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Attack Surface Management

An attack surface is the sum of an organization’s internet-facing entry points that a threat actor can use to infiltrate a network.

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An attack surface is the sum of an organization’s internet-facing entry points that a threat actor can use to infiltrate a network. Digitization sees attack surfaces growing more complex: attack surfaces fluctuate with the integration of new devices or applications (with or without the IT department’s knowledge!) and extend far beyond organizations’ own networks as remote working and cloud services continue to be embraced.

As your digital footprint grows, the difficulty of maintaining complete visibility of each entry-point grows alongside it. A threat actor needs only to leverage one, in order to breach a system and deploy a costly cyber-attack capable of devastating business operations and reputation. Managing the attack surface is imperative for every organization, and they must maintain constant visibility of it in order to discover, analyze, and mitigate threats that arise there.

Common Vulnerabilities in Your Attack Surface

Threat actors will perform extensive reconnaissance through scanning and enumerating infrastructures; and consulting open and closed source datasets and public resources, such as social media; to analyze your attack surface for vulnerabilities. They may discover the following vulnerabilities to exploit:

  • Shadow IT: This is the term given to the applications, software, and devices that employees use without the explicit approval of the IT team. This undisclosed expansion of the attack surface renders the IT team unable to administer the same security as it would to assets within the established boundaries, exposing the shadow IT vulnerable to threat actors.

  • Unmanaged Assets: Obsolete user accounts, API, and software are often forgotten about and, as a result, are not monitored or patched. Actors can exploit vulnerabilities in these assets to gain access to systems or inject malicious code.

  • Security Misconfigurations: Failure to apply patches will leave security gaps wide open and the contents of patches are typically public knowledge, providing threat actors with a handy list of entry points to exploit. What is more, many cloud services use a shared responsibility model for cyber security, leading to customer generated misconfigurations in the infrastructure which may permit unauthorized users access to systems or data.

  • Employee Information: Locating an employees’ emails and social media accounts provides an entry-point for attackers. Threat actors can target employees with phishing attacks, in which emails impersonating sources of authority are sent to trick them into clicking malicious links or divulging personal information that can be used to infiltrate a system.

What Can You Do?

  • Apply Zero Trust Security: Acknowledging threat actors exist both with and outside of a network helps protect your organization. This model of security does not assume correct credentials are enough proof for a user to access data. Each access request requires multiple components to be confirmed, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and device health and location, before permission is granted.

  • Strengthen your Human Firewall: Train employees to recognise social engineering attacks such as phishing scams so it is far harder for threat actors to steal confidential data through this attack vector.

  • Configure Assets: Disable all redundant functions in internet-facing assets to limit the attack surface that a threat actor could target.

What Can Intel 471 Do?

Intel 471’s Attack Surface Protection is a suite of three solutions that enable you to elevate your organization’s management of its attack surface and see yourself as an attacker would.

  • Map your Attack Surface: You can’t protect what you can’t see. Use Attack Surface Protection to schedule scans of your attack surface to map your internet-facing assets. As well as inventorying all known IT infrastructure, Attack Surface Protection will pinpoint previously un-inventoried assets such as orphaned IT or even existing malicious assets such as malware.

  • Monitor Continuously: Unauthorized changes to your attack surface will no longer fly under the IT team’s radar. Attack Surface Protection allows you to schedule regular, automated scans of your attack surface and immediately alerts you to any significant change that requires your attention.

  • Leverage Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI): Attack Surface Protection extends the monitoring of your attack surface into the cyber underground. Use our unparalleled CTI, to take on a truly proactive security stance by receiving our alerts to threats to your attack surface that would otherwise be undetected until it was too late. This includes alerts to vulnerability weaponization, so that you can prioritize patching according to your organization’s needs.

Know your Enemy: Our analysts’ global presence on the cyber underground allows Intel 471 to procure a unique understanding of threat actors’ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Use these to help you see your attack surface from the outside in, as an attacker would, so that you can protect against common TTPs. We also provide intelligence on evolving tactics so you can enable a proactive response, stopping would-be threats before they can materialize.