In today’s article, you are going to know about Attack Surface, how it affects your business and what preventive measures you can take to reduce it.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Attack Surface Expansion
It refers to a list of points or vectors in a particular system, where an unknown user can access a system and extract the data. The company is in luck if the surface is small because in that case, it would be easier to protect itself.
What Actions To Take For Attack Surface Expansion?
Companies should remember that prevention is better than cure. Keeping this in mind, they must create a system that constantly monitors the attack surface to identify and restrict potential threats as quickly as possible. As discussed before, companies should minimize the surface area to reduce the risks of cyberattacks succeeding.
The drawback to the strategy given above:
Most companies expand their digital footprint and embrace new technologies. As a result, it becomes almost impossible to minimize their surface area.
Different categories of Attack Surface Expansion:
Digital Attack Surface:
Here, all the hardware and software of an organization’s network are covered by the surface area of the attack. Some of them include:
- Shadow IT
These were some of the examples where the users bypass IT to use unauthorized applications or devices.
Physical Attack Surface:
It compromises all the endpoint devices that an attacker can get physical access to. Some of them include:
- Desktop Computers
- Hard Drives
- Mobile Phones
- USB Drives
Here, the threat surface includes, user data and login credentials, users writing passwords on paper, and physical break-ins, at some carelessly discarded hardware.
Attack Surface Vs Attack Vector:
Although both are quite different, still to some extent they are related. The former is the space that cybercriminals attack or breach. The latter is a method that cybercriminals use to gain unauthorized access to an organization’s systems and breach a user’s account.
Vulnerabilities on the Attack Surface:
Any weak point in a network that can lead to a data leak is considered a common vulnerability. This encompasses both technologies such as computers, mobile phones, and hard drives that leak data to hackers, as well as individuals releasing data to hackers.
Other flaws include the use of weak passwords, a lack of email security, unsecured ports, and a failure to patch software, all of which provide attackers with an open backdoor via which they may target and abuse persons and organizations. Weak web-based protocols are another surface that hackers may use to steal data via man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
How To Define Your Attack Surface Area:
The assault surface must first be defined and mapped before visualization can begin. Identifying possible flaws, analyzing vulnerabilities, and defining user roles and permission levels are all part of this process. Identifying the physical and virtual devices that make up an organization’s surface, such as corporate firewalls and switches, network file servers, desktops and laptops, mobile devices, and printers, may help analyze possible vulnerabilities.
They must next identify all of their company data’s probable storage places and split them into the cloud, device, and on-premises systems. The organization may then determine which users have access to data and resources, as well as their level of access. This allows them to better understand the user and departmental patterns, as well as categorize attack vectors into areas such as function and risk, making the list more manageable.
What Is Attack Surface Management, and Why Does It Matter?
It is critical to test for vulnerabilities and regularly monitor the performance of a surface once it has been mapped. This tool is essential for recognizing current and future hazards and enjoying the following benefits:
Identify high-risk regions that require vulnerability testing.
Identify any modifications or new attack vectors that have arisen as a result of the procedure.
Determine which categories of users have access to each system component.
Protect yourself from cyber-attacks that are specifically targeted at you.
Government’s Role in Expanse Attack Surface Management:
In terms of attack surface control, the US government plays a critical role. The StopRansomware.gov website, for example, was established by the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal partners. The goal is to provide a complete resource for individuals and organizations so that they are prepared to prevent ransomware attacks and reduce the impact of ransomware if they become a victim.
The Department of Justice dedicates itself to combating larger-scale cybercrime, including collaborating with international authorities to shut down the largest illicit Darknet marketplace and the Ravil ransomware gang. With new groups like the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, the National Cryptocurrency Exploitation Unit, and the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit, the agency is also tackling ransomware and cryptocurrency crime.
Attack Surface Reduction in five steps:
Make Zero-Trust Policies a Reality
Only the right individuals have the appropriate level of access to the right resources at the right time, thanks to the zero-trust security architecture. Companies strengthen their entire infrastructure and reduce the number of entry points by ensuring that only authorized personnel can access networks.
Take away the complication
Unnecessary complexity can lead to poor management and policy errors, allowing cyber thieves to access business data without permission. To simplify their network, organizations must delete superfluous or useless software and devices and minimize the number of endpoints in operation.
Complex systems, for example, might provide users access to resources they don’t need, increasing the surface available to a hacker.
Check for Security Vulnerabilities
Organizations can immediately discover possible concerns by scanning and analyzing their networks regularly. To avoid problems with cloud and on-premises networks, it’s critical to have complete attack surface visibility and guarantee that only allowed devices may access them. A thorough scan should not only reveal vulnerabilities but also demonstrate how endpoints may be abused.
Create a Segment Network
By establishing barriers that stop attackers, network segmentation helps enterprises to reduce the size of their surface. Firewalls and micro-segmentation, which separate the network into smaller sections, are examples of these tools and tactics.
Educate Your Workers
Employees are the first line of defense when it comes to attacking surface reduction. Regular cybersecurity awareness training will assist the m in grasping best practices and recognizing the telltale indications of phishing emails and social engineering attacks.
To prevent becoming a victim of recurrent breach threats, modern enterprises must manage their vulnerabilities. Businesses, on the other hand, frequently underestimate the number of vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure that might allow unwanted access.
Analyzing and decreasing your organization’s attack vectors from the viewpoint of a bad agent might disclose some unexpected security flaws. By bettering your security rules and processes using that knowledge, your company can significantly lower the risk of exposing sensitive data in case of a breach.