Digital technologies have transformed the world’s economic and cultural bodies by providing automation and greater connectivity to almost all the industry making it a very attractive ground for cyberattacks.
Cyber Threat Intelligence is the collection of data that is analyzed using tools and techniques to understand the threat and take action against the cyberattack’s motives, goals, and attack behavior. It enables users to be proactive to combat the attacks by making quicker and more informed security decisions before being attacked.
Cyber Threat Intelligence connects universal actions. For example, if a file has been identified as a hacker, it can be blocked globally, across all networks in no time.
Today, businesses can have access to immense threat databases that can exponentially improve the efficiency of solutions by investing in cyber threat intelligence.
What are the different types of Threat Intelligence?
1. Strategic threat intelligence
Strategic threat intelligence delivers a broad overview of the threat landscape of an organization. It’s the main security for executive-level and other decision marketing professionals to provide high-level strategy built on the data in the reports, which is less technical. It offers understandings of defencelessness and threats linked with precautionary actions, threat actors and goals, and the effect of the possible attacks.
2. Tactical Threat Intelligence
Tactical threat intelligence is the basic type of intelligence that is much detailed in the tactics of the threat actor, the techniques, and procedures (TTPs). It understands the attack paths and provides effective ways to defend against or lessen those attacks. The report includes the weak points in the security systems that could be targeted and ways to identify such attacks. Using this data, you strengthen the current security controls or processes that could have been attacked and work on securing and strengthening the weak areas in the system, speeding up incident response.
3. Technical Threat Intelligence
Technical threat intelligence emphasizes particular proofs or indications of an attack and creating a base to study such attacks. Threat Intelligence analyst scans reported IP addresses, malware samples, the content of phishing emails, and fraudulent URLs which are known as indicators of compromise (IOCs). The timing in technical intelligence is very critical to share as IOCs such as fraudulent URLs or malicious IPs become obsolete in a few days.
4. Operational Threat Intelligence
Operational threat intelligence is the most useful type of threat intelligence as it is known to focus on the knowledge about cyber-attacks and connected events. It gives detailed insights on the causes of the attack like the nature, motive, timing, and pattern on how the attack was done. The hacker information is gathered from their online discussion or chats, which makes it tough to acquire.
Who will Benefit from Threat Intelligence?
Cyber threat intelligence adds value across security functions for organizations of all sizes, helping them process the data to understand their attackers, speeding up their response to incidents, and proactively staying ahead of the threat actor’s next move.
Small businesses attain a level of protection that would have been impossible and by leveraging external threat intelligence, enterprises with big security teams can cut costs and required skills. Making their analysts more efficient and effective.
Unique advantages offered to the security team by threat intelligence:
- Sec/IT Analyst – Can enhance stoppage and finding abilities and strengthen defenses
- SOC – Cab prioritize cases based on risk and effect to the organization
- CSIRT – Can accelerate case investigations, management, and prioritizing
- Intel Analyst – Can expose and track threat actors targeting the organization
- Executive Management – Can recognize the risks the organization encounters and the options to address their effect.
What is the Importance of threat intelligence in cybersecurity?
It is essential for the continuous monitoring of cybersecurity threat intelligence as the nature of threats is always on the change. Threat intelligence is useful in many ways but most importantly it helps security professionals understand the thought process, motives, and attack behavior of the attacker causing the threat. This data educates the security teams on the attacker’s tactics, techniques, and procedures workings, and these learnings can be used to improve the current security efforts like threat monitoring, identification, and incident response time.
How to power Your Cyber Security with Cyber Threat Intelligence?
It’s high time to keep connected systems and devices up, running, and protected with cyber threat intelligence for which a cyber threat intelligence analyst needs to have a good understanding of the industry being working on. A cyber-threat intelligence analyst tries to learn and understand the attacker by questioning similar questions:
- Who are these attackers?
- What are they using to attack?
- Where exactly are they targeting?
- When are they going to attack us?
- Why are they attacking us?
- How does this attacker function?
The threat intelligence life cycle has 5 basic stages:
1. Planning and Direction
The first step is to ask the right question. This is where the analyst has to consider the 5 Ws and How questions. An organization should always investigate with others in a similar industry to check if they too are facing similar attacks.
2. Collection and Processing
This step seconds the first stage. The collected data will direct how an organization builds its cybersecurity structure, and this information should come from trustworthy sources. Firstly collecting data within the organization, like network logs and scans to other trustworthy security research establishments.
Now, the threat intelligence analyst tries to put together the processed data to find any gaps where an attacker could get in or have already made its way. If an attacker has already penetrated the network, the investigation will be done by a SOC analyst. With the gathered information, the organization can decide to share it with the cyber community, for other organizations to be alert and prepared.
In the dissemination stage, the threat intelligence team is required to present a light format of their analysis and the results to the stakeholders. The analysis is translated and presented briefly, avoiding any confusion to its audience.
Feedback is the final stage of the threat intelligence lifecycle and getting accurate feedback on the presented report can determine whether any further alterations need to be made for threat intelligence operations. There could be changes based on the Stakeholders’ priorities, which they wish to receive in the intelligence reports, or how data should be presented to them.
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash
Creator; Mubarak Musthafa, Vice President of Technology & Services at ClaySys Technologies.