Cybersecurity is a complex and constantly evolving field. As threats change, so must the way we approach them. One of the most essential tools in any cybersecurity practitioner’s toolkit is threat intelligence.
What is Threat Intelligence?
Threat intelligence is a critical component of effective cyber defense. It’s an ongoing process that requires the collaboration of many different teams and organizations, including security operations centers (SOCs), threat research teams, network engineering, and forensics experts.
TI can be used in three primary ways:
- Identify cyber threats and vulnerabilities before they are exploited.
- Detect suspicious behavior within your network and respond quickly if an attack occurs.
- Improve the overall security posture of your organization by helping you prioritize your efforts based on accurate threat information and analysis.
Why is Threat Intelligence Important?
- Threat intelligence sheds light on the unknown by helping security professionals understand how an adversary operates, their intentions, and how they intend to carry out their objectives.
- Threat intelligence helps you better understand the adversary’s decision-making process so that you can prevent attacks from happening in the future.
- Threat intelligence empowers business stakeholders – including executive boards, CISOs, CIOs, and CTOs – with the information they need to make informed decisions based on data rather than speculation or assumptions about an attack’s likelihood or impact.
Who Benefits from Threat Intelligence?
A good threat intelligence program provides value to a wide range of stakeholders. Here’s a list of some of the key groups that can benefit from threat intelligence:
- IT security professionals
- IT security managers and directors
- Chief information security officers (CISOs)
- Chief information officers (CIOs)
- Chief executive officers (CEOs)
The Lifecycle of Threat Intelligence
In the past, cyberattacks were limited to a small number of computers located in one country. Nowadays, however, attacks are much more widespread and can be launched from anywhere in the world. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for security teams to keep track of all the latest threats and stay on top of them quickly enough before they cause any damage.
This is where the threat intelligence lifecycle comes in handy: it’s a comprehensive framework that organizes all different aspects of threat intelligence processes into six stages (direction, collection, processing, analysis & dissemination) so you can focus on what matters most for your organization’s needs.
The threat intelligence lifecycle begins with establishing which assets and business processes need protection the most.
- Determine the threat intelligence objectives.
- Set the threat intelligence strategy.
- Set the threat intelligence mission, vision and goals.
Threat intelligence data helps you understand and proactively protect your organization from cyber threats. It includes data, such as known malicious IP addresses, domain names, email addresses, and other indicators of compromise (IOCs) that can be used to block or detect malicious activity. You can collect threat intelligence by using various methods, including:
- Feeds – These are automated notifications sent by feed providers when new IOCs are identified or existing IOCs change in status (e.g., become active again).
- Databases – These contain manually curated datasets of IOCs maintained by researchers or organizations like ours at Cyber Sainik.
- Dashboards – These pull together multiple types of threat data into one interface so you can quickly identify potential threats to your organization’s infrastructure and act on them accordingly.
The next step in a threat intelligence lifecycle is processing. Once you have your data, you need to clean it and make it useful. This can be done manually or with automation tools that automate the cleansing process.
One of the most important steps in this stage is the enrichment of data by adding context and metadata such as keywords, locations, domains, and more. The goal here is to enhance your data to be more accurate and useful for analysts when they conduct analysis later on in your workflow process.
Next, you will analyze your data. This step is where you find patterns and make sense of what’s going on in your environment. Look for modules that allow you to perform analysis tasks—such as pattern recognition (using machine learning), malicious behavior detection (using threat intelligence), or event correlation (connecting related events together).
Dissemination is a crucial part of Threat Intelligence, where you share your threat intelligence with others. This can be done through a number of different channels, including webinars, training sessions, and presentations.
Regardless of how you’re sharing information about threats to your organization, it’s critical that you only share relevant information that will help keep everyone safe.
Feedback is the final stage of the Threat IntelligenThreat Intelligence Lifecycle and can be used to improve the process. Feedback from all stakeholders can have positive effects on both effectiveness and efficiency. For example, feedback from incident responders can help improve detection capabilities, which will, in turn, reduce time-to-response. Feedback from analysts could also lead to better prioritization processes so that more users receive timely information when they need it most.
Contact us for a free consultation
Threat intelligence is a vital part of any cybersecurity strategy. It’s important to know what threats exist, how they evolve, and where they originate. Our team’s ability to detect and respond quickly to new threats allows organizations to stay ahead of attackers and protect their data, systems, and users. We would love to help you with your threat intelligence requirements and advise you on the best way forward.