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The Pitfalls of Predicting Cybersecurity Trends

The start of the New Year often brings with it predictions about what’s in store for the year ahead. In cybersecurity, this often means predicting future threats and security trends. However, the fast-paced nature of cyber attacks and increasing sophistication of threat actors means making predictions that are actually accurate is a bit of a challenge. Attackers are constantly refining their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), which renders historical data less reliable for forecasting. Relying solely on predictions can lead security teams down the wrong path.

So rather than attempting to gaze into a proverbial crystal ball, at the start of this New Year, we propose spending time on tried-and-true measures that organizations can take to protect what they own. Teams may not be able to predict every new threat or trend that will pop up in the New Year, but they can adopt an effective security posture that minimizes the likelihood of attacks and reduces their impact.

Embracing Proactive Measures

Organizations should take proactive steps to fortify their defenses. Here are three key recommendations for cybersecurity teams to consider:

1. Exposure Management: Illuminate the Shadows

One of the most effective ways to prevent successful cyber attacks is through comprehensive exposure management. Exposure management focuses on understanding and mitigating potential vulnerabilities (exposed assets) across an organization’s digital landscape. This could include legacy assets that were never deprecated, unknown Shadow IT spun up outside of IT’s purview, or misconfigurations, which often serve as open invitations for attackers. Gaining visibility into these exposures is paramount to minimizing the risk of an attack. It helps security teams spot and address exposures on their attack surface before attackers have the chance to exploit them.

Exposure management requires conducting an inventory of all of an organization’s internet-exposed assets. Automated, continuous monitoring tools, like Censys External Attack Surface Management, make it possible for teams to swiftly and accurately conduct this asset inventory, while gaining real-time visibility into their organization’s attack surface on an ongoing basis. In addition to immense time savings, a key benefit of EASM tools like Censys is that they can identify assets that organizations weren’t even aware of, and provide the needed context about these unknown assets that teams can use for prompt remediation.

2. Threat Hunting: Take the Offensive

Rather than waiting for threats to reveal themselves, teams can also adopt a proactive “hunt and respond” mindset. Threat hunting involves actively seeking out signs of malicious activity within the network, even if no alarms have been triggered by traditional threat detection tools.

Organizations with the means to do so should ideally establish a dedicated threat hunting team armed with advanced analytics and threat intelligence tools. This team should actively seek anomalies and indicators of compromise (IoCs) by analyzing network traffic, logs, endpoint data, and other sources of internet intelligence. Smaller teams with more constrained resources may have their practitioners incorporate threat hunting exercises into their routine cybersecurity work.

By adopting a threat hunting approach, organizations can uncover and neutralize threats before they escalate into full-blown attacks. This proactive stance not only enhances security but also disrupts the typical attacker playbook, making it more challenging for adversaries to operate undetected.

You can find a host of resources about threat hunting and how to launch an investigation with Censys in our Censys Resource Hub.

3. Superior Internet Intelligence: Act with Confidence

A proactive cybersecurity posture also depends on access to superior internet intelligence. After all, cybersecurity tools are only as good as the data that drives them. Inaccurate, outdated internet intelligence won’t pass muster in today’s aggressive threat landscape, which is wrought with attackers ready and waiting to pounce on new vulnerabilities.

An internet intelligence source that’s updated weekly rather than daily, or which only scans some ports for services rather than all 65k+, puts teams at a disadvantage against attackers. For example, while an intelligence feed that’s updated weekly is telling a security team that no threats are present, attackers are already busy exploiting a vulnerability that popped up that morning.

Superior internet intelligence also minimizes the occurrence of false positives, which our forthcoming State of Threat Hunting Report finds is a top challenge for threat hunters. False positives can waste significant time and resources, lead to alert fatigue, and worse yet, undermine a team’s confidence in their findings.

The Censys Internet Map, which powers our Censys Exposure Management and Censys Search tools, offers cybersecurity teams the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate view of global internet infrastructure available. In short, it’s the best source of internet data out there. Our ebook, Navigating Your Threat Landscape with the Censys Internet Map, gives a full overview of what makes our data different, and how teams can use it to strengthen their security posture.

Proactive Security in a Dynamic Landscape

Rather than focusing on New Year’s predictions that may or may not come to pass, organizations should invest in proactive cybersecurity measures that are within their control.

By illuminating the shadows with exposure management, actively seeking out threats, and leveraging superior internet intelligence, cybersecurity teams can significantly enhance their organization’s resilience against cyber attacks in the year ahead.


Start your New Year with Censys!

Head on over to Censys Search to explore our leading internet intelligence for yourself. 

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About the Author

Rachel Hannenberg
Content Marketing Manager
As the Content Marketing Manager at Censys, Rachel Hannenberg focuses on creating content that engages and informs the Censys community. Rachel has worked in marketing content strategy for nearly a decade, including at B2B SaaS companies and in higher education.
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