Pyramid of Pain

The Pyramid of Pain is a concept that categorizes indicators of compromise (IoCs) and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) based on how difficult they are for attackers to change. It serves as a framework for security teams to understand the impact of their actions on adversaries and to prioritize their defense strategies effectively.
  • Implementing strategies based on the Pyramid of Pain can increase the attacker's operational costs by up to 30%, making attacks less economically viable.
  • A survey conducted by the Cybersecurity Insiders found that 60% of organizations that focus on higher-level indicators, like TTPs, experience a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of attacks.

Elevating your cybersecurity strategy through the Pyramid of Pain requires a nuanced understanding of threat actor behaviors and the deployment of sophisticated detection and mitigation tools. Vectra AI is at the forefront of providing solutions that target the higher levels of the pyramid, making it more challenging for attackers to succeed. Contact us today to learn how we can help transform your security posture, making your organization a harder target for cyber adversaries.


What Is the Pyramid of Pain?

The Pyramid of Pain is a hierarchical model that illustrates the types of indicators and behaviors associated with cybersecurity threats, ranked by the difficulty attackers face in altering them to evade detection.

What Are the Levels of the Pyramid of Pain?

From bottom to top, the levels are: Hash Values, IP Addresses, Domain Names, Network/Host Artifacts, Tools, and TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures).

Why Is the Pyramid of Pain Important for SOC Teams?

It helps SOC teams prioritize their detection and response efforts on higher-impact areas that are more challenging for attackers to change, thereby increasing the adversary's cost and effort.

How Can Security Teams Apply the Pyramid of Pain?

Teams can apply the Pyramid of Pain by focusing on detecting and mitigating threats at the higher levels, such as identifying malicious TTPs, which are more effective in preventing attacks.

What Makes TTPs the Most Painful for Attackers?

TTPs are at the top of the pyramid because they represent the behavior and methods of attackers, which are harder to modify than simple indicators like IP addresses or hash values.

How Do Hash Values and IP Addresses Fit into the Pyramid?

Hash values and IP addresses are at the lower levels of the pyramid, indicating that they are easier for attackers to change and, therefore, less effective for long-term defense strategies.

Can the Pyramid of Pain Help in Threat Intelligence?

Yes, it guides the collection and analysis of threat intelligence, emphasizing the importance of understanding and mitigating higher-level indicators such as TTPs for more effective defense.

What Role Does the Pyramid of Pain Play in Incident Response?

It aids incident response teams in focusing their efforts on collecting and analyzing data that will impose the greatest cost on attackers, thus enhancing response strategies.

How Does the Pyramid of Pain Influence Cybersecurity Tools and Solutions?

It encourages the development and use of tools that can detect and respond to the more sophisticated and harder-to-change aspects of threats, such as anomalous behaviors and tactics.

Are There Any Challenges in Implementing the Pyramid of Pain?

One challenge is the need for advanced skills and technologies to identify and mitigate the higher levels of the pyramid, requiring ongoing training and investment in cybersecurity capabilities.