Attack surface analysis or attack surface mapping is a process of finding out the parts and systems of your organization that is vulnerable to attack. This also includes mapping out these parts for testing. This helps the organization to locate security threats, find vulnerable parts, and map out a crisis plan to minimize any attack.
Usually, attack surface analysis was done by security architects and penetration testers. However, now attack surface management softwares are highly popular and are far more intelligent and accurate than any human analysis.
A viable attack surface management software will help in proactively monitor the company’s system and alert in case of any penetration threats.
Need for attack surface analysis
Attack surface analysis is an essential part of checking the security systems of the organization. Below are some of the points that indicate the importance of attack surface analysis.
- To identify and locate the vulnerable parts in a system
- To identify any high-risk areas that need immediate analysis and defense security
- Any changes in the infrastructure of the system will include risk management assessment and attack surface analysis play a crucial role in finding any unattended security holes in the system.
- It can also be used to prevent threats from IoT, legacy, and any shadow assets.
- Human mistakes can be avoided by doing attack surface analysis with the aid of any software
- Outdated softwares can be easily identified
- Identify and recover any unknown open source
- Prevent any high-end and large scale attacks on your organization
- Prevent any cyber threats
Defining the attack surface of an organization
The total number of attack vectors in your system is termed as an attack surface. These attack vectors are the loopholes through which the cybercriminal can penetrate your system and steal any data.
Below are some of the pointers you need to keep in mind when trying to define an attack surface
- Check all the paths in which sensitive data comes in and does out of your organization
- Check all the security points that the sensitive data needs to cross. These points might be data validation, encoding, and authentication
- All the valuable data assets that are used internally. For e.g, personal information, PHI, security keys, and intellectual property
- All the operational security controls including encryption, data integrity, etc.
How to reduce your attack surface
- Close unnecessary ports that are kept open
Open ports are not a major threat. However, they can become one of the services listening on the port that is interpreted by a third-party. This will make the open port vulnerable to exploits. Even if the port has poor network security, it may turn to be an attack surface.
- Reduce the man-in-the-middle risks
To reduce the man-in-the-middle security attack, make sure to check the following
- Check if the SSL is valid
- If the HTTP is accessible
- Hostname and the SSL is compatible
- Proper SSL certificate
- Do not have an expired SSL certificate
- A strong SSL algorithm
- Appropriate security for email communication
Maintain strong SPF, DKIM, and DMARC values to escape from any email security threats.
- Make sure to monitor your IP addresses and active domains
Often domain hijacking is something that happens to expired domains or IP addresses. Also, make sure to auto-renew your expired domain and enable domain register detection.
- Use vulnerability management
Reporting, processing, prioritizing, evaluating any security threats in computers, data servers, web servers, or any pertaining software is known as vulnerability management. It is extremely important to keep your vulnerability check to the point by evaluating it repeatedly.
- Monitor any third party security breaching
Third-part breaching usually happens because of the reused passwords and weak data security. This is one of the most dangerous attack vectors.
- Monitor for any data leaks
Any third-party branches where you secure your data might subject to potential data leaks. Some of the third-party branches might include Github, FTP servers, or other cloud storage services.
- Inspect your DNS records
DNS records are a crucial element that holds quite a lot of beneficial information about your organization’s domain, subdomain, email service providers, and much more.
- Remove any redundant software that is unnecessary
Check for services that are unused and remove it as soon as possible. Make sure to close any unnecessary or unused open ports or expired softwares and domains.
To escape from any security threats, make sure to audit your entire system frequently. Auditing is also one of the oldest methods to find any indicators that compromise security. It can also help to locate any outdated software or unprotected systems.