What is an Attack Surface?
The attack surface is the space that the cyber criminal attacks or breaches. It encompasses the entire “surface area” of an organisation that is vulnerable to malicious threats and includes the total number of possible access points where a cyber intruder can gain access to your network and assets.
Naturally the smaller the attack surface, the easier it is to protect. However, with digital transformation, networks are growing in size, and with new technology networks are becoming progressively more complex. This brings increased opportunities for cyber breaches, so organisations must focus their cyber security strategy on reducing their attack surface.
Your attack surface can be split into two categories:
- Physical surface: all endpoint devices such as desktop computers, laptops, hard drives, USB drives, mobile devices, and any smart/IoT device that connects to your network. And lets not forget human users too because they are often viewed as your weakest link.
- Digital surface: all the hardware and software that connect to an organisation’s network, such as code, ports, servers, and websites. With these comes multiple entry points that can lead to vulnerabilities. Weak passwords, unpatched updates, poorly maintained software, default settings, all offer an entry point for a cyber intruder.
What is an Attack Vector?
An attack vector is the method that a cyber criminal uses to gain unauthorised access to your network. Methods such as phishing, malware, ransomware, compromised passwords are all attack vectors used by cyber criminals.
How can you reduce your attack surface and stop attack vectors succeeding?
With the use of cyber security tools and platforms, managed by experienced cyber security analysts, you can mitigate both current and future threats.
Here’s our top 5 recommendations for reducing your attack surface:
- Scan for vulnerabilities inside & outside: Organisations must constantly monitor their attack surface to identify and block potential threats as quickly as possible. A SIEM platform lets you rapidly find and fix security threats throughout your network. If you don’t have the resources in house for constant monitoring, Infosec Partners offer a 24/7 Managed SIEM and SOC (security operations centre) service where our analysts identify and qualify incident alerts on your behalf, to quickly neutralise actual cyber attacks.
- Undertake advanced threat hunting: As a starter for 10, an EDR (endpoint detection and response) platform/solution proactively monitors endpoint devices, undertakes advanced threat hunting, providing increased detection, investigation, and response capabilities. Infosec partners recommend that organisations extend their detection and response capabilities to include their whole infrastructure – endpoints, networks, and cloud services. An XDR (extended) detection and response platform encompasses broader network monitoring capabilities and is a must for organisations of all sizes. Both EDR and XDR can be provided as a managed service by an MSSP such as ourselves.
- Take a Zero Trust Approach: Organisations are now recognising that they need to keep ‘risks’ out of their network’s extended perimeter. The best way to do this is to adopt a Zero Trust Network Access approach (ZTNA), where all requests to access both the network and its INDIVIDUAL assets are vetted and validated, each time per session, BEFORE access is granted. Zero Trust Network Access solutions enable this, and our highly trained security consultants are recognised as having specific expertise in designing, implementing and managing Zero Trust Network Access solutions.
- Manage your Firewalls: Firewalls are often the first line of defence in safeguarding a business from malicious threats. Effective firewall management requires a significant amount of expertise, time and budget. If you don’t have the necessary resources in house, a managed firewall solution will deliver the operational protection required for your network, infrastructure and end users.
- Reinforce employee awareness and engagement: Humans are far more vulnerable than technology, and over 90% of security incidents are caused by lack of staff awareness. Building a Human Firewall is by far the biggest and most effective defence against cybercrime. Delivering a continual programme of relevant and timely cyber security awareness training is essential.
Does Your Organisation Need Cyber Security Support?
Do you need help to reduce your attack surface? Infosec Partners works as a trusted part of your team. Whether you’re looking for 24×7 complete managed security or an on-call expert advisor, we offer a range of consultancy, training and managed security services to complement your internal team and existing resources. Get in touch for more information.