What are digital assets and how to stop them from being exploited?

The cyber-world is full of digital assets expanded across attack surfaces and cybercriminals have their eyes on them to exploit security vulnerabilities. This helps them attempt phishing and malware attacks which cause brand abuse. 

IT-driven companies must be aware of their critical digital assets and perform continuous asset discovery exercises to stay protected from such attacks. This blog explains ways to stop your digital assets from being exploited by cybercriminals.

What are Digital Assets?

Digital assets refer to any valuable information or data that is stored digitally and is uniquely identifiable that your company can use to realize value. Common examples include videos, audio, graphic design resources, source codings, websites, and other data that provide value to your company or its employees and are stored digitally.

The primary difference between digital assets and physical assets is that the former is intangible and the latter can be touched. You must identify your company’s IT attack surface and take time to understand what all identify as digital assets and how you should protect them from being exploited by threat actors.

An attack surface is defined as the sum total of vulnerabilities and pathways that cybercriminals can exploit to attempt cyber attacks on your technical infrastructure. Their aim is to steal or intercept confidential data, crash systems and online services, disable devices, covertly monitor your activities, etc. 

What is Cloud Asset Management?

Cloud asset management is a service that involves tracking every aspect of your company’s cloud estate, managing the maintenance drills, compliance, and assessment of your cloud asset inventory. It enables you to re-establish independent control over your cloud environment, giving your IT team the bandwidth to streamline efforts towards optimizing and protecting the cloud infrastructure. 

Its key benefits are:

Cloud Inventory Accuracy

It helps you get expanded inventory information that can be used to devise strategies to safeguard cloud assets. This also helps you steer clear of unnecessary spending.

Automation

Cloud asset management services use automated tools to instantly manage the asset discovery processes and provide you with real-time inventory information. This eliminates the chances of human error and saves time.

Security Assurance

It fixes vulnerabilities upon detection with no human intervention which ensures minimal security gaps. 

Why Should You Protect Your Digital Assets?

Lookalike domains, malware injections, phishing, and MITM attacks can derail your business and be fatal to future growth possibilities. Here’s how a security breach can impact your digital assets:

Reputational Damage

Data leaks and data breaches put your customers’ and stakeholders’ trust at risk. They hesitate to re-engage with your brand and this devalues your worth in the market. 

Increased Churn Rate

Your customers will rethink before making transactions with your business if there’s a fear of cyber security lapse. This increases the churn rate and can be detrimental to business growth.

Financial Loss

You’ll have to spend money on containing the spread of viruses and other malware whilst also getting hit by lower sales and a bad customer retention rate. If you are a victim of a ransomware attack, you’ll potentially need to pay a big sum of money to get access to your data.

Legal Issues

Your organization can land into serious legal troubles if you fail to protect the data and privacy of your customers and prospects. You may even receive a fine of up to 10 million Euros or 2% of your global annual turnover.

Ways to Stop Your Digital Assets from Being Weaponized

The ever-expanding digital landscape has increased the compliance risk for companies and that’s why it has become more critical than ever to take measures to stop your digital assets from being weaponized. Let’s see how can you do it:

  1. Define Asset Categories

Digital assets are a database that is stored digitally and is intangible. These are always categorized as high risk since many people can access them. You need to ensure no new data or file goes unnoticed while performing continuous asset discovery checks. You ease the digital and cloud asset management process by creating groups of your digital assets and dividing them into certain categories.

  1. Take Inventory of Operating Systems

Grouping assets by their operating systems lets you get answers to important questions like; How many employees are using the old versions of computers? How many employees are using Apple versus Windows software? This helps you understand patch management, updating software, or replacing devices with newer versions. 

  1. Get to Know Common Processes

Assess the processes and identify redundant technologies that waste resources and can be prone to exploitation. Your cybersecurity team must know the top active system operations across the attack surface and understand baseline activities. So, in case of abnormalities, they can detect threats and take adequate measures to mitigate the effects. Logo detection is one such process that helps uncover illegitimate use of your brand’s assets.

  1. Wrangle Software Installations

Work on uncovering security loopholes in your IT structure by knowing about the dispersal of commonly installed assets across your network. Having a clear and expanded overview of the software installation structure helps your IT team cross-check with known vulnerabilities to prevent phishing and brand abuse.

  1. Learn Where Your Assets are Located

If you know the exact location of your digital assets, your security team can assess the risks easily upon asset discovery and deploy measures to counteract attack vectors used by cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in your attack surface. The difference between attack surface vs attack vector is that the former is the sum total of vulnerabilities in an IT structure and the latter refers to any means by which cybercriminals can exfiltrate the structure.

  1. Learn Risk Trends

Observe how your company’s risk posture alters week by week. New vulnerabilities keep on emerging and thus the IT team should be aware of all the threat posture changes to stay abreast of bad actors. 

  1. Personalize your Approach to Risks

There’s no blueprint designed to secure every type of company’s IT structure. You need to understand what kind of approach fits your cyber threat intelligence efforts best. Red Sift’s Hardenize can help you discover and monitor your network perimeter for the best security configurations. In addition to this, it’s vital that you invest in regular employee cybersecurity training drills to mitigate the impact of attacks.

  1. Group and Prioritize Risks

Attacking techniques and threats are ever-evolving. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their approach which makes it harder to stay one step ahead of them. However, categorically managing risks by family, name, and risk score enables your team to tackle messy situations before it’s too late.

Discover and monitor your network perimeter with Hardenize

We support you by continuously monitoring your entire network perimeter with fresh data and combining scanning of domains, hostnames, and IP addresses to shield your IT structure. Find out how Hardenize can help you secure, manage, and streamline your attack surface and digital assets.

PUBLISHED BY

Red Sift

12 Jul. 2023

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