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What is Threat Emulation?

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In the realm of cybersecurity, staying ahead of potential threats is paramount. That's where the power of Threat Emulation comes into play – a strategic approach that empowers businesses to navigate the digital landscape with confidence.

Threat Emulation is more than just a simulation; it involves replicating real-world cyber threats in a controlled environment, a playground where you can anticipate the malicious actor’s every move. This isn't child's play though; it's a battle-hardened approach to assessing your security readiness and proactively identifying vulnerabilities.

Instead of waiting for the inevitable breach, Threat Emulation enables you to take the initiative, mirroring the tactics, techniques, and procedures of potential attackers. By understanding their playbooks, you gain the upper hand. That's the essence of Threat Emulation – a powerful tool that transforms businesses from reactive victims to proactive defenders.

In this blog, we'll delve into the depths of Threat Emulation, and at its heart lies the Assumed Compromise Assessment – a concept that separates the fearless from the complacent. We'll uncover the art of assuming compromise, putting your organisation to the test against the relentless persistence of advanced threats.

What is Threat Emulation?

At its core, Threat Emulation is a proactive cybersecurity practice that simulates and replicates real-world cyber threats in a controlled environment. It's like stress-testing your defences, but instead of guessing what might happen, you use past attack techniques and strategies to mimic them to assess your organisation’s cybersecurity defences. 

The primary purpose of Threat Emulation is threefold: to assess, identify and validate. It aims to assess an organisation's security readiness, identify potential vulnerabilities, and validate the effectiveness of existing security controls and protocols. By emulating real-world threats, like the LockBit ransomware virus that crippled a New Zealand-based IT MSP last year, organisations can proactively identify and address weaknesses before actual attacks occur.

What is an Assumed Compromise Assessment?

The Assumed Compromise Assessment is a specific type of threat emulation that takes cybersecurity readiness to a whole new level. Its focus is to determine the extent to which an organisation's current security controls can detect and respond to an assumed compromised state, or in other words, a situation where a malicious actor has already gained unauthorized access to a system or network. This type of compromise is also known as an advanced persistent threat (APT).

During the Assumed Compromise Assessment, a series of controlled exercises are conducted to replicate real-world APT scenarios. This includes deploying targeted malware, attempting data exfiltration, or escalating privileges within the network, as well as other advanced techniques used by sophisticated attackers. The assessment focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of the organisation's incident response capabilities, security monitoring systems, and incident detection mechanisms when dealing with an assumed compromise.

The goal of an Assumed Compromise Assessment is not to instill fear, but rather to empower your organisation. By facing the hypothetical worst-case scenario, you gain valuable insights into your security posture. The Assumed Compromise Assessment shines a light on blind spots, highlighting areas for improvement in your incident response capabilities, detection mechanisms, and security monitoring systems.


In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, Threat Emulation emerges as a formidable strategy to proactively tackle potential threats. By replicating real-world cyber threats, organisations can assess their security readiness and identify vulnerabilities before attackers strike. The Assumed Compromise Assessment, a critical component of Threat Emulation, takes this approach to the next level, testing an organisation's incident response capabilities against a simulated breach.

If you have any questions or would like to explore Threat Emulation services for your business, do not hesitate to reach out to us.