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Identifying and Managing Vulnerabilities
on All Your Attacker-Exposed Assets, All the Time

Benefits of the CyCognito Platform for Vulnerability Management

The Challenge

In today’s attacker-exposed landscape, proactive vulnerability management (VM) is recognized as a necessity, even for organizations that aren’t subject to regulations that require regular vulnerability assessment (VA), scanning or penetration testing. 

Despite paying lip-service to modern IT, legacy vulnerability assessment and management solutions have not kept pace with today’s IT ecosystems. Dramatic shifts in how you are managing your data across cloud and affiliate environments and thus expanding your IT infrastructure mean that you may not own or manage every part of your extended IT ecosystem. Thus it is now imperative for you to establish and maintain full visibility and ongoing monitoring of assets that connect and relate to your organization in addition to tracking your fully-owned and managed assets.  

Starting with this “outside in” view of your entire evolving attack surface, the CyCognito platform automatically performs automated penetration testing, uses the attackers’ assessment process for a broad range of attack vectors including Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs), prioritizes results, and delivers both remediation guidance and ongoing validation of fixes. The result is a platform that delivers risk-based vulnerability management for your attacker-exposed IT ecosystem, closing what is typically a significant gap in existing vulnerability management processes.

vulnerability management, attack surface management

The Benefits of the CyCognito Platform for
Vulnerability Management

The CyCognito platform was designed to address today’s vulnerability management requirements to help you proactively defend against threats from even the most sophisticated attackers. It operates continuously and autonomously, using advanced attacker-reconnaissance techniques, to help you identify attackers' paths of least resistance into your environment so you can efficiently eliminate them.

The CyCognito platform uniquely delivers:
  • The essential foundation of vulnerability management: full discovery of your extended IT ecosystem, including assets that are part of your IT ecosystem, but are unknown or unmanaged by you.

  • Detection and testing of attack vectors across your entire attacker-exposed IT ecosystem, going well beyond CVEs to include data exposures, misconfigurations and even software zero-day vulnerabilities.

  • Prioritization of the attack vectors in your IT ecosystem based on what could impact your organization most from a cybersecurity risk perspective.

  • Actionable remediation guidance and reporting to accelerate your remediation and validation.

An Attacker-Oriented Approach to Vulnerability Management

  • A 100% focus on what's externally exposed to attackers — intentionally or not — including cloud and affiliate organization environments.

  • Frictionless VM: 100% SaaS solution with no installation/deployment, no configuration, no authorization, no ongoing management of VA or VM infrastructure components — all critical for managing risks in subsidiaries, partners, and potential M&A targets.

  • Anonymous, undetected discovery and testing eliminates both configuration of allow-lists and alerts from other security solutions in the testing path

  • Automated asset discovery across your extended IT ecosystem that includes unknown and unmanaged assets.

  • Automatic discovery and classification of business context for every asset, including an assessment of its importance to your enterprise and what organization, business unit, platform and environment it belongs to.

Nation-state grade platform utilizing one of the world’s largest botnets for automatic discovery of your attack surface coupled with the latest in natural language processing and machine learning capabilities to prioritize attack vectors and automate penetration testing.

Comparison Chart

Capabilities for Vulnerability Management Tools (VM)
VM Only
CyCognito
Automates unbiased scoping of scan targets X
Automates contextualized grouping by subsidiaries, environments, and platforms X
Frictionless, no-noise vulnerability management X
Prioritizes risk based on asset discoverability, attractiveness and exploitability X
Automates and continuously rescans and reports on fixed issues X
Evaluates subsidiaries, third parties, and M&A candidates X
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Discovery as a Foundation of Vulnerability Management

The CyCognito platform gives you a more accurate view of your most critical vulnerabilities because the foundation of its advanced reconnaissance and analysis is a broad, accurate view of your attack surface. You can’t fully assess your risks if you have blind spots in your attack surface. 

In a digitally transformed world, a vulnerability management process must start by identifying risks across your entire IT ecosystem — all of your attacker-exposed assets — whether on-premises, in the cloud, in your subsidiaries or in partner environments. That’s a critical, foundational step and one that legacy vulnerability management solutions don’t address. Using a tool with limited scope is analogous to the well-known Streetlight Effect: you spend time looking for your lost keys under a streetlight because that’s where the light is shining, even though you lost them elsewhere in the darkness. Similarly, it may be convenient to use tools that you can aim at known IP address ranges, but they will never see the assets (and associated risks) hidden in the darkness. 

Organizations using the CyCognito platform report that it discovers a large number of assets that were previously unknown to them; many organizations see 30% more assets, and in some cases more than 100% more, even identifying past acquisitions and business units that had been long forgotten. Identifying these hidden assets is a foundational step in vulnerability management, because attackers know that assets that exist in the shadows harbor opportunities for them and therefore seek them out and target them first. 

The CyCognito platform discovery goes far beyond an active IP list that most vulnerability solutions address; it includes active and inactive IPs, abandoned assets, domains, subdomains, certificates and web applications. The CyCognito platform also identifies assets associated with your organization that exist in cloud, subsidiary, partner and third-party environments. 

vulnerability assessment - attack surface management
The CyCognito platform assesses your vulnerabilities in the context of your entire attack surface, including cloud, subsidiary and third-party environments.
 
