Hackers continue to evolve their attack methods to capitalize on weaknesses in the external networks of governments and organizations worldwide. External vulnerability scans assess the surface area your network presents to the world and the larger internet. They are critical to taking a proactive IT security approach to protecting your business from cyber threats.
What Is External Vulnerability Scanning?
An external vulnerability scan views your network through the lens of a hacker. This approach scans external IP addresses and domains to search for vulnerabilities within your internet-facing infrastructure. Through this exercise, one can better understand the strength of your externally facing services and help you identify the following:
- Vulnerabilities within your perimeter defenses
- Ports open and exposed to the internet
- Any threats accompanying new servers or services
How Do External Network Threats Impact Your Business?
External vulnerability scans detect potential vulnerabilities within your organization’s perimeter security or cloud-based applications that an internet-based attacker could exploit to access or affect your network. Such attacks often lead to:
- Business disruptions and downtime
- Damage to or inability to access business-critical systems and/or data
- Stolen privileged or proprietary information (e.g., financial information, client data, IP, etc.)
- Deployment of malware used to exploit an organization, long-term
- Abuse of an organization’s trust and credibility by hackers to exploit its customers and vendors
External Vulnerability Exploit Areas
Examples of vulnerabilities we see are unsecured internet-enabled security cameras, outdated firewall firmware and misconfigured firewalls. Once a hacker gains access inside your network, there are myriad damaging actions they can take. They can perform a lateral movement, using access and privileges to compromise a different system or account that has a higher value potential. Or, if the attacker is already in a good position inside your network environment and wants to sit and watch, they can monitor your activity, looking for exploitable processes or users. Once an attractive opportunity presents itself, the cyber-criminal will make their move. There have been instances where attackers have been inside a victim’s environment for years before acting. Routinely conducting external vulnerability scans to identify vulnerable internet-facing devices and remediating any major risks is critical to protecting your business network.
Benefits of External Vulnerability Scans
The frequency of external vulnerability scans depends on your organization’s unique risk tolerance and compliance needs. It is important to work with a qualified team of IT network and security experts who have the resources to generate and deliver reports revealing:
- Internal network IP addresses
- Active listening network services were detected for each address
- Active, high-risk network service security vulnerabilities for priority remediation
External vulnerability scans provide detailed insights into the weaknesses of your network perimeter and are essential to understanding and mitigating potential risks. Routine scanning is also key to maintaining an up-to-date list of the new servers or services added to your network and any potential threats that may accompany these additions.
For more information on how External Vulnerability Scans can and will protect your business, email Info@BTSMaine.com or call 207-443-9554.