RFC2544/3511, iMIX, and protocols like HTTP/HTTPs/HTTP2. Additionally, the tool can assess performance in the public cloud to verify both architecture and throughput. Simulating breach attacks is another central function of FortiTester. It executes a comprehensive set of security tests which encompasses agent-based MITRE ATT&CK simulations, DDoS and fuzzing attacks, and CVE-based intrusions, among others. These tests reflect the most recent cyber campaigns observed by FortiGuard Labs, aiding in the identification of potential security gaps and validating the organization’s defenses.

FortiTester’s capabilities are further enhanced by a broad API that allows for automated testing and reporting. The platform also supports third-party integration, offering compatibility with systems like FortiOS, FortiManager, and FortiSIEM. It also includes features like SYSLOG and SNMP support, ensuring a well-rounded and versatile testing environment for its users.

Fortinet logo
Fortra

Cobalt Strike, part of Fortra’s cybersecurity range, is a threat emulation tool suitable for Adversary Simulations and Red Team exercises. It provides a post-exploitation agent and covert channels, replicating advanced adversary tactics within a network.

Cobalt Strike begins by collecting intelligence through its system profiler; this detects a target’s client-side attack surface. Armed with this information, users can choose from a variety of attack packages, like web drive-by attacks, or spear phishing tools. Cobalt Strike offers customization; users can adjust its scripts or introduce their own. Alterations can also be made to kits sourced from the Cobalt Strike arsenal. Multiple users can collaborate on the team server, sharing sessions, hosts, and data in real-time. After engagement, Cobalt Strike produces comprehensive reports detailing all activities. These can be exported in MS Word or PDF format. Users can also utilize Beacon—Cobalt Strike’s post-exploitation payload, transmitted over HTTP, HTTPS, or DNS. Beacon offers a Malleable C2 feature, which enables it to modify its network indicators to camouflage its activities. This includes keystroke logging, capturing screenshots, and executing PowerShell scripts.

Cobalt Strike’s capabilities can be expanded through integration with tools like Outflank Security Tooling (OST) and Core Impact. OST, an evasive red teaming toolkit, integrates with Cobalt Strike, while those who have both Core Impact and Cobalt Strike can benefit from session passing and tunneling functions between the two systems.

Fortra
Mendicant Logo

Mandiant Advantage’s Security Validation module allows users to craft a validation strategy informed by threats targeting specific industries, regions, and peer companies. Users can identify overlooked gaps, misconfigurations, and processes in need of adjustment. This enhances preparedness against cyber threats.Security teams can easily execute evaluations against their security settings using actual attack behaviors.

Security Validation enables users to access a wide range of attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), emulate those behaviors, and then use them to assess alignment with the MITRE ATT&CK framework. With this platform, businesses can obtain tangible data on their current security posture and collate evidence that underscores the efficacy of their security investments. Security Validation also integrates with Mandiant Advantage Threat Intelligence; this further streamlines security validation strategies by offering insights into the most recent and relevant TTPs. The platform automatically updates validation content, ensuring timely alignment with emerging threats. This direct integration minimizes the delay between threat identification and the validation of a system’s defense capabilities.

Deployment options for Mandiant’s Security Validation are varied, thereby catering to diverse needs. The primary cloud-based solution assists teams in developing a continuous and automated validation program, highlighting areas of concern before a potential attack occurs. For organizations specifically looking to understand their defense against ransomware, the Ransomware Defense Validation service offers insights on potential vulnerabilities to recent ransomware families. Additionally, the Managed Validation service option provides access to experts, guiding businesses in building and maintaining a security validation program tailored to their specific challenges and requirements.

Mendicant Logo
Pentera Logo

Pentera is a platform designed for comprehensive security validation and works by emulating both insider and external attacks. This enables organizations to consistently assess their security risks and ensures they are prepared for potential threats. Pentera’s approach involves scanning an organization’s external attack surface to understand its web-facing cyber defenses, offering insights into how adversaries may view potential targets.

This all-encompassing platform explores both internal and external attack surfaces to highlight genuine security vulnerabilities. Through the emulation of real-world attacks, Pentera identifies exploitable areas and highlights breach-prone gaps, all without requiring agents or playbooks. By replicating the potential effects of each security gap, it helps prioritize necessary remediations. The platform remains updated with the latest threats, as the Pentera Labs research team regularly introduces new validation tests based on current threats and hacking techniques.

