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External attack surface management for web applications

Modern web applications are complex and hard to protect, especially when you don't know where they are. Our attack surface management tool continuously discovers every internet exposed application you own - the way a hacker would during reconnaissance - to map out your entire attack surface and highlight the biggest shadow IT with security rating for proactive risk reduction.

What is attack surface management?

An attack surface is all the software, cloud and application assets (known or unknown) that process or store data that are accessible on the internet. It’s the sum of attack vectors that attackers could use to penetrate and manipulate a system to extract data. These assets are internet exposed and outside the safe haven of corporate firewall and endpoint protection. It is critical for organizations to understand and proactively reduce the attack surface to prevent cyber security risks stemming from shadow IT and application vulnerabilities.

External facing applications provide crucial revenue streams and are the main source for connecting you with your customers. However, they are far from safe and can become a source of exploitation with hidden vulnerabilities. With every line of code, software component and API being a potential attack vector, it's more important than ever to start with visibility - identify what you own and where they are exposed.

Our external attack surface management tool simulates reconnaissance the way hackers do to provide total visibility of your application attack surface whilst pinpointing potential cyber risks in your digital ecosystem. This enables organizations to get a view of their internet exposure against the most common attack vectors and highlight vulnerable areas that require immediate attention for risk management.

Mapping your web application attack surface

Application discovery
Eliminate your security blindspots before hacker can exploit them. Outpost24 Scout simulates the multi-discovery techniques used by attackers during reconnaissance to map and inventorize all of your known and unknown assets and domains exposed to the internet.
Attack vector assessment
Analyze your external assets for potential security exposure against the most common attack vectors that could give attackers a foothold into your application ecosystems including security mechanism, page creation methods and more.
Actionable risk scoring
Provide the most complete view of your internet exposure with quantifiable risk rating to pinpoint the most imminent threats and vulnerabilities facing your organization and what to do about it.
Continuous monitoring

Continuously monitor your evolving attack surface with risk-based insights to boost security hygiene, reduce shadow IT risk and improve long-term risk management with total visibility.

Common attack vectors assessed by Outpost24 Scout

Hackers are masters of reconnaissance and will go to great lengths to identify a target. All these combined elements pose a threat if managed incorrectly and it only takes a small misstep to give them a foothold into your system and cause havoc

Security mechanisms 

Using HTTP websites without encryption and unsecured redirects can expose your sensitive data to attackers and lead to credential stuffing. Our study reveals this as the single biggest attack vector for top retail applications 

Page creation method
Developing a website with insecure code and vulnerable components means there are more potential vulnerabilities to exploit. According to our study, this is the #1 attack vector affecting top insurance applications
Degree of distribution
Cross-domain issue is a common source of vulnerability and distribution only increases the number of potential entry points. See why the healthcare and pharma sector are particular vulnerable to this attack vector
Active content technologies
When an application runs scripts the content becomes active. You need to know if your web app has been developed using vulnerable and outdated active content technologies to reduce security exposure
Input vectors
The attack surface increases with the number of different input fields you have on a web application and can lead to a range of Cross-Site Scripting attacks if these are left unaddressed before production
Authentication
Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user accessing your application in real time. Restricting access to sensitive data is critical to keeping the bad guys out and reducing your application risk
Cookies
Cookies are an essential security control for website security by monitoring session activity in real time and ensuring anyone who sends requests to your website are authorized and keeps hackers away
Open ports
Usage of HTTP port 80 rather than the more secure HTTPS port 443 makes your application susceptible to unauthorized access. It’s important for security teams to identify open ports and close down those not in use 
2021 Web App Security for Pharma and Healthcare Report

85% of the top 20 pharma and healthcare applications are critically exposed with a high susceptibility for security exposure

