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  1. In the wake of a cybersecurity incident, it is crucial to promptly discover how the threat actors breached security in order to assess the impact of the incident and to develop and deploy countermeasures that can protect against further attacks. To this end, defenders can launch a cyber-forensic investigation, which discovers the techniques that the threat actors used in the incident. A fundamental challenge in such an investigation is prioritizing the investigation of particular techniques since the investigation of each technique requires time and effort, but forensic analysts cannot know which ones were actually used before investigating them. To ensure prompt discovery, it is imperative to provide decision support that can help forensic analysts with this prioritization. A recent study demonstrated that data-driven decision support, based on a dataset of prior incidents, can provide state-of-the-art prioritization. However, this data-driven approach, called DISCLOSE, is based on a heuristic that utilizes only a subset of the available information and does not approximate optimal decisions. To improve upon this heuristic, we introduce a principled approach for data-driven decision support for cyber-forensic investigations. We formulate the decision-support problem using a Markov decision process, whose states represent the states of a forensic investigation. To solve the decision problem, we propose a Monte Carlo tree search based method, which relies on a k-NN regression over prior incidents to estimate state-transition probabilities. We evaluate our proposed approach on multiple versions of the MITRE ATT&CK dataset, which is a knowledge base of adversarial techniques and tactics based on real-world cyber incidents, and demonstrate that our approach outperforms DISCLOSE in terms of techniques discovered per effort spent. 
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  2. Recently, bug-bounty programs have gained popularity and become a significant part of the security culture of many organizations. Bug-bounty programs enable organizations to enhance their security posture by harnessing the diverse expertise of crowds of external security experts (i.e., bug hunters). Nonetheless, quantifying the benefits of bug-bounty programs remains elusive, which presents a significant challenge for managing them. Previous studies focused on measuring their benefits in terms of the number of vulnerabilities reported or based on the properties of the reported vulnerabilities, such as severity or exploitability. However, beyond these inherent properties, the value of a report also depends on the probability that the vulnerability would be discovered by a threat actor before an internal expert could discover and patch it. In this paper, we present a data-driven study of the Chromium and Firefox vulnerability-reward programs. First, we estimate the difficulty of discovering a vulnerability using the probability of rediscovery as a novel metric. Our findings show that vulnerability discovery and patching provide clear benefits by making it difficult for threat actors to find vulnerabilities; however, we also identify opportunities for improvement, such as incentivizing bug hunters to focus more on development releases. Second, we compare the types of vulnerabilities that are discovered internally vs. externally and those that are exploited by threat actors. We observe significant differences between vulnerabilities found by external bug hunters, internal security teams, and external threat actors, which indicates that bug-bounty programs provide an important benefit by complementing the expertise of internal teams, but also that external hunters should be incentivized more to focus on the types of vulnerabilities that are likely to be exploited by threat actors. 
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