Pentera’s process involves eight steps of automated security validation, from mapping an organization’s attack surface, to prioritizing remediation based on each vulnerability’s significance. Some key benefits of using Pentera include maximizing security with existing resources, reducing reliance and costs associated with third-party testing, and enhancing the productivity of cybersecurity teams.

Pentera Logo
Picus Logo

The Picus Complete Security Validation Platform offers a comprehensive view of cyber risk, allowing organizations to continuously gauge and decrease their vulnerability to threats. This platform ensures automatic validation of an organization’s cybersecurity stance, delivering round-the-clock insights to bolster resilience. A key feature of this platform is the Picus Attack Path Validation (APV). This function lets security teams automatically identify and visualize the potential paths that an evasive attacker might take if they gain initial access to an internal network.

Picus Attack Path Validation pinpoints the most direct paths an attacker could exploit, rather than inundating teams with a multitude of theoretical possibilities. It can also simulate the actions of an internal attacker, focusing on genuine risks and is supported by the Intelligent Adversary Decision Engine. Additionally, Picus APV focuses on areas in your network where numerous attack paths intersect, prioritizing the mitigation of vulnerabilities at these critical junctions. The goal is to protect against attackers seeking Domain Admin privileges, thus safeguarding all users, systems, and data.

Overall, Picus APV is highly effective in automating proactive and robust security testing to assess the effectiveness of endpoint security against lateral movements and other advanced adversary techniques. Deploying Picus is straightforward thanks to its agentless approach, requiring just a PowerShell script or executable file initiation at the Initial Access Point.

Picus Logo
SafeBreach Logo

SafeBreach offers a breach and attack simulation platform that allows teams to evaluate the performance of their security measures. By simulating breach scenarios throughout the entire cyber kill chain, the platform identifies areas where security measures are functioning correctly and spots where attacks can penetrate existing defenses. This process aids in highlighting security risks, facilitating proactive mitigation.

SafeBreach offers comprehensive insights into an organization’s security status by collecting and presenting unique security-control performance data. Users gain an understanding of their attack surface, the vulnerability of network segments, and the threat groups that pose the most significant risks. Additionally, SafeBreach delivers actionable insights on the root causes of successful breach simulations. This clarity allows teams to pinpoint security gaps, expedite remediation, and diminish potential attack vectors. Central to SafeBreach’s attack simulation is the platform’s patented Hacker’s Playbook, a database of over 24,000 attack methods. This database allows the platform to mimic hacker strategies, thereby consistently assessing the effectiveness of security controls against sophisticated attacks. The platform is regularly updated, with the research team adding new threats within 24 hours of discovery. This ensures that organizations can test against newest threats.

Finally, SafeBreach offers robust reporting features, including customizable dashboards that break down the organization’s security posture across various categories such as the MITRE ATT&CK framework and known attacks.

SafeBreach Logo
XM Cyber Logo

XM Cyber specializes in enhancing the security of hybrid cloud environments, allowing organizations to detect potential vulnerabilities across AWS, Azure, GCP, and on-premises systems. The platform provides insights into how attackers might exploit misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and identity exposures to target critical assets.

One of XM Cyber’s core features is its ability to collate various security concerns into an “attack graph”, which showcases hidden attack paths and security control gaps. Instead of navigating through extensive lists of potential threats, XM Cyber’s attack graph helps organizations to concentrate on the most pressing vulnerabilities that could compromise their operations. This focus ensures that remediation efforts are targeted, effectively reducing the overall attack surface. In addition to this, XM Cyber offers 24/7 monitoring, ensuring that new vulnerabilities emerging from a dynamic environment are swiftly identified and addressed. The platform also provides a clear view of risk exposure by analyzing an organization’s environment around the clock, highlighting high-risk points and the state of critical assets. This constant analysis aids organizations in understanding their security posture, allowing them to evaluate their security investments over time.

XM Cyber’s efficient remediation system offers step-by-step instructions to close security gaps, focusing on assets that pose the highest risk. This ensures a focused approach to strengthening security, backed by data that showcases the ongoing improvement in security posture. Additionally, the platform ensures the proper functioning and configuration of security tools, both in-cloud and on-premises, validating compliance with various standards such as ISO, NIST, and GDPR.

XM Cyber Logo
The Top 10 Threat Simulation Platforms