Attack surfaces refer to everything attackers can use to gain unauthorized entry to your system, including all vulnerabilities in physical, network, and software environments. Attack surfaces have become more complex with digital transformation, creating increased risks. A practical attack surface management program can help mitigate those risks.
Hackers understand your attack surface intimately, enabling them to identify vulnerabilities, breach systems, and steal data rapidly. Their attack model contains all possible routes they could exploit to gain entry, steal information, and leave undetected.
Network attack surfaces encompass any exposed pathways within an organization's infrastructure, including websites, application servers, databases, storage buckets, mobile applications, and remote work devices. At the same time, corporate technology architecture provides greater flexibility for employees working remotely while creating an ever-expanding attack surface that has the potential for attacks to escalate rapidly.
Security teams need to reduce risks by shrinking their network attack surface, but this is no easy feat, as security can't dictate that businesses stop collecting data, adapting new software development paradigms, or using container platforms that enable employees to access cloud services. Instead, this must be accomplished gradually through an exhaustive process of identifying and eliminating all vulnerable pathways attackers could exploit to reach their desired targets.
If your team members share work computers, download files to personal devices, and access any website for professional reasons, it can become very challenging to keep track of all the networks belonging to your company. Furthermore, using external services for hosting websites or email also increases its attack surface.
By employing two-factor authentication across your online services and accounts, it will be much simpler for you to prevent attackers from gaining access to your systems by stealing username and password details. Teams must understand how essential it is to adopt best practices such as two-factor authentication to protect themselves adequately - primarily by not sharing credentials among team members.
Cyberattacks come in all shapes and forms, with breaches being among the most damaging forms. Breaches can affect your business by exposing sensitive customer or employee data, disrupting operations, and hurting its reputation - yet there are steps you can take to minimize attack surface area and protect it against attacks.
An Attack Surface Analysis is an invaluable way of uncovering blindspots within your organization and mitigating risk. By viewing IT infrastructure through the eyes of hackers, an Attack Surface Analysis reveals what threats could potentially threaten it.
The digital attack surface includes all devices and points of unauthorized system access susceptible to attack, from unsecured web applications and ports to default operating system settings and malicious application programming interfaces. Additionally, compromised passwords mishandled equipment that was improperly discarded outside the office, and even written down passwords on paper all constitute vulnerable points for attackers to exploit.
Physical attacks should also be considered. This involves all hardware in your workplace - desktop systems, laptops, and mobile devices as well as USB ports, servers, and other IT equipment that could give hackers entry to your network.
Once an attacker gains access to your endpoint, they can launch attacks by exploiting compromised credentials or installing malware. As malware requires privileged access to function effectively, least privilege is an effective strategy for safeguarding endpoint security and warding off attacks. Utilizing the least privilege will limit Administrator, Domain Admin, and Root accounts only for legitimate administration (just-in-time privileged access), significantly decreasing your attack surface area.
Attack surface analysis uncovers how a business's software environment is vulnerable to attacks, from application code and ports, through interactions with other systems and databases, all the way down to compromised passwords and credentials accessible by attackers.
Digital attack surfaces include any physical location outside the firewall that serves as a target for cybercriminals, such as websites and servers with dependent services running on them, shadow IT installations by employees bypassing security controls to install unapproved applications, as well as shadow IT operations that provide access to apps not authorized for installation by their company.
Physical attack surfaces refer to endpoint devices such as desktop computers and USB ports that can be physically accessed by an attacker, including carelessly discarded hardware containing data or login credentials, users writing passwords down on paper, physical break-ins, etc. To defend against physical attack surfaces, businesses must utilize access control and surveillance at their physical sites and develop and test disaster recovery procedures.
Reducing the attack surface may seem daunting, but it is an essential component of cybersecurity. Start with obvious solutions, such as disabling ports that do not need to be open, and once that initial cleanup has been accomplished, move on to zero trust policies and other core concepts of cybersecurity implementation; each new project should reduce cleanup requirements and strengthen your ability to ward off attacks in the future.
Physical attack surfaces encompass any system that can be reached with physical access to your office or server room, including laptops, computers, and LANs. They also encompass any file shares or unprotected workstations on the premises that could allow attackers to gain entry and steal information or spread malware. Physical attack surfaces pose threats due to social engineering attacks by disgruntled employees sharing sensitive data with outsiders - or giving passwords and access rights without due consent from management.
Digital attack surfaces include:
- Business websites.
- Public or private cloud storage.
- Software-as-a-service programs like Dropbox and Office 365.
Each program may be susceptible to cyberattack if they are not regularly updated and adequately protected using strong passwords or two-factor authentication.
When someone scans your infrastructure for vulnerabilities, they look for ways to attack. Hackers could utilize various attack vectors, such as open ports, unpatched software, and untrustworthy protocols, to gain entry.
Reducing your attack surface as much as possible to limit the potential damage from cyber-attacks is paramount. It requires conducting an exhaustive audit of all IT components to identify any vulnerabilities to breaches. Furthermore, cybersecurity best practices should be applied across devices, IT systems, servers, and more to keep the infrastructure secure. In addition, ASM software that automates monitoring for vulnerabilities while assessing risk and fixing them automatically can keep hackers at bay and ensure your sensitive information stays protected.
Attackers and malicious insiders are constantly looking for entry points into your systems to gain access to high-value devices, apps, and data. If left vulnerable, these users could breach your defenses or cause significant damage; one way to maintain a resilient cybersecurity posture is to limit attackers' attack surfaces (also called attack surfaces).
Attack surfaces refer to all digital openings in an organization's network that cyber attackers could exploit to gain unauthorized entry, steal information, or cause harm. These could range from software and hardware vulnerabilities through networks, applications, devices, and people - and when an attacker manages to breach one area of your attack surface, they could move laterally within your environment to gain further entry and steal sensitive information.
As businesses shift toward cloud-first strategies, their attack surfaces have rapidly grown. Every new service, app, or device introduces additional vulnerabilities attackers can leverage against critical assets, such as SQL injections, OS command injections, and other web application risks exploitable by malicious actors.
As such, security teams must regularly assess and monitor the external attack surface to detect vulnerable points in infrastructure. A powerful attack surface management solution such as Randori provides visibility across your external-facing assets - including public and private clouds, on-premise systems, and devices - so security teams can make more informed decisions regarding which controls to deploy and where their efforts should be focused. They can also use attack surface management capabilities like this to discover and remediate critical vulnerabilities within their digital environments quickly.