Censys: Uncovering the Global Attack Surface for Enhanced Cybersecurity

Censys: Uncovering the Global Attack Surface for Enhanced Cybersecurity

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

Censys is a cybersecurity company that specializes in providing continuous visibility, measurement, and analysis of the global attack surface.

Censys was founded in 2017 by a group of researchers from the University of Michigan, including Zakir Durumeric, David Adrian, Alex Halderman, Dave Corcoran, and Brian Kelly.

It aims to help organizations understand their cyber risks and improve their overall security posture.

The company’s platform is built upon the foundations of the ZMap Project, an open-source internet scanning tool developed by the same researchers.

Censys collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as publicly accessible networks, devices, and certificates, and creates a comprehensive view of the digital landscape.

Stay One Step Ahead of Cyber Threats

Want to Be the Smartest Guy in the Room? Get the Latest Cybersecurity News and Insights.
We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe anytime.

This enables organizations to identify potential vulnerabilities and stay ahead of emerging threats.

9 Key Offerings by Censys

1. Internet Scanning

Censys regularly scans the entire IPv4 address space and millions of IPv6 addresses, collecting data on open ports, exposed services, and other relevant information.

2. Certificate Transparency Logs

Censys processes and analyzes data from Certificate Transparency (CT) logs, allowing users to monitor SSL/TLS certificates for their domains and detect potentially malicious or unauthorized certificates.

3. Database and API

Censys maintains a database of the information it gathers, which can be accessed via a web interface or through its RESTful API. Users can search and filter the data to gain insights into specific aspects of the internet infrastructure.

4. Asset Discovery and Inventory

Censys enables organizations to discover and track their digital assets, such as IP addresses, domain names, and SSL/TLS certificates, which can help them identify potential security risks and manage their online presence effectively.

5. Vulnerability Management

By providing continuous visibility into an organization’s attack surface, Censys helps identify vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in devices, services, and networks.

It allows organizations to prioritize remediation efforts based on the severity and potential impact of the identified issues.

6. Threat Intelligence

Censys offers insights into emerging threats and potential attack vectors, which can help security teams proactively defend against cyberattacks.

It also enables organizations to monitor their networks for suspicious activities and indicators of compromise.

7. Third-Party Risk Management

Censys aids in evaluating the security posture of vendors and partners by assessing their digital footprint and identifying potential risks associated with their online presence.

8. Security Research

The data collected by Censys is invaluable for security researchers, who use it to study the evolving nature of the internet and uncover new vulnerabilities, threats, and trends.

The company also collaborates with academic institutions and the wider cybersecurity community to promote knowledge sharing and improve overall security awareness.

9. Compliance and Governance

Censys helps organizations meet regulatory requirements by providing visibility into their security posture and ensuring that they adhere to best practices and standards, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

For What Purposes Would You Use Censys?

A company would use Censys to gain continuous visibility into their digital assets, identify vulnerabilities, manage cyber risks, monitor threats, assess third-party risks, ensure compliance, and improve overall cybersecurity posture.


Censys has gained recognition as a valuable tool in the cybersecurity industry, with customers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to government agencies and cybersecurity researchers.

By offering a comprehensive view of the global attack surface, Censys empowers organizations to make informed decisions, improve their security posture, and ultimately protect their digital assets from cyber threats.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional