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Pentest, Red Teams, and Attack Surface Intelligence

Covering Your Blind Spots

Liza Kurtz
Post by Liza Kurtz Aug 21, 2020

Creating a robust security system involves building on your strengths and carefully analyzing your weaknesses. It is also crucial to know the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. In cybersecurity, enemies can be defined as “threat actors” working as groups, individuals, or as an entity solely aiming at exploiting your organization’s security.  

See what your hackers see! 

Without the right approach and tools, organizations are left with blind spots beyond their firewall. Pentest, red teams, and attack surface intelligence are designed to help organizations look beyond the firewall. Are your blind spots covered?

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Cyber Threats: Can You See Your Enemies? 

We’ve come to terms with the fact that we need both, an inside-out and an outside-in view to secure our brand from cyber threats. To continue remaining secured, we need to see what our firewalls see, and what comes through the SIEM. What about everything else, beyond the firewall? Everything “out there”.  

Specialized activities such as penetration (pentest) testing, red team exercises, and attack surface monitoring (ASM) deliver invaluable outside-in view to organizations. That’s a hacker’s perspective of your digital risk exposure. All three activities expose the things threat actors look for, and things security tools might miss, like issues with domains, ports, certificates, common misconfigurations, and vulnerabilities.   

So, which should you use, and when?  

Pen testing (“been there, done that”?)  

The idea behind pen testing is to find as many ways to compromise your infrastructure as possible. Since it’s best that testers don’t know their way around the system, companies usually engage contractors to “hack” away using brute-force attacks, SQL injections, social engineering techniques (email, phishing), or dedicated boxes used to achieve remote access.    

Pentest have been around a while and come in various flavors. White box, black box, and covert approaches that can involve, or surprise your team to varying degrees; with testing focused on exposure itself versus seeing how much damage hackers can do once they gain access.  

Red Teams (“still here, still doing that”)  

Some companies also hire “ethical hackers” or dedicated experts to break into their infrastructure. It’s an exercise to check how far they can go once they get past defenses. Red team exercises may be narrower in scope, focusing on specific vulnerabilities to achieve specific goals. This can include compromising databases or personally identifiable information (PII) like credit card or social security numbers. 

These exercises may include pen testing as well as attempting to physically breach the system (via phone lines, modems, wireless, industrial devices). Red teams typically need specialized training and considerable orchestration.  

A growing number of enterprises now devote skilled SOC or SecOps resources to red teaming as a next step or complement to pen testing. Both approaches add valuable intelligence into risk, but the insight ends when the testing ends. If a port gets left open, a workload moves to the cloud, a certificate expires, or someone makes a simple configuration error an hour later, a brand-new weakness is created.  

ASI: What to do next—and keep on doing 

A newer approach called attack surface management (ASM) introduces the idea of continuous coverage for ongoing visibility and protection. Rooted in automation, ASM employs AI-based platforms to monitor external risk associated with domains, vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and other digital exposure.   

Netenrich recently raised the bar for ASM with its new Attack Surface Intelligence (ASI) combining AI-led discovery with high-touch analyst reporting and remediation strategies. Part of our Threat & Attack Surface Intelligence suite, ASI also integrates proprietary insight from our Knowledge NOW (KNOW) free global threat intelligence. The integration of ASI and KNOW speeds resolution of digital risk and threat landscape management both in real-time and over time.   

ASI doesn’t just generate more data that creates even more work for your team. Netenrich delivers outcome-driven Resolution Intelligence that makes insights more personal and immediately actionable.   

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Steering Clear from Cyber Attacks 

Threat levels in cyber attacks are only increasing. Rather than being reactive, organizations need a proactive approach to steer clear from cyber attacksPentest, red teams, and ASI are designed to help you cover your blind spots and have an upper hand over the hackers. It is estimated that by 2021, the damages resulting from cybercrime will be $6 trillion.  

Reports also suggest that over 60% of exploited vulnerabilities already had a path. Rather than waiting for a cyber tragedy to happen, it’s wise to invest in security measures. Every organization may not be equipped with a huge budget for security, but choosing the right solution is a key.   

ASI provides 24/7 coverage for 25% of the cost   

While straight-up comparisons between pentest, Red Teams, and ASI get tricky—and ideally you might use them all—consider the “pros” and “cons” of each where resources are limited. The cost of regular pen testing – modest testing on a bi-weekly basis or extensive testing on a quarterly basis – can easily run $250K per year. By comparison, ASI provides continuous coverage at up to 75 percent lower cost.  

With no setup required, coverage stays in force to help shrink your attack surface and promote faster response and a proactive stance over time.   

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See for yourself. Try ASI now FREE.  

To experience the advantage of continuous coverage, try Netenrich ASI free for 30 days. You’ll receive an attack surface scan, access to the intelligence portal and dashboards, and expert analyst insights to address your most critical risks first.  

See first and act fast to shrink your attack surface while saving time and money. Trials are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying enterprises, so don’t wait



Liza Kurtz

About the Author

Liza Kurtz

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