Why It’s Time to Map the Digital Attack Surface

Around a year ago a cyberattack on a little-known US oil pipeline thrust ransomware into the media spotlight and grabbed the attention of the White House. The ensuing months saw a flurry of government efforts designed to improve the security posture of global organizations, with cyber risk management planted firmly front-and-center of recommended best practices.

The cybercriminals responsible for breaching Colonial Pipeline may have unintentionally done a great deal of good for the security community. But recognizing the importance of risk management and putting it into practice are two different things.

Where should organizations start? The answer lies with mapping and understanding the digital attack surface. Unfortunately, as new Trend Micro research reveals, only half (51%) have been able to do so, with many more identifying major visibility gaps.

What is the digital attack surface?

The attack surface is comprised of all the digital assets that could be compromised by remote or local threat actors. This includes:

Laptops and PCs IoT endpoints Mobile/web apps and websites Remote desktop protocol (RDP) endpoints Virtual private networks (VPNs) Servers Cloud services Supply chain infrastructure and services

Attacks target these via a wide variety of tools and techniques—from phishing to vulnerability exploitation. And once inside networks, they may move laterally to other parts of the attack surface. Trend Micro’s 2021 roundup report reveals just how exposed organizations are today.

Visibility is tough

There’s an adage in cybersecurity which is relevant here: you can’t protect what you

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