Digital Risk Protection Services 101: How Does it Work?

8 minute read

Conventional enterprise security teams focus on discovering and remediating threats within the enterprise network – but as an organization expands its digital footprint and engages in more online activities, it becomes increasingly exposed to digital risks that originate outside the perimeter and may not be addressable using traditional cybersecurity tools and methods. That’s why security-conscious businesses are adding Digital Risk Protection (DRP) Services to their organization’s security defenses that can safeguard people, data, and assets against digital threats that appear outside the enterprise network, including the surface, deep, and dark web, and social media.

In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at digital risk protection services and how they can help enterprises manage digital risk. You’ll discover answers to the following:

  • What are Digital Risk Protection Services?
  • How is DRPS Different from Threat Intelligence?
  • How Does Digital Risk Protection Work?
  • What Risks can DRPS Address?
  • What Features Should Your Digital Risk Protection Services Offer?
  • Why Does My Business Need DRPS?

What are Digital Risk Protection Services?

Digital Risk Protection is protection for an organization’s vulnerable digital assets on public platforms outside of the enterprise security perimeter. 

That is, while conventional cybersecurity measures (e.g. antivirus, IDS, SIEM, etc.) focus on securing digital assets inside the network perimeter, digital risk protection services focus on safeguarding the organization from threats that originate outside the network.

Digital risk protection service providers offer their customers enhanced visibility of malicious activity and potential threats across multiple digital channels, threat analysis capabilities to identify genuine threats against the customer’s digital assets, and specific counter-measures to disrupt digital threats before they culminate in a successful attack.

How Does Digital Risk Protection Work?

Digital risk protection services play an important role in safeguarding modern organizations against a variety of digital threats that originate on public platforms. Here’s how digital risk protection services get the job done:

Monitoring the Public Attack Surface

Enterprise security teams use sophisticated software tools to monitor their networks and systems for potential Indicators of Compromise (IoCs), but these tools can only protect digital assets inside the network – not those on the outside. 

As an organization expands its digital footprint across a growing number of public platforms (e.g. web domains, social media, eCommerce marketplaces, job recruiting websites, etc.), it becomes increasingly vulnerable to digital threat actors who can exploit these touchpoints to launch cyber attacks, commit brand abuse, or defraud the target organization.

Digital risk protection services monitor an organization’s public attack surface – its entire digital footprint across all public channels – for malicious activity or targeted threats against the organization’s digital assets.

Analyzing Threats and Malicious Activity

Digital Risk Protection often focuses on channels owned by the customer, but it’s also necessary to investigate threats and malicious activity that originates outside these channels, especially in places like paste sites, hacker forums, or illicit marketplaces on the deep and dark web.

As part of their digital risk monitoring efforts, DRP vendors trawl public platforms on the Internet for references to customer brands, products, and employees, assess the origins of those references, and work to determine whether those references indicate malicious activity.

Assessing whether a web domain is fraudulent, whether a social media account is fake, or whether some chatter on a hacker forum indicates an impending attack often requires the expertise of human threat analysts and experts.

Remediating and Removing Attacker Infrastructure

When it comes to protecting enterprise organizations against digital risk, simply identifying and analyzing threats isn’t enough to deter adversaries, block brand abuse, or prevent a cyber attack. 

That’s why the most effective digital risk protection service providers have developed capabilities to initiate take-downs of fraudulent cyberattack infrastructure and remediate digital threats against customer organizations. 

Once a credible threat has been identified and verified, DRP vendors like ZeroFOX leverage established relationships with social media platforms, web hosts, and Internet regulators to remove fraudulent infrastructure and disrupt ongoing attacks, discouraging digital adversaries from continuing to target the business.

Digital Risk Protection Services vs. Cyber Threat Intelligence – What’s the Difference?

When it comes to managing enterprise cybersecurity and digital risk, Digital Risk Protection Services and Cyber Threat Intelligence play similar and sometimes overlapping roles – but they aren’t quite the same thing.

Digital risk protection services deliver value to enterprise organizations by monitoring the public attack surface, analyzing detected threats or malicious activity, and launching countermeasures to prevent cyber attacks and secure vulnerable digital assets.

On the other hand, threat intelligence focuses on gathering threat data from a variety of sources, then processing the data into timely, relevant, verified, and actionable intelligence with proactive recommendations to help organizations prevent cyber attacks. 

While DRP services focus on identifying malicious activity and launching takedowns against cyber attacker infrastructure, threat intelligence is helping enterprise security teams stay informed about new software vulnerabilities, emerging threat actors and their TTPs, threat actor chatter in deep and dark web forums, and other kinds of physical and cyber threats.

