What Are the Different Phases in a Successful Cyber Kill Chain?

A cyber kill chain also referred to as a cyberattack chain, is a way to understand and predict the various stages of a cyberattack in an organization’s IT environment. By understanding how the attack-chain model works, security teams can put technologies and strategies in place to contain or kill the attack at various stages. Therefore, allowing the security team to protect their entire IT ecosystem better. This article will discuss the cyber kill chain and the different phases in the cyber kill chain, among other things.

What Is Cyber Kill Chain?

It is a security model which outlines the different phases of a cyberattack. A cyber kill chain covers the various stages of a network breach. This includes everything from early planning and spying on the final goal of the hacker. That said, getting an understanding of the different stages of the attack allows organizations to prepare tactics and strategies to detect and prevent malicious intruders. The cyber kill chain helps prepare the organization for all common threats such as network breaches, data thefts, ransomware attacks, and advanced persistent attacks.

What Are the 8 Phases In Cyber Kill Chain?

What Are the 8 Phases In Cyber Kill Chain?
The cyber kill chain consists of several core stages, from reconnaissance to lateral movement to data exfiltration. The following are the different kill chain phases that can help the organization prepare strategies and tactics to prevent their network and system from malicious cyberattacks.

1. Reconnaissance

The first of the eight kill chain phases is reconnaissance. In this stage, attackers lookout for victims and research the different security vulnerabilities. Attackers try to locate sensitive data that you might have, where you store it, who access the data regularly and how they can steal it.

2. Intrusion

Once the attacker has completed their research and located the victims, they are now able to get into the organizational system in this phase. This is often done by leveraging malware and other security vulnerabilities.

3. Exploitation

In this kill chain phase, the attacker delivers malicious code into the victim’s system to get a better hold on their data and other sensitive information.

4. Privilege Escalation

For getting access to more data and permissions on the victim’s system, attackers are often looking for more privileges. To do so, they are required to escalate their privileges often to the admin level.

5. Lateral Movement

Once the attacker is able to get into the system, they can move laterally to other systems available on the network to gain more leverage and access to other sensitive information. This provides them with higher permissions, greater access to the system, and more data.

6. Anti-forensics

Attackers have to cover their track for successfully pulling off a cyberattack. Therefore, this is the phase, wherein the attacker lays false trails to misguide investigators. Moreover, they also clear logs to confuse the forensics team.

7. Denial of Service

In this phase, attackers disrupt the normal access for systems and users. This is done, so as to ensure the attack is not tracked, monitored, and blocked.

8. Exfiltration

This is the last of the various kill chain phases. In this stage, the attacker tries to get the data out of the compromised system.

Why Is Cyber Kill Chain Used?

The organization uses the cyber kill chain to get a better understanding of the process of cyberattacks. Thus, allowing the security teams to understand every point in the chain of events leads to cyberattacks. Using this information, security teams can focus on breaking the cyber chain and mitigating the damages.

What Is Nextgen Kill Chain Framework – Mitre Attack?

The Mitre Attack is a curated knowledge base for the cyber adversary model that reflects on various phases of the adversary’s attack lifecycle and the different platforms they tend to attack. The techniques and tactics in the model offer a common taxonomy of individual adversary actions which are understood by both defensive and offensive sides of cyberattacks.

About Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst Program

The Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) program is designed and developed in collaboration with cybersecurity and threat intelligence experts across the globe. The program is designed to help organizations hire qualified cyber intelligence trained professionals to identify and mitigate business risks.


Who developed Cyber Kill Chain Framework?
Lockheed Martin developed a cyber kill chain framework. It is part of the Intelligence Driven Defense Model for prevention and identification of cyber intrusions activity.

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