Awareness of the potential paths a cybercriminal could use to gain entry to your network and data can go a long way into helping to keep it secure.

All the various points through which threat actors can infiltrate a computer, network, system, application or end user are what makeup the attack surface of a network. These surfaces are typically divided into three types: Digital Attack Surfaces, Physical Attack Surfaces and Social Engineering Attack Surfaces.

Digital Attack Surfaces are virtual and often exploited via software vulnerabilities, malware, weak passwords and outdated software.

Physical Attack Surfaces are tangible and can include all the devices that an attacker can physically access such as laptops, desktops,mobile devices, portable hard drives and USB ports.

Social Engineering Attack Surfaces are human vulnerabilities that rely on manipulating users in attempt to get them to share and compromise company or personal data, such as phishing.

Collectively, each web application, device, component or end user connected to a network expands the attack surface of that network.

Managing and Reducing your attack surfaces

Monitoring your network and using security best practices can help to manage and reduce your attack surface. Other suggestions include:

Control Access – Limit access to sensitive data,resources and systems. Ensure that physical infrastructure such as servers and networking equipment are housed in locations with secured access. Enforce strong password polices, implement multi-factor authentication wherever possible.

Network Security – Secure your network with firewalls, intrusion detection systems and encryption to help protect against unauthorized access.

Physical and Environmental Controls - Implement access control measures such as key card systems and surveillance cameras to restrict physical access. Environmental controls like fire suppression system sand climate control can help safeguard physical assets.

Remove Complexities – Removing unused or unnecessary software and features can help to reduce the number of potential attack surfaces.

Keep Software Updated – Ensure operating systems,applications and other software are updated to patch known vulnerabilities.

Train Employees – Help employees learn to recognize and avoid social engineering attacks by utilizing phishing campaigns and requiring annual cybersecurity training.

Check back soon for our next blog post! We will be taking an in-depth look at attack vectors and providing you with information and tips to help you recognize and avoid them.