Automated Tools and Techniques for Attack Surface Management

Jack Ekelof
VP Sales & Marketing

What are attack surface management tools?

Attack Surface Management (ASM) software is defined as a set of security tools with automation that continuously discovers and monitors digital attack surfaces. Leading ASM tools generate findings that focus on vulnerabilities, and misconfigurations that adversary attackers could use as entry points to your organizations attack surface. Advanced Attack Surface Management tools blend human pentesters and automation to generate meaningful risk reduction by honing on the most exploitable vulnerabilities.

Importance of Automated Attack Surface Management Tools

Utilize the checklist below when researching attack surface management tools.

  1. Asset Discovery
  2. Attack Surface Baselining
  3. Continuous Attack Surface Discovery
  4. Vulnerability Validation
  5. ASM Reporting

Advanced Attack Surface Management Solutions

Managing the attack surface should not create the same cyber challenges of XDR and SIEM with unrelenting alerts. Utilize the strategies outlined below to max scarce patching time on the truly exploitable CVE’s.

  1. Comprehensive Manual External Pentest
  2. Continuous Penetration Testing of Validated Vulnerabilities
  3. Cloud Security Validation

Asset Discovery

Where the fun begins! Finding all internet facing digital assets that could be attacked is step one to starting an effective EASM strategy. The process starts here to eliminate shadow IT and includes visibility to assets owned by your company or the cloud providers you lean on like AWS, Azure, and GCP. Numerous external contractors, IaaS, and SaaS providers are a part of the digital footprint of every organization and must be brought under review by security teams as part of the asset discovery phase.

Attack Surface Baselining

Inventory mapping of all external digital assets corrals the digital footprint to allow all future changes to be identified and monitored for changes.

  • Asset Type
  • Vendor Name & Properties
  • Business Criticality
  • Region / Owner

Continuous Attack Surface Discovery

Visibility to your constantly changing digital footprint provides the control needed to allow cyber teams ownership of their organizations attack surface. Implementing event based automated discovery and validation of vulnerabilities gives insight to the attacker perspective. Identification of new CVE’s and a ranking of exploits allows resource allocation on the path to risk reduction with resources at hand. Continuous Attack Discovery gives security teams the access to the misconfiguration & security vulnerabilities on a daily basis.

Vulnerability Validation

Attack Surface Management tools can create a library of alerts and vulnerabilities to inspect. Focusing on breachable vulnerabilities is where most security teams need to spend their time prioritizing.  Fusing both tool and human validation of vulnerabilities can create the greatest reduction in mean time to find / fix organization wide.  

Attack Surface Management Reporting

Correctly deployed EASM solutions create an opportunity for organizations to flip the script on the due diligence process for cyber security teams. Continuous penetration testing within EASM solutions can shorten the time from the last pentest report to under 90 days. Consolidate Attack Surface Management and Pentest reporting into one program. Deliver both internal and external stakeholders the critical updates they need. Never be behind on a pentest compliance date again!

Advantages of Advanced Attack Surface Management Solutions

Comprehensive Manual External Pentest

Mature attack surface reduction strategies start in the first 30 days with an external penetration test delivered by a human security engineer. The combination of automated EASM tools and human security engineer results lead to a locked down external attack surface. Feeding your ASM technology the results of the manual pentest findings allow for better response by the tools to new findings or services. Leveraging a pentest inside the EASM solution can maximize security budgets.

Continuous Penetration Testing of Validated Vulnerabilities

Identification of new services and vulnerabilities provide great intel to security teams. Why not take the next step and have a penetration tester attempt to enumerate that vulnerability today and provide the results adversaries would take themselves to gain access.

Cloud Security Validation

The ongoing shift of workload to the cloud amplifies the difficulty in safeguarding against emerging cyber threats. Escalate your security evaluation to the cloud with an automated inspection and breach simulation

Types of Attack Surface Management Tools

Software as a Service (SaaS):

Cloud first delivery model is the hallmark of these provider types. Data absorbed to the ASM tool is usually from the adversary perspective. In most cases the software lacks on premise capability, or private cloud visibility. Management of the tool is typically administered by vendor.

Hybrid SaaS:

Typically include the include the cloud components that are hallmarks of cloud only solutions. Included or optional is the ability to deploy an agent to collect additional information beyond the attack perspective of cloud only providers.

Advanced SaaS:

Includes participation of an offensive security team to continuously utilize and pentest the vulnerability data. Human Pentester involvement brings supercharged outcomes to security teams that implement this approach.

Cyber Attack Simulation Tools

Cyber Attack Simulation tools enable line of sight to weak spots by automating the probing of external enterprise security defenses. Cyber Attack Simulation tools complement traditional offensive security services such as red teaming and penetration testing by simulating and confirming simulated attacks against a variety of external adversaries.

Cyber Attack Simulation technology provides automated and always on assessment of your organization’s attack surface. Generates a process that acid tests the organizations’ ability to utilize its security controls effectively.   Strong outcomes include locating gaps in their security posture from configuration errors and allow for analysis of future security org resources.

External Attack Surface Management Tools


Rapid7’s s prime open source tool offers crucial information on security vulnerabilities, assist in penetration testing, and streamline the development of IDS signatures. All this is wrapped up in an efficient and decisive framework.


Recognized as the "most sophisticated open-source vulnerability scanner in the world", OpenVAS provides an exhaustive library of potential risks, becoming an essential tool for overseeing your vulnerability landscape.

