Vulnerability scanners help scan known assets, but what about the assets you don’t know exist?  

Attack surface sprawl is a growing challenge with 76% of organizations experiencing some type of cyberattack that started through the exploit of an unknown, unmanaged, or poorly managed internet-facing asset.1 The constant expansion of attack surfaces has made the need for visibility into potentially unknown attack surfaces more important than ever.  

Pairing vulnerability scanners with attack surface management (ASM) gives security teams high-fidelity analysis and prioritization of assets and exposures, while limiting noise and false positives commonly associated with technology-only platforms.

Why vulnerability scanners aren’t enough 

The issue lies in the fact that vulnerability scanners can only scan entities you tell them to. Vulnerability assessments operate on a tactical level, often treated as commodities where you acquire a scanner and direct it toward known targets.  

Vulnerability scanners rely on a policy that defines the scope and dictates where the scanner should focus its efforts, whether that’s on targets, networks, or assets. Without this essential step, the scanner lacks the intelligence to identify assets, as its sole purpose is to scan what it’s told to. Vulnerability scanning on its own is an output of potential issues; the tool can’t go out and find assets you haven’t explicitly told it to find. That’s where NetSPI ASM comes in. 

How NetSPI Attack Surface Management covers gaps

The beauty of ASM is its ability to uncover what’s unknown. This aspect is crucial as it offers a more strategic approach compared to traditional vulnerability assessments. When transitioning to ASM, security experts conduct specific operations to identify elements such as subsidiaries and various IPs associated with the organization. Through these efforts, previously undiscovered assets come to light that had been omitted from scanning and thus excluded entirely from a vulnerability assessment program. 

Vulnerability scanners paired with NetSPI ASM enrich the assets, ensuring the scope of your scan is comprehensive.  

Leveraging technology, intelligence, and expertise for Proactive Security 

The advanced technology behind NetSPI ASM combines with our security experts to deliver the most comprehensive view of external attack surfaces. Our deep visibility helps you understand specific risks to your business so your team can spend less time sifting through alerts or responding to false positives. With the full force of NetSPI in your corner, you can navigate rapid innovation with confidence, while protecting the trust you’ve worked so hard to build. 

How do we go about enriching asset discovery?  

We research multiple data sources to identify external-facing assets, utilizing a combination of human intelligence and third-party services in our research, a task that a vulnerability scanner could never accomplish on its own. 

For example, we use a blend of various OSINT, proprietary and commercial sources, and techniques to continuously search the internet to identify your entire attack surface. This process is a collection of items including, but not limited to business and legal structures, domains, and IP addresses.  

Our team performs exposure identification by:  

  • Port scanning  
  • Certificate scanning  
  • DNS scanning / querying  
  • Sub-domain brute forcing  
  • Web application scanning  
  • SNMP queries  
  • UDP scanning  
  • TCP scanning  
  • Taking screenshots, grabbing banners  
  • API-queries of cloud configured could environments 

We utilize active and passive techniques to continuously identify the existence of exposures on assets. Active discovery is performed on all identified assets for ports, technologies, certificates, vulnerabilities, DNS records, etc., while passive discovery is performed through integrations with data feeds that allow us to enrich data found through active discovery.  

This detailed information gathering leads to high-quality findings, allowing us to report only on true positives, with highly documented verification steps and remediation instructions. We provide detailed validation and evidence verification, so you only receive the true positives that matter the most to accelerate remediation and eliminate constant alerts and manual correlation from multiple sources. This is the “secret sauce” behind The NetSPI Advantage. Machine intelligence plus human intelligence is compound intelligence that benefits our customers. To put it simply, we go beyond for our customers so they can go beyond for theirs.

Vulnerability scanning vs penetration testing 

Both vulnerability scanners and penetration testing have their time and place to enhance the overall security of systems. The biggest difference is the depth of results from each measure. Vulnerability scanning is an automated process that identifies and reports potential vulnerabilities in a system, focusing on known weaknesses.  

Penetration testing, on the other hand, involves simulating real-world attacks by skilled professionals, a la The NetSPI Agents, to actively exploit vulnerabilities and assess the system’s security posture. While vulnerability scanning provides a broad overview of potential issues, penetration testing goes deeper, uncovering weaknesses that may not be apparent through automated scans. See if you’re getting the most value from your penetration testing reports. 

Empower your security posture with NetSPI 

The most helpful lesson we can share with anyone working to advance your security posture is don’t go it alone. The shared learning from experts who have worked through the same challenges you face is invaluable to bring clarity, speed, and scale to your security programs.  

Reach out to connect with our security experts or keep learning about NetSPI ASM by watching our demo.