In simple terms, Attack surface is the number of ways that how attacker can attack your network. A maximum number of loophole or vulnerabilities means maximum number of surface to attack. The vulnerabilities and loopholes can be decreased if you code the application neatly by meeting all the parameters that define a secure software correctly.

But new technologies like Cloud computing, Digital network etc. have resolved their parameters. These are enhancing the attack surface exponentially. The best example of increasing attack surface is IoT (Internet of things), because of IoT all the devices are connecting to the network which is opening the wide-area for cybercriminals. All device which is connected to the network is subject to a cyber attack.

We can just minimize our attack surface so that the attacker will not find any loophole for the attack. So here are some ways to minimize the attack surface area.

Visualize The Vulnerability to Reduce Attack Surface

There is a lot of vulnerability scanner which can give a list of vulnerability present in your network, with the score of vulnerability. But, there is no tool which tells how an attacker can exploit your network with this vulnerability and how you can patch it by changing your parameter. There are three methods that can greatly assist with this.

surface attack
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/e_kaspersky/6288741234

1. Model an attack

Create a real model as an attack.

  • The primary target for the attacker and assets used by the attacker for attacking a network.
  • Network topologies from where an attacker can find the path to the vulnerable asset.
  • Check policies of your network which depict that what access is granted for user.

2. Simulation of an attack

Find the ways how an attacker can exploit the vulnerabilities, by exploiting on our own.

3. Patch simulated vulnerabilities

Check in the policy that which vulnerability has the greatest impact on the network. Then focus on reducing the bigger vulnerabilities first, which have bigger impact on network.

Eliminate Complexity to Minimize the Attack Surface

It is one of the best solutions for reducing the attack surface, by reducing the complexity of the network. Complexity can also result in incomplete information during rule creation which can lead to:

  • Duplicate rules
  • Old rules that are no more used now

Unnecessary complexity leads to human error and risk.

Make Sections in the Network

Your network may have all the security in it. But, then also segmenting the network makes sense because when someone attacks that attacker has to bypass different segments for accessing the different information. It is effective in reducing the attack surface for the attacker by increasing the barriers in the network.

By breaking the network in different chunks will not only help in becoming a barrier for an attacker in the attack. But it also hides a network from an attacker or takes more time for searching the data in different networks. It’s like putting the sand on the road which decreases the speed of the attacker and can also drift it which means the attacker will not be able to find that specific network which it is looking for.

Also, Read | Cyber Incident Response, Handling- Who Should You Hire?

Time to Time Analysis

The final stage for reducing the attack surface is time to time analysis. From which you will get updated that what is going on in your network from where the malicious login or files are coming and you can block that IP or region. It can leads to decreasing risk score.

More ways of minimizing your attack surface ? (Add in the comment section below)

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