Threat Trends

3 mins

Predicting the next target: How threat actors choose their victims?

A financial regulator. A school. A rail network. These are just a handful of the organizations to have been targeted by a cyberattack recently, according to news reports. But while the variety of cyberattack victims may initially suggest that threat actors adopt a scattergun approach, in reality, many attacks are calculated and prey upon known weaknesses. As such, they can be predicted - and prevented. 

Are you on a hacker’s radar?

Although it may seem difficult to find a common denominator between cyberattacks from the outside, there are often trends that can be discerned. One of these concerns the attack surface and the presence of vulnerable or poorly managed internet-facing assets - some of which organizations may not even be aware of. 

But discovering a vulnerability after a cyberattack has already happened is easy. Instead, being proactive is a more effective approach, but requires organizations to know whether they are likely to be on a hacker’s radar - and exactly which assets could be at risk. 

In order to fully grasp whether you might become a hacker’s next target, it is essential that you have a complete understanding of your attack surface, as well as any risks it may contain. Attack Surface Management (ASM) can be a hugely effective method for predicting the next target, providing a complete overview of an organization’s entire IT infrastructure and any vulnerabilities that it may contain.

Predicting which assets will be attacked 

To gain a better view of which assets may be at risk, it is important to understand the hacker mindset. No organization can prevent and remediate every possible threat, so they instead need to be able to contextualize and prioritize the threats they face - and that means adopting the mindset of the threat actor. 

Here are a few factors that will help you identify which of your assets is likely to be attacked next:

  • High-value: Hackers are often motivated by the possible financial rewards stemming from their attacks. As such, they are more likely to target high-value assets like sensitive credentials.
  • A large reach: Some vulnerabilities may compromise a single device; others could allow threat actors to infiltrate multiple companies across the globe. The connectivity offered by digital networks means that a single exploit could be used to attack thousands of victims.
  • Follow the trends: The behavior of threat actors can often be predicted by keeping an eye on cybersecurity trends. For example, the KEV Catalog is a record of known exploited vulnerabilities that threat actors are actively using. Using this knowledge, along with our threat intelligence, can help predict future attacks. 

Securing your attack surface

Given that the type of threats facing an organization is changing all the time, a hacker’s perspective is essential to predicting and preventing cyberattacks. Mapping your attack surface and adopting an offensive approach to security is essential. 

Join our webinar to learn about the hacker perspective and how you can predict which of your assets are at risk.

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