 
CyCognito_VulnerabilityManagement_Image2
Full attack surface discovery is the foundation of the CyCognito platform approach to vulnerability management.

Detection and Testing of Attack Vectors Across Your Entire IT Ecosystem

With no configuration required, the CyCognito platform continuously scans your entire attacker-exposed IT ecosystem for attack vectors that could provide attackers entry to your most critical corporate assets. As a result of its broad discovery and automated testing, the CyCognito platform enables you to expand the vulnerability management coverage of your exposed IT ecosystem from its previously limited scope (often only 30%) to 100%. The platform’s testing process does not affect business continuity and does not require creating an allowlist or any other integration.

The CyCognito platform matches legacy vulnerability assessment solutions in its coverage of active external IPs and vulnerable software (which is all legacy vulnerability assessment solutions look for) and goes well beyond them by identifying issues with domains, certificates and configurations. It detects:

  • inactive IPs               
  • insecure/exploitable code
  • abandoned asset vulnerabilities
  • bypassable authentication mechanisms
  • misconfigured cloud components
  • network architecture flaws
  • default credential vulnerabilities
  • software vulnerabilities
  • web application vulnerabilities
  • certificate trust vulnerabilities
  • SaaS platforms takeover risks
  • data exposures
  • DNS and mail servers hijacking risks
  • web application and database hijacking risks
  • and many other attack vectors

These additional attack vectors are vital areas that must be secured to outmaneuver attackers' offensive operations.

In addition to the fact that traditional vulnerability management solutions don’t assess assets they can’t find, most organizations aren’t scanning and testing their entire IT ecosystem due to cost concerns. Continuous scanning and testing of your entire IT ecosystem for vulnerabilities and other potential attack vectors has clear advantages over the traditional approach of point-in-time vulnerability scanning or penetration testing sparingly applied to a limited segment of your attack surface. 

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Risk Prioritization in the Context of Your Business

Another key drawback of vulnerability assessment solutions is the abundance of vulnerabilities they present, prioritized by a system that assumes all vulnerabilities are equally significant to all organizations. This leaves security teams trying to sift through  —  and potentially overwhelmed by — thousands of vulnerabilities that don't matter to their organization, while risking that they may miss something critical that could affect a valuable business asset. 

In contrast, the CyCognito platform identifies and prioritizes an organization’s most critical risks, making it easy for security teams to know where to focus their efforts first. The platform’s automatic risk prioritization is based on business context, discoverability, ease of exploitation, and remediation complexity. 

The intelligence behind the automatic prioritization is part of the differentiation of the CyCognito platform, where the expertise of seasoned offensive cybersecurity researchers is incorporated into the platform and machine learning accelerates the power exponentially. At the highest level, our team of offensive security experts reviews and extracts the learnings from the automated findings. These learnings are then used to train the platform’s logic, resulting in continuous process improvement of the automated results delivered to the platform’s users at scale. 

The platform’s central dashboard presents an overall security grade for the the assets in your attack surface, and groups and grades assets by organizations, environments, business units, and platforms. Without requiring any user input, these asset groupings within your enterprise are automatically mapped, to provide you context for visualization, reporting and trending.

Vulnerability Management - Attack Surface Mangement

The CyCognito platform automatically prioritizes your organization’s most critical risks, so your security team knows what to focus on first.

Accelerated Remediation and Efficient Remediation Validation

The CyCognito platform decreases the time it takes to remediate risks and validate fixes from months – on average – to days or even hours.

For every issue that’s identified, the CyCognito platform provides detailed and actionable remediation guidance so your security and operations teams don’t need to have to research that information. Once issues have been addressed, the platform’s continuous testing process enables you to efficiently validate that your remediation efforts were successful. Validation of the scope of your remediation can be shared with your organization’s leadership team or for mandated reporting to document compliance with regulatory requirements. 

The analytics and trends features helps you extract key insights from your attack surface data and report on them. For example, you can analyze and monitor your overall security effectiveness and measure changes over time. The issues dashboard visualizes the types of threats you are facing now and the status of threat investigations.

security issues status - attack surface management

Analytics capabilities in the CyCognito platform allow you to analyze the status of your security issues in a number of ways.

Must Haves for Vulnerability Management in Today’s Attacker Environment

To counter today’s persistent, creative, well-funded, highly-automated attacker economy, your vulnerability management solution must include:

  • Full discovery of your extended IT ecosystem, including assets that are part of your IT ecosystem, but are unknown or unmanaged by you.
  • Detection and testing of attack vectors across your entire attacker-exposed IT ecosystem, going beyond CVEs.
  • Prioritization of the attack vectors in your IT ecosystem based on what’s most critical to your organization and the greatest risks.
  • Actionable remediation guidance and reporting to accelerate your remediation and validation.

Settling for less puts your organization at risk.

Effective-Security-Architecture-for-Risk-Managment-V2The CyCognito platform delivers effective risk management,
including vulnerability management, for your entire IT ecosystem.

 

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