The importance of external threat intelligence in the fight against cybercriminals.
The status quo
Digital transformation, digitization, and hyper-connected enterprise architectures are not new and have been around for more than a decade. Enter the pandemic and something has changed– it is now slowly becoming the status quo. It is the increased importance (now a matter of survival), scale, and the pace at which organizations are undergoing operational transformation across all verticals and geographies.
Today, this shifted focus has increased the possibilities of an enterprises' critical information and key digital assets being exposed in the open with them unaware of it. This exposure, if not effectively managed, could add to the already challenging and pressing issues of today’s enterprises, with ever new cyber threats from cybercriminals.
The further sections will focus on some key nuances related to cybersecurity and what constitutes an enterprises’ digital footprint and the associated risks from its exposure via digital transformation. Let’s dive right in.
What is there to worry about?
Enterprises are embracing digital technologies faster than ever in all forms and shapes. Be it enabling remote working, accelerated digitization of business, or reaching out to their customers through innovative direct-to-consumer channels. Sounds all good, doesn’t it? But is there something about this increasing digital footprint that we should be worried about? Before we answer that, let us take a step back to first define what constitutes an enterprises’ digital footprint.
Think of it this way. If I tell you a person’s name along with their employer name and city of residence, and task you to find additional details such as past education, date of birth etc., would you be able to find these details? In all likelihood, yes. This information can be easily gathered through social media profiles or some paid third-party sources over the internet. All such digital places put together, where any information available can be linked back to our entity constitutes their digital footprint.
Now think of it from an enterprise’s perspective, which has thousands of employees working from disparate locations with each identity and each digital asset contributing to the overall digital footprint of that enterprise. This footprint and, its associated risks, are bound to significantly grow as the digital activity of that particular entity increases.
But wait. What are these digital assets that an enterprise should constantly manage and stay on the lookout for? These assets constitute an enterprise’s IP ranges, domains in use, associated brand names, social media handles, VIPs, sensitive documents, infrastructure details, mobile applications, BIN numbers, etc. Simply put, it is any information that can be related to a particular organization or individual, the exposure of which can assist a cybercriminal to plan a highly targeted, full-scale attack.
The other side of the coin
Long before an actual cyber threat is executed, an adversary will likely begin by actively or passively exploring all the available sources, including the deep and dark web, to gather information specific to its target that can be used to operationalize a future attack. Technically, this is known as the “reconnaissance” phase in an attack cycle. Such information is often related to an enterprise’s digital assets that have already been exposed by some means.
Thus, it becomes imperative for an enterprise not just to make it difficult for an adversary to get hold of such intel, but also proactively and continuously assess their cybersecurity,digital exposures, and the risks associated with it continually.
It is time to know what you don’t know
The need of the hour for any digitally motivated enterprise is access to customized external threat intelligence, which can monitor your exposure across the surface as well as the deep and dark web, and also deliver alerts on risks and threats that are relevant and verified in context to your environment.
In the following parts of this blog series, we will explore what external threat intelligence is and how it is different in its approach to more traditional threat intelligence. This will also include sharing an ideal approach for managing, prioritizing, and mitigating digital risks to stay resilient against cyber threats amid increasing digitization and enterprise-level digital transformation.
To understand how HCL can help in assessing your digital exposure and protecting your key assets, please visit our website- Cybersecurity & GRC Services.