With cyber threats becoming increasingly difficult to track and manage, proactive security approach must be taken in order to protect their assets from a breach. This requires ongoing visibility into the threat landscape and the methods cyber adversaries are employing to carry out attacks. One way this can be achieved is with cyber threat intelligence and security data, which can be used to inform security strategies and ensure that organizations are actively managing threats. To get the most out of threat intelligence, it is important that you understand its different applications so that you can choose a solution that best meets the needs of your business. Below we will break down the key elements of cyber threat intelligence and analyze how it can be used to enhance security programs.

What

Cyber threat intelligence refers to the data collected and used by an organization to better comprehend past, current, and future threats. The information gathered provides visibility into what is happening within an organization’s network, helping to identify potential threats and stay protected against future attacks. Applying insights obtained via threat data allows security teams to make quicker, more informed security decisions so they can stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

Why

The threat landscape is constantly evolving and becoming more and more complex. Even if you have basic security measures in place, it is often not enough to keep your IT team informed on the current state of cyber threats. Threat intelligence is useful that it helps security professionals understand an attacker’s thought process, revealing motives and attack behavior behind a threat. This information helps security teams learn the tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by potential hackers, leading to improved threat monitoring, threat identification, and incident response time.

Life Cycle

Types

There are four types of threat intelligence

Strategic threat intelligence

Strategic cyberthreat intelligence is a broader term usually reserved for a non-technical audience. It uses detailed analyses of trends and emerging risks to create a general picture of the possible consequences of a cyberattack. Simply put, it asks the question: “Given our technical landscape, what’s the worst that can happen?” This information is often presented to high-level decision makers within an organization, like board members, so it focuses on broader impacts. Some examples include whitepapers, policy documents, and publications distributed within the industry.

Tactical threat intelligence

Tactical threat intelligence offers more specific details on threat actors TTPs. It’s intended for a predominantly technical audience and helps them understand how their network might be attacked based on the latest methods attackers use to achieve their goals. They look for Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) evidence like IP addresses, URLs, and system logs to use to help detect future data breach attempts. Tactical, evidence-based threat intelligence is usually reserved for security teams or the people in an organization directly involved with protecting the network.

Technical threat Intelligence

Technical threat intelligence focuses on the technical clues indicative of a cybersecurity threat, like the subject lines to phishing emails or fraudulent URLs. This type of threat intelligence is important because it gives people an idea of what to look for, making it useful for analyzing social engineering attacks. However, since hackers change up their tactics, techniques, and procedures frequently, technical threat intelligence has a short shelf life.

Operational Threat Intelligence

Operational threat intelligence helps IT defenders understand the nature of specific cyberattacks by detailing relevant factors like nature, intent, timing, and sophistication of the group responsible. Operational threat intelligence is where you get into secret agent stuff like infiltrating hacker chat rooms. Less experienced threat groups might discuss their evil deeds online, but the good ones probably won’t, so operational intelligence can mean playing the long game. Still, all facets of cyberthreat intelligence are necessary for a comprehensive threat assessment.

Benifits

  • Security Analysts: It boosts the organization’s cyber defense capabilities.
  • Intelligence Analyst: It helps uncover threat actors, and helps make more accurate predictions to prevent the misuse or theft of information assets.
  • Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT): It speeds up incident investigations, analyses and remediation
  • SOC: It provides a “single pane of glass” solution to strengthen internal alerts and enable better incident prioritization
  • Vulnerability Management: It leverages key insights and context to prioritize vulnerabilities

Final Thoughts

In our globally expanding threat landscape, cyber threats can have serious repercussions. But with timely, targeted and contextual threat intelligence, enterprises can shore up their defenses, as well as mitigate the risks that could damage their reputation and financial health, keeping them a few steps ahead of clever cybercriminals. The time for reactive security is long gone. Proactive threat intelligence is here to stay.