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Sep 12, 2017

Everyone should be doing incident response tabletops, even if it's not a dedicated task in your organization. It allows you to find out what you might be lacking in terms of processes, manpower, requirements, etc.

This week, we discuss what you need to do to get ready for one, and how those should go in terms of helping your organization understand how to handle the aftermath.

And in case you've been under a rock, #equifax was breached.  143 million credit records are in the ether. We discuss the facts as of 9 September 2017, and what this means to the average user.

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Incident response


Must go beyond ‘threats’.

What is in your environment

Struts aren’t a threat, or are they?

Equifax didn’t think so at the time…

Insider threat

External entities


plugins/themes used (Wordpress)


Risk analysis




What makes a good incident response exercise (




Following the creation and implementation of security controls around use cases, can be the testing of tabletop exercises and drills as a proof of concept. A tabletop exercise is a meeting of key stakeholders and staff that walk step by step through the mitigation of some type of disaster, malfunction, attack, or other emergency in a low stress situation. A drill is when staff carries out as many of the processes, procedures, and mitigations that would be performed during one of the emergencies as possible.
While drills are limited in scope, they can be very useful to test specific controls for gaps and possible improvements. A disaster recovery plan can be carried out to some length, backups can be tested with the restoration of files, and services can be failed over to secondary cluster members.
Tabletop exercises are composed of several key groups or members.

  • During a tabletop exercise there should be a moderator or facilitator that will deliver the scenario to be played out. This moderator can answer “what if ” questions about the imaginary emergency as well as lead discussion, pull in additional resources, and control the pace of the exercise. Inform the participants that it is perfectly acceptable to not have answers to questions during this exercise. The entire purpose of tabletops is to find the weaknesses in current processes to mitigate them prior to an actual incident.
    • A member of the exercise should also evaluate the overall performance of the exercise as well as create an after-action report. This evaluator should take meticulous notes as well as follow along any runbook to ensure accuracy. While the evaluator will be the main notetaker, other groups and individuals may have specific knowledge and understanding of situations. In this case having each member provide the evaluator with their own notes at the conclusion of the tabletop is a good step.
    • Participants make up the majority of this exercise. Included should be groups such as Finance, HR, Legal, Security (both physical and information), Management, Marketing, and any other key group that may be required. Participants should be willing to engage in the conversation, challenge themselves and others politely, and work within the parameters of the exercise.

What to include in the tabletop:
• A handout to participants with the scenario and room for notes.
• Current runbook of how security situations are handled.
• Any policy and procedure manuals.
• List of tools and external services.

Post-exercise actions and questions:
• What went well?
• What could have gone better?
• Are any services or processes missing that would have improved resolution time or accuracy?
• Are any steps unneeded or irrelevant?
• Identify and document issues for corrective action.
• Change the plan appropriately for next time.

Tabletop Template
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a collection of different scenarios, presentations, and tabletops that can be used as templates.


Derbycon channel on Slack

Intro to RE class