Secrets Attack Surface Management

The 2023 State of Cyber Assets Report highlights a staggering annual growth of almost 600% in the vulnerable attack surface of cloud environments. As organizations leverage an array of technologies, software, and interconnected systems, the potential entry points for unauthorized access to sensitive data, such as API keys, passwords, and encryption keys, have expanded exponentially. 

Find more about what an attack surface is and how to mitigate it. 

What is an attack surface?

The concept of attack surface is similar to the number of doors that could potentially be used to gain unauthorized access to an organization’s systems or data. In the realm of cybersecurity, the attack surface represents the sum of all conceivable entry points and vulnerabilities within a system that an attacker could exploit. This includes a broad spectrum of elements, ranging from physical and digital components to software, hardware, network interfaces, and even human factors.

What is attack surface management?

The process of Attack Surface Management (ASM) involves the continuous identification, evaluation, and reduction of a system’s attack surface. It includes activities such as detection, monitoring, and remediation to enhance overall security. 


Detection involves identifying potential vulnerabilities and weak points in the attack surface. This is often achieved through automated tools and processes that continuously scan the system for potential threats.


Monitoring refers to the ongoing surveillance of the attack surface to detect and respond to any changes or anomalies. 


Remediation involves taking corrective steps to eliminate flaws and reduce the overall threat pool. This may include patching software, updating configurations, or implementing additional security controls.

Examples of secrets related attack surface

Some examples of secrets related attack surface are:


  1. Secrets in messaging platforms: Sharing sensitive information, like API keys, through channels such as Slack or email increases the risk of unintended dissemination. This can lead to exposure to unauthorized recipients, including potential malicious actors.
  2. Unencrypted secrets in internal Wikis: Storing sensitive data in internal wikis without proper encryption makes secrets vulnerable to exploitation if accessed by unauthorized users. Encrypting such documentation is crucial for maintaining security.
  3. Insecure secrets storage in databases: Storing sensitive information in databases without encryption or access controls poses a serious security threat. Compromised databases can expose secrets, emphasizing the need for robust security measures.
  4. Secrets in container images: Embedding secrets directly into container images without secure practices creates a vulnerability. Shared images or compromised containers could lead to unauthorized access to secrets.
  5. Code snippets with embedded secrets: Including hardcoded secrets in code snippets or scripts increases the risk of unauthorized access. Shared or distributed code exposes secrets, emphasizing the importance of secure coding practices.

Steps in mitigating attack surface

  1. Inventory management: Maintain a comprehensive inventory of all secrets and sensitive information within the organization.
  2. Encryption and access controls: Implement robust encryption practices and access controls to safeguard secrets from unauthorized access.
  3. Secure storage: Store secrets securely using industry-standard practices, ensuring protection against common attack vectors.
  4. Regular audits: Conduct regular audits to identify and address potential weaknesses in the secrets attack surface.
  5. Automation: Leverage automation tools to streamline the identification, rotation, and management of secrets.

Best practices for ASM

  • Regular vulnerability assessments: Conduct frequent vulnerability assessments to proactively identify and address potential weaknesses.
  • Map out the attack surface: Understand digital assets exposed to identify and prioritize vulnerabilities, incorporating predictive modeling for a realistic depiction of potential risks before, during, and after events.
  • Harden your email system: Deploy email protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to limit malicious emails, recognise that phishing is a common attack vector, and prioritize secure software development and strong email authentication.

Entro solution

Ready to transform your secrets management approach? Discover the power of Entro’s comprehensive solution – from uncovering all your secrets and enriching them with vital metadata to continuous monitoring, misconfiguration alerts, and implementing the principle of least privilege.

With Entro, you not only secure your secrets but gain valuable insights to keep your organization compliant and resilient against potential threats. Take the next step towards a robust secrets management strategy – explore Entro today!

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