Qualys Community Edition

Introducing the esteemed Qualys Cloud Platform's complimentary version, a toolkit that provides robust foundation for your cybersecurity. It equips you with the power to detect potential vulnerabilities, conduct security configuration audits, perform thorough web app scans, and even secure your digital certificates.

Attack Surface Mapper

AttackSurfaceMapper (ASM) serves as an intelligence reconnaissance instrument, leveraging both open source intelligence and active strategies to broaden your target's attack surface. This functional tool operates by inputting a variety of domains, subdomains, and IP addresses, thereby implementing numerous techniques to discover additional targets.

Security Onion

With its exceptional capability for intrusion detection, enterprise security monitoring, and log management, this cost-free, open-source tool is a standout. It's perfectly suited for pinpointing abnormal network actions that may be indicative of a potential security breach.


Think of Nmap as an invaluable toolkit for uncovering network devices and scrutinizing security measures. This open-source utility is your go-to resource for taking stock of network devices, ensuring the consistent up time of hosts or services, and effectively charting out your attack surface.


ReconNess serves as a valuable tool for maintaining all your #recon in one accessible location. This, in turn, enables you to concentrate solely on potential targets that might be vulnerable, thus removing any distractions. The best part? There's no need for extensive bash or programming skills to navigate it. 


As one of OWASP's most sought-after free security tools, the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) serves as a perfect introduction to penetration testing for developers and functional testers who are just beginning their journey in this field.


Imagine having the ability to dive deep into your network and examine its functioning at a minutely detailed level. That's exactly what the network protocol analyzer Wireshark offers. It not just elucidates the traffic patterns on your network, but also aids in pinpointing possible security vulnerabilities.


Osmedeus, designed as a versatile tool for offensive security, serves as the bedrock from which you could create your unique reconnaissance system. This powerful tool can be deployed on a vast scale, catering to a significant number of targets.

Utilizing Attack Surface Management Tools

Attain Comprehensive Insight Into Your Assets

By pooling together information from every corner of your IT landscape, Attack Surface Tools empower you with a holistic perspective on your assets. This comprehensive view equips you to make more effective security decisions to safeguard your resources.

Discover and Assess Loopholes in Security Measures and Policies

Dive deeper into understanding both your internal and external assets. Here, knowledge is key to a secure business. Become acquainted with how assets are configured and used, familiarize yourself with policy coverage, get to know the security controls in place, and develop an awareness of the software installed. These details will reveal the level of risk these assets pose to your security infrastructure.

Ranking Vulnerabilities

Get the rich asset context you need to prioritize the remediation of vulnerabilities and address misconfigurations. 

Getting a comprehensive view of your assets is integral for your security strategy, but understanding context is even more important. Think about it like this: not just knowing what you have, but also understanding how, when, and why those assets are being used. It's about making sure the right gears start turning as soon as a potential vulnerability is detected.  

Asset Identification through Automation

Leverage the capabilities of ASM tools to automate laborious tasks of asset data collection and aggregation, thereby allocating more time and resources effectively.

Speeding Up the Process of Security Alert Examination

Leverage the data from ASM tools to speed up responding to security alerts and conducting incident investigations.

Cyber Security Benefits

  1. Snapshot of Your Security Position

Imagine having a snapshot of your organization's security posture at any given moment. With security ratings, this becomes a reality. These ratings offer a simplified score that can be effortlessly incorporated in executive reports, making it easier for everyone in the company to understand. 

  1. Unbroken Security Surveillance 

Picture this: software that can keep a watchful eye on your entire IP address range round the clock and alert you to any changes as and when they occur. That’s exactly what the attack surface management software can do. It gives you the chance to rectify any vulnerabilities or misconfigurations instantly, thus eliminating any possibility of expensive data breach incidents. 

  1. Remediation Based on Real-World Data  

The attack surface management software has another ace up its sleeve: data-backed remediation. By analyzing real-time data on any identified risks, it simplifies and accelerates the process of remediation. Thanks to streamlined workflows, you can monitor progress and pinpoint when remediation is finalized. 

  1. Preventing Data Breaches 

Imagine a software that sweeps your entire attack surface and utilizes IP address monitoring to identify potential cyber threats that could result in a data breach. The attack surface management software is just that. It constantly looks out for things that could lead to data breaches such as leaked employee credentials, domains that are typosquatted, vulnerabilities in the software, and any potential misconfigurations.

Implementing Automated Tools in Attack Surface Management

Top-tier ASM solutions should be designed to avoid the necessity of intricate setups or extensive data input. Favorably, these solutions swiftly provide substantial value, necessitating minimal to zero inputs. Upon roll-out, the best-in-class ASM solutions have the ability to swiftly identify any misconfigured or unrecognized assets. Additionally, the user interface and experience should be instinctive, adding value to all members involved in IT and security operations, extending from the newest hires all the way up to the executive level.

Evolve Security ASM Darwin Attack Platform

Evolve Security's external attack surface platform equips organizations with cutting-edge risk detection strategies. These proactive measures empower security teams to bolster defenses and ramp up agility in thwarting potential threats. Incorporating a blend of automation and human ingenuity, the platform includes persistent penetration testing conducted by our skilled offensive engineering team. This unique modus operandi provides security teams with a crystal clear perspective of their vulnerabilities. It prompts crucial remediation actions based on the outcomes of human penetration testing. By leveraging real-world attacker strategies and the latest advances in attack techniques, Evolve Security's solution grants organizations a comprehensive understanding of their external attack surface. This enables them to seal security loopholes and significantly minimize the risks of targeted cyberattacks.

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Unlock your organization's full security potential and uncover even more vulnerabilities than before by choosing our advanced penetration testing services.