Introduction to Threat Intelligence
The information used by the organization to understand the threats targeting them or the possibility of threats in the future is called threat intelligence. The threats trying to misuse the organization’s valuable resources can be identified and prevented using this information. Cyber threats are terrifying and can damage the reputation and identity of the organization. A strong defense against these threats can be built with the help of threat intelligence. It can defend the threats effectively. It is important to understand how cyber threat works to choose the right solutions.
Raw data from the existing threats are gathered from multiple sources by threat intelligence. The automated security control solutions use the information present in the intel feeds and management reports produced by analyzing and filtering the gathered data. This security aims to inform the organization of advanced continuous threats, zero-day threats, and exploit risks and provide protection against such threats.
The following objectives can be achieved by implementing threat intelligence:
- Staying up to date with daily emerging threats, methods, weaknesses, targets, etc., that are huge in volumes.
- