Exclusive EASM Report: Mergers and Acquisitions Top 2022 External Attack Surface Management Risks

By Tom Spring, Media Manager | June 2, 2022

Mergers and acquisitions, poorly managed web apps and insecure PII represent biggest risks tied to external attack surfaces in 2022. 

CyCognito, the leader in external attack surface management, examines challenges facing Global 2000 companies in its exclusive report Anybody Got a Map? The Danger of Subsidiary Sprawl and Unknown Unknowns in External Attack Surface Management.

CyCognito reveals the unique challenges facing security teams as a direct result of a record number of mergers and acquisitions in 2021 - a trend expected to continue in 2022. The report, to be released during  the 2022 RSA Conference, is designed to drive awareness among CISOs and security teams helping them keep pace with a fluctuating attack surface and related security issues. 

Key takeaways of those Global 2000 companies surveyed include:

  • M&A activity is growing or shrinking an organization’s attack surface by 5.5% each month. 
  • Impacted by M&A activity is the average of 95 subsidiaries per Global 2000 companies. 
  • Organizations were initially unaware of 10-to-30% of their subsidiaries

These conditions make it extremely difficult for security and IT managers to have a 360 degree view of their entire external attack surface. This increases the odds of gaps in their attack surface going unseen, opening them up to dangerous and preventable risks such as Log4J. 

CyCognito’s  Anybody Got a Map? The Danger of Subsidiary Sprawl and Unknown Unknowns in External Attack Surface Management report also notes the potential privacy risks consumers face as they place trust in organizations who provide them with online applications to bank, pay bills and schedule appointments with health professionals.

“Web apps are high risk for business and consumers alike because they often contain personal identifiable information (PII). And too often we are seeing web apps go under-managed by security teams suffering from poor visibility into their attack surface because of digital asset sprawl,” said Ansh Patnaik, chief product officer, CyCognito.

CyCognito reports that these organizations have an average of 5,000 web apps each, representing up to 7 percent of their external attack surface assets. Of those web apps, PII was found in 9%, creating data risks and liability issues for organizations and their customers. Digital assets also include DevOps and SecOps tools, cloud products and device web interfaces. 

The report reveals top web app security issues still plaguing firms today include:

  • Open source JavaScript vulnerability library issues (jQuery, JQuery-UI and Bootstrap)
  • Unmaintained Digital Assets (DevOps and SecOps tools, cloud products and device web interfaces)
  • Clickjacking vulnerabilities (where a browser-based user interface is manipulated to trick users into clicking on malicious links)

Web apps are where most risk resides, Patnaik said. Top potential attack vectors include database focused SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting redirection risks. 

CyCognito’s Anybody Got a Map? The Danger of Subsidiary Sprawl and Unknown Unknowns in External Attack Surface Management will be released at the 2022 RSA Conference at an offsite venue (The Veranda, directly adjacent to the Moscone Center South) at 3pm on Tuesday, June 7th. Register to attend (https://www.cycognito.com/rsa-2022). 

About CyCognito

CyCognito solves one of the most fundamental business problems in cybersecurity: seeing how attackers view your organization, where they are most likely to break in, what systems and assets are at risk and how you can eliminate the exposure. Founded by national intelligence agency veterans, CyCognito has a deep understanding of how attackers exploit blind spots and a path of least resistance. The Palo Alto-based company is funded by leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists, and its mission is to help organizations protect themselves from even the most sophisticated attackers. It does this with a category-defining, transformative platform that automates offensive cybersecurity operations to provide reconnaissance capabilities superior to those of attackers.


About Tom Spring, Media Manager

Tom Spring, Media Manager, is a seasoned technology reporter and editor who has helped bring stories to life for over three decades.


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