The Expansion of the Attack Surface
The corporate network is no longer the lone point of attack.. You’re probably unaware of the full range of your attack surface if you’re merely guarding your network from threat actors. This leaves you vulnerable to exploitation.
Moving workloads, applications, and infrastructure to the cloud and away from on-premises data storage increases an organisation’s attack surface. They’re fantastic for cost-cutting, efficiency, and flexibility, but securing cloud systems necessitates a unique level of awareness.
Furthermore, the epidemic required a large decentralisation of the workforce almost immediately, resulting in significant changes in access, operations, and processes. Workers were suddenly using VPNs and personal internet connections instead of insecure business networks.
Key reasons transforming the cyber landscape:
- Network perimeter dissolving: Hybrid IT, Cloud, and digital ecosystems are blurring the lines between enterprises and dissolving the network perimeter that must be protected.
- Exponential technologies: The growing use of exponential technologies including robots, automation, 3D microchips, cognitive intelligence, and agile development is transforming the pace of business and technological innovation. This increases cyber risks and complicates cyber initiatives, which are frequently built using standard IT development methodologies and deadlines.
- Mobile networks: Offering mobile to clients isn’t just a new service that businesses must provide. Mobile has become a way of life for a rising number of customers, particularly millennials. It’s not simply another channel to them; it’s the only one that matters. As a result, mobile is causing fundamentally different purchasing habits.Because mobile networks are geographically large and flexible, it dramatically enhances the attack surface for cyber threats.
- Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT is predicted to have a beneficial and transformative impact on our lives, whether it involves smart sensors in a “smart factory” (Industry 4.0) or a remote connection to an insulin pump. It does, however, offer up an a new world of devices to be explored.
- The changing structure of business: Forward-thinking companies are developing new digitally enabled revenue and delivery models, posing cyber risks at every level, beginning with business planning.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is beginning to assist or completely replace human specialists. This can result in significant improvements in capabilities and cost savings, but it also introduces new hazards, such as chatbots that go rogue and behave inappropriately.
- Collaborative platforms: Software that combines social networks into business processes might assist stimulate innovation, but it also exposes a company to external threats. These forces will transform our planet, opening up market opportunities previously unimaginable.
Step-by-Step Attack Surface Analysis
You must understand your network’s security environment to lower your attack surface and hacking risk. This necessitates a thorough and well-thought-out research endeavour.
An attack surface study will assist you in identifying current threats as well as possible threats in the future.
Your attack surface analysis will not solve all of the issues you uncover. Instead, it provides you with a detailed to-do list to help you focus your efforts on making your firm safer and more secure.
As you finish your attack surface analysis, keep this road map in mind:
- Determine your weaknesses: All of your access points, including each terminal, are part of your assault surface. However, it also comprises data pathways into and out of programmes, as well as the code that safeguards those crucial paths. Passwords, encoding, and other security features are all included.
- Identify user types: Who has access to each system point? Don’t get caught up on the names and badge numbers. Instead, consider user types and what they require on a daily basis.
- Conduct a risk analysis: Which areas have the most different user kinds and the most vulnerability? These are the issues that need to be addressed initially. You can use testing to help you find even more issues.
- Make sure your reporting is safe: How will you know if there has been a data breach? In the event of a threat, what does your company do? Check your rules and regulations for any other issues that need to be addressed.
This process is measured in months, not hours, in huge corporations. The more information you unearth, the safer your business will be.
Surface Reduction Strategies for Attack
Your clean-up project will be guided by mapping. Work your way down from the most vulnerable to the least vulnerable.
The following are some of the most common attack surface reduction techniques:
- Access: Examine network utilisation statistics. Ascertain that only the appropriate personnel have access to sensitive documents. Lock down any areas with unexpected or unauthorised traffic.
- Clean-up: When do you go through your assets and hunt for certificates that have expired? If you don’t already have a cleaning schedule in place, now is the time to make one and keep to it.
- Code: Are you running out-of-date or no-longer-required code?
- Password: Do your employees follow industry best practises when it comes to passwords? Are they aware of what to do if they forget their usernames or passwords?
- Scans: Do you verify the health of your network on a frequent basis? When difficulties arise, how do you get notified?
Reduce the attack surface in simple steps
After you’ve accomplished the immediate clean-up, look for methods to tighten your protocols so that future attack surface analysis initiatives require less clean-up.
To get started, follow below steps:
- Assume there is no trust: No user should be able to access your resources unless they’ve verified their identity and the device’s security. It’s easier to relax these boundaries and allow everyone access to everything, but putting security first will keep your company safer.
- Establish secure user access mechanisms: People in a typical firm move in and out of influence at an alarming rate. Each individual requires access to your network in order to execute their job well, but those privileges should be revoked as soon as the person leaves your company.To implement password policies, coordinate with Human Resources.
- Make use of strict authentication policies: Strong authentication should be layered on top of your access mechanisms. To ensure that only the right people have access to data, use attribute-based access control or role-based access control.
- Keep your backups safe: Code and data replicas are a common aspect of a company’s attack surface. To keep these backups safe from anyone who might harm you, use tight security protocols.
- Divide your network into segments: The more firewalls you install, the more difficult it will be for hackers to quickly get access to the heart of your firm. If done correctly, security controls can be reduced to a single machine or user.
Never overlook the significance of reporting. Even if you’ve followed all of these steps, you should still keep an eye on your network on a regular basis to make sure nothing has broken or become obsolete. Make time throughout your workday to evaluate the present threats.