Understanding your attack surface and how to manage it is the first step toward improving the security of your organisation. An attack surface is the window a cyberterrorist can use to gain access to your data, it’s therefore fundamentally important to ensure that this opening is kept to a minimum at all times.
Technological advancements are developing at a rapid rate, but so are cybercrime tactics and techniques. Recent high-profile data breaches have shone a light on the need for complex cybersecurity measures and secure ways of narrowing attack surfaces.
According to the Measuring & Managing the Cyber Risks to Business Operations report, only 29 percent of companies believe they have sufficient visibility into their attack surface. The report found that current approaches to understanding cyber risks to business operations are failing to help organisations minimise and mitigate threats.
Organisations worldwide are therefore calling out for firms to come up with innovative data-driven insights to prevent breaches without affecting network performance. Solutions to problems that are easily understood and that do the job in the best, quickest and most affordable way and at scale are in high demand.
RiskXchange delivers cost-effective solutions
RiskXchange is one of the firms leading the fight against cybercrime, coming up with novel solutions to everyday problems experienced at the hands of hackers. We have developed an innovative way to not only reduce attack surfaces, but to allow organisations to manage them at the same time.
With full visibility over your eco-systems’ entire attack surface in near real-time, you can regularly monitor and mitigate risks to prevent unnecessary exposures. Our passive data collection methods are effective and have no impact on your network performance. Using data-driven insights to prevent breaches is the best way to reduce an attack surface and prevent cyberattacks.
By aggregating data from open sources, RiskXchange helps you gain a broader picture of your network and your supply chain’s application attack surface over time. This enables you to prioritise securing your network and application assets that are most at risk from compromise and exploitation. We provide high priority alerts and easy to understand security score ratings that relate to genuine threats to your network and application infrastructure, not a deluge of CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) or technical jargon.
RiskXchange pinpoints five ways to reduce an attack surface:
1. Security checks and analytics
A detailed analysis is the best way to reduce your attack surface. Traffic flow analysis, security configuration assessments and quantitative risk scores are the three most effective ways of reducing an attack surface. According to OWASP, the point of attack surface analysis is to understand the risk areas in an application, to make developers and security specialists aware of what parts of the application are open to attack, to find ways of minimising this, and to notice when and how the attack surface changes and what this means from a risk perspective.
2. Reduce complexity
Reducing the complexity of a network helps to reduce an attack surface. Poor policy management can lead to mistakes or duplicates, unused rules and overly permissive rule definitions allow increased access beyond what is needed.
According to Security Magazine, unnecessary complexity elevates the possibility of human error and risk, underscoring the importance of simplicity in security infrastructures and policy management.
3. Vulnerability screening
Vulnerability screening and visualising vulnerabilities through modelling and simulation is a good way to reduce attack surfaces. Patch simulation and attack surface modelling all help to pinpoint your attack surface and identify ways in which an attacker can gain access to a network. According to Research Gate, vulnerabilities can be dramatically reduced by a systematic approach of measuring the attack surface through component level dependency analysis.
4. Monitor your endpoints
Independent process monitors maintain constant surveillance over your endpoints and help to highlight, therefore being able to reduce, the number visible on the attack surface. The next step is being able to control what the endpoint does, and then ensure that its relation to the rest of the network is fully secured. According to Security Boulevard, most organisations are ignoring a crucial portion of their attack surface — the endpoint:
- The endpoint is where attacks originate
- The endpoint is where persistence is gained
- The endpoint is where lateral movement goes to and from
- The endpoint is where processes are injected
- The endpoint is where network packets originate
- The endpoint is where the data lives
- The endpoint is where the bad guys exfiltrate from
5. Building up your perimeters
Building up perimeters and segmenting a network will drastically reduce any attack surface. By increasing the number of barriers visible on a network, the harder it will be for an attacker to gain access to your data. According to the findings at the 7th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security, the key to minimising attack surfaces is by building up perimeters within a network. The conference determined that an attack surface is vulnerable if there are no “specific separations, or dedicated functional controls for a given attack vector”.
RiskXchange is an information security technology company, that helps companies of all sizes fight the threat of cyber threats by providing instant risk ratings for any company across the globe. RiskXchange was founded and is led by recognised experts within the security industry, who have held leading roles within companies such as IBM Security.