Defending your ever-changing attack surface

The very elements crucial for a business’s functionality and prosperity are also its greatest vulnerabilities from a cybersecurity standpoint. Emails, files, remote/hybrid work setups, and various devices and tools streamline business operations but also pose significant cybersecurity risks. These areas, where external factors come into play, are the least secure, representing vulnerabilities in your organisation’s attack surface.. Adding to the complexity, this surface is constantly changing, evolving with your business and the environment in which you operate. 

Defining an attack surface 

Simply put, an attack surface encompasses all vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers to enter a network. This includes physical vulnerabilities, such as a USB port where someone could plug in a malicious USB stick while an employee is away from their computer. It also includes network vulnerabilities, like open or unprotected ports, unpatched software, and avenues for phishing or social engineering attacks. 

Attack Surface Hotspots 

Typically, the attack surface hotspots within your IT infrastructure tend to be where end users interact with it, as these portions of the network, by design, must remain more open so as to not hinder functionality. 

Therefore, keeping open access to internet browsing for employees in most roles (such as those working or studying in educational institutions, to give just one example) is acceptable and encouraged, because of the net positives it creates. However, if individuals are browsing the web unimpeded, they run the risk of clicking on a malicious link – particularly without the right training or controls in place. 

Front-facing content such as an organisation’s website is another potential place where organisations remain vulnerable on the attack surface, as malicious activity deployed here (such as malvertising) could cast a wide net in terms o ..

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