ASD 4 as a Service


The list

The ASD Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Intrusions is a list published by the Australian Signals Directorate. It is reviewed yearly (the latest review was February 2017) and informed by the ASD's experience in operational cyber security including responding to serious cyber intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. No activity alone can prevent all malicious activity and all 37 strategies are important in their own right, however the top four strategies alone are indicated by the ASD as being able to mitigate at least 85% of the cyber intrusions that the ASD responds to. These incidents typically involve relatively unsophisticated techniques and much of the messaging and recommendations haven't changed in over 4 years. Since 2013 it has been mandatory for all government agencies to implement all four top mitigation strategies. In 2012 the ASD released a distilled message with their "Catch, Patch and Match" campaign:

ASD Catch Patch Match.png

You can read The ASD Top 35: Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions white paper for further information. 

The full list of 37 directives can be found here.


The ASD Top 4

1. Use application whitelisting to help prevent malicious software and unapproved programs from running.

2. Patch applications such as Java, PDF viewers, Flash, web browsers and Microsoft Office.

3. Patch operating system vulnerabilities.

4. Restrict administrative privileges to operating systems and applications based on user duties.

At least 85% of targeted cyber intrusions that the ASD responds to could be prevented by following the Top 4 mitigation strategies, that is why The Missing Link is the first company in Australia to offer ASD 4 as a Service. 


The Service

The ASD Top 4 are the most effective security controls an organisation can implement. For the first time in Australia, The Missing Link are now offering ASD 4 as a Service, providing Australian businesses with a fully managed service that adopts all four strategies taking your current infrastructure and security posture to the next level. The service has been developed to be cost effective when compared with in-house expenditure to implement the strategies; and allows spending to shift from Capex to Opex. Whilst it is most effective to implement all four top strategies, the service is offered modularly giving businesses the choice to only implement some or part of the strategies to compliment already existing technologies. Our award-winning security experts, led by Aaron Bailey will implement and manage the solutions you need to keep your business information safe from unwanted cyber intrusions.

Top 4 overview

ASD # Strategy Description
1 Application Whitelisting Application whitelisting is a technical measure which only allows specifically authorised applications to run on a system. This helps to prevent malicious software and applications running. 
2 & 3 Patch Management

Patching an organisation's system encompasses both the second and third mitigation strategies. It is important to patch both your operating system and applications within a two-day timeframe for serious vulnerabilities. Once a vulnerability in an operating system or application is made public you can expect malware to be developed by adversaries within 48 hours. 

Vulnerability management provides visibility in the patch levels, current vulnerabilities, risks and prioritisation of remediation/patching and is required for a successful patch management process. 

Vulnerability Management
4 Restrict Administrative Privileges

When an adversary targets a system they will primarily look for user accounts with administrative privileges. Minimising administrative privileges makes it more difficult for the adversary to spread or hide their existence on a system. 


The Missing Link will provide a turnkey project managed engagement with the following deliverables’:

  • Detailed Level Design
  • Test Plan
  • As Built Documentation 

If you are interested in this service please fill out the form below or call us on 1300 865 865. A full list of our security offerings can be found here

ASD 4 as a Service