In today’s digital climate, with new IT architecture and heavier reliance on IoT and devices, the attack surface is growing at intractable speed. This means one thing for security professionals: keeping track of your evolving online environment while securing it is becoming more of an ideal than a reality.
But, what if you could automatically be notified of any potential paths a malicious attacker might use to enter your digital infrastructure? Well, luckily for you, there is a solution. This blog explores an increasingly popular method of continuous security monitoring known as attack surface mapping.
What is an attack surface?
The attack surface is the sum of all possible security risk-exposures (or potential attack vectors) on hardware and software that an attacker might use as a pathway to enter a network. In other words, it is everything outside of the firewall where internet-facing assets, such as email servers and mobile applications, are located. From there, a threat actor could access, exploit, and steal from your digital environment.
As your digital footprint grows so does your attack surface, which makes them difficult to map and manage. Increasing risk must therefore be addressed through a scalable security strategy to readily safeguard your systems even if your load increases.
How to map your attack surface
‘Known factors’ on the attack surface refer to assets that you are aware of and monitor, such as subdomains and general security processes. So, unknown factors (also called shadow IT assets) are most likely not being patched or updated - which could lead to a potential vulnerability or misconfiguration and could be exploited by a threat actor. You must be aware of any third-party assets too, as these also pose a serious risk to your overall security posture.
Attack surface mapping (ASM) - also knowing as attack surface monitoring, managing, and analysing - provides continuous surveillance of your changing attack surface. Specifically, it detects assets that contain, transmit, or process your data while identifying vulnerabilities as they appear. It informs you of
- What the components of your attack surface are
- Where the attack vectors and exposures are located
- How to effectively shield your organization from cyber attacks
You can’t remediate risks that you aren’t aware of, and security strategies become meaningless if they aren’t risk-based. So, this proactive method of cyber security helps CISOs and security leaders visualise, understand, and analyse their changing threat landscape. Implementing a continuous security monitoring process will empower you to make more informed cyber security decisions and improve productivity.
Continuous asset discovery locates your assets (including those known, unknown, third-party, and rogue) and provides a passive inventory - an appealing solution to security professionals who can move away from time-consuming spreadsheets. The ability to discover assets in real-time will not only help you to better understand your evolving attack surface, but it also allows you to secure your external perimeters swiftly and accurately.
Informer, for example, uses a vast range of open-source intelligence techniques to find online assets you didn’t know you had, making mapping your attack surface simple. The asset discovery tool determines where in the world your assets are located while also identifying applications hosted on shared infrastructure in countries where assets may not be compliant with security regulations.
Vulnerabilities can be introduced at any time that can expand your attack surface. So, constant vulnerability discovery enables you to find your weaknesses within your applications and IT systems before attackers beat you to it. Any gaps in your security are identified in real-time which speeds up remediation and in turn helps to fortify your digital infrastructure through a data-driven and risk-based approach.
Informer’s vulnerability discovery function continuously scans to find infrastructure and application-level vulnerabilities on assets that are both known and unknown to you. Combined with expert penetration testing, which is now integrated into the platform, the tool provides access to granular vulnerability data and actionable security insights. In addition, the criticality-scoring system allows for prioritisation of vulnerabilities for remediation to help secure your evolving perimeter more efficiently.
Stay ahead of attackers with Informer’s continuous attack surface monitoring solution
We firmly believe that cyber security strategies must evolve to keep up with the ever-changing threat interface in order to provide optimum security coverage. Therefore, Informer offers the unique benefits of combining live asset discovery, vulnerability scanning, and expert penetration testing in a single frictionless platform.
Do you know where all your vulnerabilities are? Find out before attackers do with a complete view of your attack surface. Book a demo with us today to find out how you can make faster, smarter, and more accurate cyber-security decisions.