RHS_customer
Royal Horticultural Society
Simon Cruse, IT Operations & Service Delivery Manager, The Royal Horticultural Society
“We found a number of previously unknown applications through Outpost24’s discovery scan, and were able to test them for software vulnerabilities, with dynamic application security testing, to bring them in line with our stringent security processes.”
Get a Free Attack Surface Analysis

What's included in the customized attack surface report:

attack_surface_analysis
  • Known and unknown domains exposed on the internet
  • Known and unknown external web applications
  • Staging applications and clear text form that may put you at risk
  • Old and vulnerable components in use
  • Rating against the 7 common attack vectors
  • Leaked credentials in the dark web
  • Attack surface risk rating
  • Actionable recommendations

See what a hacker see and secure your digital footprint.

Want to become an Outpost24 partner? Find out more about our partner program

Your guide to attack surface management

What is attack surface management for an application? ⇘

An attack surface is all the software, cloud and application assets (known or unknown) that process or store data that are accessible on the internet. It’s the sum of attack vectors that attackers could use to penetrate and manipulate a system to extract data. These assets are internet exposed and outside the scope of firewall and endpoint protection. It is critical for organizations to understand and proactively reduce the attack surface to prevent cyber security risks stemming from shadow IT and application vulnerabilities

What is the difference between an attack vector and an attack surface? ⇘

An attack surface is the total sum of vulnerabilities or security exposure that can be exploited to carry out potential cyber attacks, which is growing in size with digital transformation. Whereas attack vector is the means that is used by attackers to access or infiltrate the target system. Application attack vectors can take many different forms from misconfigurations, cross site scripting, SQL injection to broken authentication. Organizations should have a continuous process to identify these potential attack vectors and implement appropriate security controls to prevent them from being exploited.

What is the most common attack vector for an application? ⇘

Common application attack vectors include injection, broken authentication and sensitive data exposure as highlighted by OWASP Top 10 2017, other attack vectors range from buffer overflow and cross site request forgery (CSRF) to local file inclusion. Also pay attention to old and new CWE vulnerabilities in your environment to keep your applications as secure as their speed of development

How to reduce your attack surface? ⇘

Modern applications are complex and hard to secure - with every line of code, software component and API being a potential attack vector. To reduce the attack surface, start with visibility - identify what you own and where they are exposed; assess your applications against common attack vectors to locate open pathways and security weaknesses that could give hackers a foothold; finally use risk-based insight to prioritize software vulnerability remediation and protect your data. In the age of DevOps, this process should be done continuously through automation to ensure speedy release

What are the main components of an attack surface management tool? ⇘

External attack surface management (ESAM) tools are essential to automate the discovery of vulnerable applications that pose critical risk for your organization. The main components of an EASM tool include:

  1. Application discovery - map the entire inventory of web services in your organization’s digital footprint and classify them by type, platform and business criticality

  2. Vulnerability analysis - assess every application you own with a blackbox approach to visualize weak spots that require attention

  3. Actionable risk scoring - understand your security exposure from a hacker’s view with quantifiable risk ratings to prioritize fixes

  4. Continuous monitoring for known vulnerabilities and misconfigurations to keep them secure as changes are made

How Outpost24 can help with attack surface management? ⇘

Utilizing an external attack surface management tool like Scout can help cut down the time taken to discover the complete chain of applications that you are connected to and pinpoint potential security issues from the ‘outside in’ (including those you didn’t know existed) to help security teams build a clear plan for early mitigation for vulnerabilities at risk.

What are the capabilities of the Outpost24 Scout attack surface management tool? ⇘

1. Application discovery and inventory - gather and uncover known and unknown assets and domains that you may have missed

2. Attack vector analysis - assess your applications against the common vectors to locate open pathways

3. Actionable risk scoring - visualize your security exposure to pinpoint most critical vulnerabilities and the biggest cyber risks 

4. Continuous monitoring - continuously monitor the attack surface to improve long-term risk management

5. Threat intelligence - locate real-world hacker threats to your organization on the deep and dark web

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