How to Use Domain Scanning for Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability Management
5 min read
James Mignacca
February 15, 2023
James Mignacca
February 15, 2023
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Your business’s domain names are vital to your company’s online presence. They’re used to identify your company website, email addresses and other online assets. But a domain name is like an open door that can provide easy access to your company's online assets and sensitive information when not properly protected.

Domain names are particularly sensitive and sometimes overlooked when it comes to a business’s internet-facing assets. They can create a host of attack vectors that target your company’s external attack surface and put your business at risk of exploit from attackers seeking access to sensitive data.

Domain hijacking (or domain spoofing) is a popular attack vector that can cause serious financial and reputational damage to your business. Domain hijacking is a highly targeted technique that starts with information collection, often through phishing or social engineering campaigns.

Attackers can also use key loggers to capture passwords or comb domains for registration vulnerabilities. The attacker’s goal is to collect enough information from its target to enable DNS compromise and domain registration changes. At this point the attacker can take over full control of your organization’s domain and do a number of things, like redirect your domain to a spoofed page that collects PII from unsuspecting users, or plant malware.

If your organization relies on company domains for online transactions or service access, a domain hijacking attack can result in service outages, lost revenue and legal action.  

There are several fundamental steps that you can take to protect your company’s domains from compromise including:

  • Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication.  
  • Monitoring your domains for signs of abuse or malware infections.
  • Ensuring your DNS records are up-to-date. This will help ensure that the correct information is displayed when someone types the company domain name into a web browser or email client.
  • Applying domain scanning to monitor your domains for vulnerabilities.

Domain scanning is a process that supports external attack surface management while helping you understand your organization’s cybersecurity risk. By identifying which domains your organization owns and operates, you can better understand the potential attack surface that exists. This information can be used to prioritize security controls and improve your overall cybersecurity posture.

There are a number of ways to conduct domain scanning, including running your company’s domains through a domain scanner, like Cavelo’s free domain scanner. It runs an external attack surface assessment, scanning for malware, viruses, blacklisting status, out-of-date software and more. It also produces a risk report that profiles your domain’s health by assessing factors such as how much traffic each of your company’s domains receives, how many subdomains exist, whether any malicious activity has been observed on the domain and what sensitive data may be vulnerable.

If you find that a particular domain poses a high risk, there are a number of steps that you can take to mitigate that risk. You may want to consider blocking access to the domain from outside sources, tightening up security controls around it, or even transferring it to another provider.

Domain scanning is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to cybersecurity best practices. But it is an important tool for proactive vulnerability and external attack surface management.

Try out Cavelo’s free external attack surface assessment and get started today.

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