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Growing Attack Surfaces and Examples 

Growing Attack Surfaces and Examples 

April 21, 2022

Your organization’s attack surface is the number of attack vectors that may be utilized to conduct a cyberattack or obtain unauthorized access to sensitive data. This might involve flaws in your organization’s personnel, physical, network, or software settings.

Your attack surface is the total of all the vulnerabilities in your security measures that an attacker may exploit or circumvent. This includes software, operating systems, online applications, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices, web servers, data centers, and physical controls such as locks and personnel who may be vulnerable to social engineering attacks such as phishing.

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A Comparison of the Attack Surfaces: Physical Workplace and Digital Assets

Your digital attack surface is just like your physical attack surface.
Your digital attack surface is just like your physical attack surface.

A typical illustration of the attack surface notion is your business’s actual workplace. What is your local office’s attack surface?

The solution is straightforward: doors, windows, safe boxes, etc. How about your residence? Even more straightforward: front and rear doors, windows, a garage door, climbable trees or tables, etc.

The distinction between detecting a breach in your house and detecting a breach in your company’s online attack surface may be defined by the area’s size and several complicated locations to examine.

You’d immediately notice if someone shattered a window or pushed through a door in your house. It’s much simpler if you have a home alarm system that promptly alerts you.

However, due to a large number of networks, software, protocols, and services running within an online business, determining which part of the attack surface was the source of the breach or intrusion can be challenging, even with a strong IDS, application firewalls, and notification alerts in place. Often, it goes undetected.

Could there be something relevant to your company in the more than 10 billion records in the SOCRadar Breach Database? Check for free!

How is the Attack Surface Growing?

Working from home practices have broadened the attack surface of companies.
Working from home practices have broadened the attack surface of companies.

The digital attack surface is defined as anything outside the firewall and connected to the Internet. Cybercriminals often find it simpler to breach your organization’s cybersecurity than physically.

Your digital assault surface consists of the following:

  • Known assets: Assets that have been inventoried and maintained, such as your company website, servers, and their dependencies.
  • Unknown assets: Also referred to as shadow IT or orphaned IT, include forgotten websites, marketing websites, and employee-installed software.
  • Rogue assets: Malicious infrastructure created by threat actors, such as malware, a typo squatted domain, or an impersonating website or mobile app.

Businesses now have attack surfaces that extend far beyond their internal network, all the way to third-party managed services and data centers, which are not covered by many conventional security measures such as penetration testing.

These attack surfaces extend beyond internal networks, but they are also several orders of magnitude greater than those of the ordinary firm. This is why data security and cybersecurity are becoming more critical.

Furthermore, many firms continually deploy and decommission new technology, certificates expire, frameworks need updating, and attackers discover new approaches.

Stay one step ahead of the threat actors with AttackMapper, which automatically discovers your growing attack surface.

Potential Weaknesses in the Digital Attack Surface

The following are some of the most general possible weaknesses on your digital attack surface:

  • Open ports that are not required: An open port is a TCP or UDP port number that has been set to receive packets. In comparison, a locked port either rejects or ignores connections. While unprotected ports are not always harmful, they may be. Open ports may be problematic if the service listening on the port is incorrectly configured, unpatched, exploitable, or has lax network security standards. Wormable ports exposed by default on specific operating systems are particularly dangerous, such as the SMB protocol, which was attacked by a zero-day bug dubbed EternalBlue to create the WannaCry ransomware worm.
  • Susceptibility to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks: A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a kind of cyber-attack in which an attacker relays and maybe modifies communication between two parties who think they are speaking directly. This situation enables the attacker to relay messages, listen in on conversations, and even manipulate what each person says.
  • Inadequate email security: Failure to implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC might expose your firm to email spoofing.
  • Susceptibility to domain hijacking: Domain hijacking is altering a domain name’s registration without the original owner’s consent or by abuse of domain hosting and domain registrar system credentials—more information regarding domain hijacking.
  • DNSSEC is a collection of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards for protecting some types of information given by the Domain Name System (DNS) when it is used over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.
  • Vulnerabilities: A vulnerability is a flaw that a cyber assault may exploit to obtain unauthorized access to or execute unauthorized activities on a computer system. Vulnerabilities enable attackers to manage code, access a computer’s memory, install malware and steal, delete, or change sensitive data.
  • Vulnerability to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks: Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a security flaw often discovered in online applications. XSS allows attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages seen by other users, allowing them to circumvent access control measures such as the same-origin policy.
  • Credentials leaked: Due to the high volume of third-party data breaches, most enterprises have exposed credentials. If workers do not update or reuse their passwords, this might be one of the most destructive attack routes to a business.
  • Data leaks: As cloud storage becomes increasingly prevalent, many firms unintentionally disclose critical data in S3 buckets, GitHub repositories, Rsnyc servers, and FTP servers, among others.
  • Domains that have been squatted: Typosquatting is a sort of cybersquatting in which someone registers domain names identical to those held by another brand or copyright holder, with the intent of exploiting internet users who input a website URL erroneously into their web browser rather than utilizing a search engine. Typosquatting is sometimes referred to as URL hijacking, domain impersonation, a sting operation, or a phony URL.

All of the security threats listed above are externally visible, and attackers discover them in real-time using a mix of penetration testing, web crawling, and automated scanning tools such as Kali Linux, Backbox, Metasploit, or Nmap.

The reality is that each device connected to the internet is a possible point of entry into your company. That is why security teams are increasingly investing in attack surface management systems such as SOCRadar, which continually monitor your organization’s security posture and its vulnerability to data breaches and leaks.

Protecting Your Attack Surface with SOCRadar and its Discovery Service

SOCRadar performs digital asset discovery by automatically scanning your external attack surface.
SOCRadar performs digital asset discovery by automatically scanning your external attack surface.

Because your infrastructure is dynamic, you will not be protected when things change, and it will not prevent security measures from failing or being misconfigured.

Even if an attacker discovers an exploit or weakness in one of your remaining internet-facing assets before you do, they may still harm by installing malware and ransomware or by instigating data breaches.

Many firms invest in real-time attack surface analysis and vulnerability management solutions, such as SOCRadar, which runs hundreds of separate checks daily and alerts you to any high-risk vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.

SOCRadar can monitor your organization’s security controls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and automatically discover spilled credentials and data exposures in S3 buckets, Rsync servers, and GitHub repositories, among other places.

By automating vendor questions and offering vendor questionnaire templates, SOCRadar can help your business spend less time analyzing linked and third-party information security measures.

Additionally, SOCRadar enables you to rapidly analyze your present and prospective providers against their industry to see how they compare.

The primary distinction between SOCRadar and other security rating companies is that our experience in avoiding data breaches and leaks is well-documented.

Discover SOCRadar® Free Edition

With SOCRadar® Free Edition, you’ll be able to:

  • Discover your unknown hacker-exposed assets
  • Check if your IP addresses tagged as malicious
  • Monitor your domain name on hacked websites and phishing databases
  • Get notified when a critical zero-day vulnerability is disclosed

Free for 12 months for 1 corporate domain and 100 auto-discovered digital assets. Get free access.