Cyber Kill Chain

What Does Cyber Kill Chain Mean?

A cyber kill chain is a collection of processes related to the use of cyberattacks on systems. Some experts describe the cyber kill chain as representing the “stages” of a cyberattack. In general, the cyber kill chain is a step-by-step description of what a complex attack does.


Techopedia Explains Cyber Kill Chain

One common model for a cyber kill chain is based on a template from the defense company Lockheed Martin that uses seven distinctive phases or steps:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Weaponization
  • Delivery
  • Exploitation
  • Installation
  • Command and control
  • Actions on objectives

Each of these steps can have specific data associated with it, for example, where reconnaissance is done through web analytics or through firewall penetration.

The term “cyber kill chain” comes from the term “kill chain,” which is military jargon for analyzing the structure of an attack. Utilizing a cyber kill chain model can help show exactly how a piece of malware or cyberattack makes its way into a system to do damage and accomplishes the goals of hackers or other malicious parties.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…