What Risks can Digital Risk Protection Services Address?

Cyber Risks 

Cyber risks include the risks of operational downtime, financial losses, and damage to a firm’s reputation or brand equity that can result when a successful cyber attack leads to the failure or compromise of enterprise IT systems. 

Sources of cyber risk include cyber crime, digital activism, corporate espionage, and state-sponsored threat groups working to steal sensitive data, financial resources, or intellectual property from targeted foreign firms. Digital threat groups use a variety of techniques to launch cyber attacks, including social engineering, malware and ransomware, phishing, domain spoofing, and more.

Brand Risks

Brand risks include the risks of reputational damage, financial losses, and loss of public trust that can result when digital adversaries fraudulent impersonate or misrepresent a brand to scam its executives, employees, or customers online.

Sources of brand risk include cyber criminals and scammers who create fraudulent digital assets to impersonate targeted brands. These adversaries use techniques like email and domain spoofing, brand/executive impersonation, phishing, and social engineering tactics like urgency and pretexting to manipulate targets into completing a fraudulent transaction or disclosing sensitive information.

Domain Risks

Brand risks include the risks of revenue loss, reputational damage, and loss of customer trust that can result when digital adversaries create fraudulent domains impersonating a well-known brand and use them to wrongfully appropriate sensitive data or financial resources from its customers.

Digital risk protection services mitigate against domain risk by detecting, identifying, and removing malicious or impersonating domains before they can be used in a successful scam.

Physical Risks

Physical risks include risks of financial losses and unplanned operational downtime, as well as risks to physical assets and personnel that can result from natural events or the actions of malicious threat groups. 

Sources of physical risk can include nature itself (e.g. when the threat is a hurricanes, tsunami, fire, etc.), as well as active shooter threats, crime syndicates, terrorist and activist groups, rogue governments, and other local and international threat groups. Digital risk protection services give organizations the ability to detect, identify, and monitor physical risks with digital information-gathering and analysis, delivering enhanced visibility of physical threats to people, assets, infrastructure, and data.

4 Features Your Digital Risk Protection Service Should Have

Digital Footprint Mapping

When it comes to protecting vulnerable enterprise assets online, the first step is identifying where those assets exist. Your DRP service should map the digital footprint of your business, accounting for all platforms where your business is present. This includes:

  • Your organization’s web domain(s) and eCommerce store(s),
  • Your organization’s social media accounts and profiles,
  • Web-based software and services used by your employees,
  • Online forums where customers or employees discuss your business, and
  • Job matching websites where your business maintains a presence.

Once your digital footprint has been comprehensively mapped, DRP services can provide omnichannel visibility of threats across your organization’s external attack surface.

<<Click to Read: Buyer’s Guide for Digital Risk Protection>>

AI-Driven Risk Monitoring

Modern service providers in the digital risk market use artificial intelligence to monitor the public attack surface at scale, analyze threat data, and alert on potential IoCs. This includes the use of AI-driven techniques like:

  • Computer Vision, used to automate image and video detection and identification,
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP), used to analyze and interpret the meaning of text, and
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR), used to automatically determine the contents of a web page.

AI-driven risk monitoring makes it possible for DRP vendors to monitor the public attack surface and identify cyber threats at scale – a task that would require thousands of human threat analysts without the power of artificial intelligence.

Human Expert Risk Analysis

Despite the growing role of AI and software-based solutions, human expert analysis continues to play an important role in DRP services.

Human analysts at ZeroFOX review the results of AI-driven risk monitoring to verify, validate, and triage threats, as well as provide support and recommendations for enterprise clients. Human analysts also play a role in initiating investigations, intelligence reporting, and adversary engagement.

Automated Disruption Capabilities

Automated disruption capabilities empower organizations to take immediate action when a digital threat is identified. Modern DRP vendors provide enterprises with automated capabilities to rapidly block and blacklist fraudulent infrastructure (e.g. IP addresses, malicious domains, mail servers, proxies, etc.) within minutes of verification.

Automated disruption ensures that organizations can deploy countermeasures in the shortest possible time frame to safeguard their employees, customers, and reputation against digital risk.

Safeguard Your Business with ZeroFox Digital Risk Protection Services

ZeroFox provides organizations with digital risk protection services to identify, disrupt, and dismantle digital threats to brands, people, and assets from across the public attack surface.

The ZeroFox platform combines advanced, AI-driven risk monitoring with human expert intelligence services and robust automated disruption capabilities to neutralize attacker infrastructure and mitigate digital risks to your organization.

Ready to learn more?

Schedule a Free Demo of our Digital Risk Protection Platform and see how ZeroFox can safeguard your business, employees, and customers against digital risk.

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