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02 Oct 2023

EASM: Keeping Cybercriminals Out of Your Network

An organisation’s network is complicated. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of hidden entry points that are attractive in routes for malicious actors. External Attack Surface Management (EASM) is the key to bridging that gap, and helping organisations manage the risks associated with internet-facing assets.

How effective are your security measures, if you don’t know what you’re protecting? Vulnerabilities in your external attack surface can be found in email servers, public-facing web servers, and unmanaged IT assets. A good EASM solution will give you an up-to-date and central inventory of your assets, with risk-based scoring to help you with your remediation prioritization. Here are the most common external attack surface vulnerabilities that an EASM solution can manage and mitigate.

Misconfigured Access Controls

Worryingly, statistics show that over a quarter of business leaders say that misconfiguration is the main issue facing their organisation. Misconfiguration came higher in the survey than prominent concerns such as compromised accounts and exposed data. This trend is likely to grow as cloud adoption continues to increase.

Weak Network Perimeters

When we think of high-profile attacks in recent years, SolarWinds is often referenced. The highly sophisticated SolarWinds breach compromised the data, networks, and systems of thousands, including government agencies across the world. Malicious actors compromised the SolarWinds Orion software by inserting a vulnerability into the software’s updates. The reason it wrecked so much havoc? Weak network perimeters and lack of monitoring tools.

Phishing and social engineering

Statistics reveal that social engineering attacks are highly effective and profitable avenues for hackers – and they’re on the rise. We often forget to properly consider the human element of cybersecurity when creating strong security postures. However, the human element makes up the overwhelming majority of cyber incidents, despite increased cybersecurity training efforts. In fact, the World Economic Forum found that 95% of cybersecurity incidents occurred due to human error.

EASM Best Practices

So, where should organisations start with protecting themselves? It’s evident that we need to take a modern approach that can scale and evolve with an ever-changing threat landscape.  

Here are some best practices for EASM organisations should be mindful of:

  • Being Proactive: don’t wait for weaknesses to pop up. Instead, vulnerabilities should be sought out in real time. This includes continuously scanning and monitoring for threats. The earlier the detection the easier it is to patch.
  • Educate, educate, educate: As always, educating employees is a great first step for raising awareness and reducing the risk of the accidental insider threat. It also empowers employees to notify when things don’t look right or when anomalies are spotted.
  • Prompt Patching: A simple way to circumvent risk is to make sure software is always kept up to date.
  • Reevaluate Your Tools: Sometimes legacy tools and software just can’t cut it when it comes to modern threats. By regularly taking stock of your tools, you can reduce risk and eliminate costly tools that aren’t cutting it.

When it comes to EASM, being proactive is key. Understanding your environment, constantly monitoring for threats and understanding the evolving threat landscape are great places to start when it comes to a robust EASM security posture.  

Outpost24’s EASM solution provides the essential awareness of an organisation's threat landscape by incorporating attack surface scoring to determine security posture. Through continuous monitoring of assets, vulnerabilities, and configurations it enables organisations to proactively reduce risk and evolve and adapt to emerging threats. Request a free attack surface analysis with Outpost24 today, or visit the Outpost24 team at International Cyber Expo (Stand ADS and the techUK Pavilion).

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