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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.
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:
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.