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What is Digital Risk Monitoring?

8 minute read

As an enterprise enlarges its digital footprint over time, it becomes increasingly exposed to digital risks that emerge from social channels, the web, and mobile devices. These digital risks can include cyber risks, physical risks to people and assets, risks to business revenue, and the risk of reputational damage to a brand or business.

To better identify sources of digital risk, and react decisively to digital threats at scale, enterprises are adopting Digital Risk Monitoring solutions that leverage automation to identify, alert on, and remediate digital threats at scale.

In this blog, we’re taking a deep dive into Digital Risk Monitoring. You’ll find answers to the following:

  • What is Digital Risk Monitoring?
  • Why is Digital Risk Monitoring Important?
  • Which Digital Risks Should I Monitor?
  • Where Do Digital Risks Come From?
  • What Features are Offered by the Best Digital Risk Management Platform?

Keep reading to learn more about digital risk monitoring.

What is Digital Risk Monitoring?

Digital Risk Monitoring (DRM) is the practice of monitoring digital channels to identify, understand, and remediate risks to enterprise brands, people, assets, and data across the public attack surface.

Digital Risk Monitoring has become increasingly challenging and time-consuming for enterprises with large digital footprints. To meet this challenge, organizations are turning to AI-driven DRM software solutions that leverage both automation and human expertise to comprehensively and persistently monitor the public attack surface at scale for digital risk indicators. 

Why is Digital Risk Monitoring Important?

Digital Risk Monitoring capabilities are playing an increasing role in modern organizations when it comes to detecting, preventing, mitigating, and remediating enterprise risk.

Here’s why.

Enterprise Digital Footprints are Multiplying in Size

An organization’s digital footprint consists of all its digital assets, activities, properties, and communications on the Internet. For large organizations, the growing digital footprint spans thousands of touchpoints, including websites, social media profiles, directory listings, web-based SaaS applications, and digital advertising. 

As a company’s digital footprint grows in complexity and proliferates across multiple platforms, manual strategies for identifying and managing risk become prohibitively time-consuming and costly. Instead, enterprises can adopt software-based DRM solutions that leverage automation to monitor the public attack surface at scale.

Digital Risks are Varied and Complex

From software exploits and embedded malware to social engineering techniques like impersonation and phishing, digital threat actors are continuously improvising new tactics and techniques for deploying cyber attacks against enterprise targets.

Digital Risk Monitoring covers the full breadth of enterprise risks, ranging from digital cyber attacks to fraud, geopolitical and supply chain risks, brand abuse, and physical threats to employees or executives.

Cooperation with Digital Channel Providers is Crucial for Limiting Risk

When a company identifies a threat on a specific platform, that threat needs to be remediated ASAP – ideally before it negatively impacts the business or its customers. 

DRM solution providers cooperate regularly with digital channel providers (e.g. social media platforms, web domain registrars, etc.) to accelerate the takedown of fraudulent or malicious infrastructure and minimize negative outcomes for their enterprise clients.

Enterprises Lack Digital Visibility

Many enterprises are already leveraging digital monitoring software for specific use cases, but the majority still lack a comprehensive, risk-focused visibility of their digital presence. Social media monitoring (SMM) tools are marketing-focused and don’t monitor the whole public attack surface, while cyber threat intelligence (CTI) tools are focused on cybersecurity and ignore other significant risk categories.

How Do Digital Risk Monitoring Solutions Work?

Digital Risk Monitoring solutions provide four core capabilities that allow enterprises to identify and respond to digital risk:

  1. Threat Intelligence – DRM solutions deliver threat intelligence by collecting and analyzing data from a wide variety of sources, including open-source intelligence (OSINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), partner telemetry, and covert operatives.
  1. Risk Monitoring – DRM solutions continuously monitor a broad range of digital and social channels for risks to known digital assets. The early risk recognition and threat detection provided by DRMs, along with additional context and analysis, helps enterprises respond with effective countermeasures to mitigate risk or remediate a security incident.
  1. Human Analysis – DRM solutions incorporate human threat intelligence experts who provide real-time threat analysis, triage events, and coordinate strategic support for enterprise clients. Human analysts may also assist with investigations, risk assessment, threat reports, and/or adversary engagement.
  1. Takedowns and Remediation – DRM solutions provide digital threat takedown and remediation services, coordinating countermeasures against emerging cyber threats on behalf of their enterprise clients. To facilitate these services, DRM providers maintain strong relationships with compliance teams at major digital channel providers, including web domain registrars, social media companies, and major eCommerce platforms.

4 Digital Risk Categories You Should Monitor

Cyber Risks

Cyber risk encompasses the risk of financial loss, operational disruption, or reputation damage to an enterprise resulting from the failure of IT systems. Digital crime, cyber activism or terrorism, corporate espionage, and state-sponsored cyber warfare are all considered sources of cyber risk. Cyber security threats can take many forms, including software exploits, malware and ransomware attacks, hacking, account takeovers, and data leakage.

Brand Risks

Brand risk encompasses the risk of reputational damage to an enterprise that results from a fraudulent misrepresentation of that brand in the digital space. Brand threats include email and domain spoofing scams, slander and libel, and brand/executive impersonation.

