To catch a thief, you need to think like a thief. Yes, it's cliche, but it's true – especially for those in the InfoSec community trying to match wits with attackers.
Unfortunately, many security teams approach the problem the other way around. Instead of seeing their attack surfaces through a hacker's lens to fortify their weaknesses proactively, they invest in reactive strategies. These investments take an outdated inside-out approach to security, leaving a massive gap in an organization's defenses. This gap, which hackers these days are exploiting on a daily basis, leads to not only grave damages but also a prevailing lack of confidence in the tools employed by these security teams.
To better interact with customers and employees, most organizations are growing in digital channels, creating a complex attack surface that spans from the traditional network all the way across the internet. Traditional security programs fail to address a new wave of digital threats that target this attack surface, all the internet-facing sites, mobile apps, social media profiles, servers and third-party components running on these assets.
Without an evolving, comprehensive security strategy that accounts for internet-facing assets usually neglected by firewalled security programs, mistakes and missed opportunities are inevitable.
Taking an attacker's-eye view of your vulnerabilities
Whenever skilled attackers decide to attack a network, the first phase is normally reconnaissance. They either scan a network looking for vulnerabilities or do penetration testing by hand, trying to get an inside look at individual systems that can be easily attacked or exploited.
By using tools that mirror your organization's digital landscape and give you a hacker's-eye view, you can begin shoring up the most vulnerable areas of your attack surface.
To make the most of these types of resources, you need people within your organization who understand how to leverage these platforms efficiently. If no one on your team is in a position to do that right now, it's worth investing in the necessary training to bring your analysts up to speed. Depending on your current team's capabilities, you may need to recruit additional specialists who understand the changing threat landscape and know which tools to apply to your unique security risks.
Finding the right experts for your company
These issues are hot-button topics and feature prominently among researchers' presentations and articles. You should cultivate a team of analysts who have not only a unique knowledge of cyber risks, but also a deep understanding of your organization's industry and economic sectors. Broad-spectrum cybersecurity is important, but it's the deep industry expertise that will give your company an edge over malicious actors.
Once you have the right team in place, those experts can begin assessing your network as a hacker would. They can then determine which tools are most relevant to your organization's security risks.
Choosing the right security solution
Finding the right tools for your security strategy ultimately comes down to your company's unique risks and priorities. But there are some general guidelines that will set you on the right track.
Ideally, the platform you choose will be able to discover all internet-facing sites, devices, IPs, hosting providers, service providers and affiliates connected to the organization, as well as websites and social media references and mentions. Meet with several different companies to gauge their offerings and the level of training and support they provide before deciding on one. Although it can take some time to identify the right vendor, there are solutions that will support your company's goals.
Once you find the appropriate platform, your team will be able to get ahead of hackers by seeing what they see. This gives them unique insights into the network they've been tasked with defending, and it gives them the advantage of cutting off threat actors before they can launch an attack.