Physical Risks

While brand and cyber risks materialize in the digital space, physical risk encompasses the risk of physical harm to employees, executives, assets, and operations resulting from a physical security threat. Physical threats may include things like terrorist attacks, social and political unrest, supply chain disruption, or major geopolitical events like war or migration.

Revenue Risks

Revenue risks are digital risks that impact an organization’s ability to maximize its revenue potential. Common revenue risks for enterprise organizations include piracy, counterfeiting, and financial scams that target customers to divert revenue away from the business and into the hands of cyber criminals.

Three Types of Channels to Monitor for Digital Risk

Ever-changing digital channels provide an attack vector and delivery mechanism for digital risks and emerging threats against an enterprise organization. DRM solutions help enterprises fight back by monitoring those channels to detect and identify risks before they can harm the organization, its employees, or its customers.

The most important channels to monitor for digital risk are:

Social 

Social channels are those that facilitate digital interaction and communication between real people. Digital risks are most likely to emerge from social platforms where unmoderated user-generated content can be propagated at scale.

Social channels include social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.), as well as the social web (e.g. forums and private communities, file and code-sharing websites, and chat clients).

Web

Web-based digital channels include: 

  • Surface web channels (e.g. websites, web domains, domain registrars, search engines, etc.)
  • Deep web channels (e.g. private websites and forums, hidden domains, etc.)
  • Dark web channels (e.g. illicit forums and marketplaces, anonymous chat servers, peer-to-peer networks, etc.)

A comprehensive approach to Digital Risk Monitoring should include coverage of the surface, deep, and dark web. Web-based channels also include SaaS applications delivered over the Internet.

Mobile 

Mobile devices provide a third category of digital channels with associated digital risks. Mobile app stores, mobile applications, mobile websites, SMS text messaging, and mobile data can all be exploited by digital threat actors to launch a cyber attack, impersonate a brand, or attempt to steal data from an enterprise target. 

Sophisticated threat actors are now deploying advanced spyware tools like Pegasus, which enable the user to decode encrypted communications from iPhone or Android smartphones.

Choosing the Best DRM Platform: 5 Key Features

A Digital Risk Monitoring platform gives your business the ability to detect, identify, and remediate digital risks across the public attack surface. When it comes to choosing the best DRM platform for your business, look for these features:

  1. Full-Spectrum Threat Intelligence

A robust approach to threat intelligence leverages a combination of machine-based data collection, partner telemetry, open source intelligence (OSINT), human intelligence sources, (HUMINT) and covert operatives. DRM platforms provide a single interface where enterprises can track new software vulnerabilities, identify fraudulent domains, or monitor geopolitical events that could impact their operations. 

  1. Continuous Automated Risk Monitoring

Digital Risk Monitoring software continuously monitors the public attack surface, automatically and at scale, to identify potential digital risks to your enterprise. 

In doing so, DRM software gives enterprises exceptional visibility of their digital footprints and the ability to recognize and remediate potential risks before they negatively impact the customer experience.

  1. Advanced AI-Driven Analysis

Modern DRM platforms use artificial intelligence to analyze threat data in a variety of formats:

  • Computer Vision may be used to automatically interpret the contents of images and video
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) can be used to analyze text, detecting scams, malicious links, and other digital risk indicators.
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, widely used in the insurance industry to process paper claim forms, can also be used to automatically determine the contents of a fraudulent web page or a malicious link.

At ZeroFox, we analyze threat data with automated machine learning and AI-driven processes to recognize, identify, and alert on threats with the potential to harm your business.

  1. Human Expert Analysis and Strategic Support

Modern DRM platforms employ human threat intelligence experts to analyze the results of AI-driven analysis, validate, triage,and escalate threats, and provide strategic support for enterprise clients. 

Human analysts augment platform capabilities, providing additional services like on-demand investigations, customized strategic intelligence reporting, and adversary engagement.

  1. Automated Remediation and Adversary Disruption

Modern DRM providers offer automated adversary disruption and remediation capabilities, empowering organizations to take immediate action and get fast results when responding to digital threats. 

Enterprises can leverage automated capabilities to rapidly block identified attack infrastructure (e.g. IP addresses, URLs, malicious proxies, etc.), blacklist fraudulent infrastructure, and remove malicious links. 

Robust adversary disruption capabilities block potential attack vectors while targeting attacker infrastructure, accelerating time-to-remediation and limiting your exposure to financial or reputational damage.

Monitor Digital Risk for Your Organization with ZeroFox

Digital Risk Monitoring (DRM) solutions give enterprises the ability to detect and respond to cyber, brand, physical, and revenue threats that materialize in the digital world.

ZeroFox provides enterprises digital risk monitoring, intelligence, and disruption to dismantle external threats to brands, people, assets, and data in one, comprehensive platform.

With ZeroFox’s advanced AI-powered protection platform, enterprises can monitor digital assets across the surface, deep, and dark web, social media, mobile app stores, marketplaces, and more, gaining extreme visibility of the public attack surface and the ability to identify text, image, and video-based threats.

Ready to learn more?

Try our online Digital Risk Assessment to assess digital risks to your business and start planning to better protect your organization.

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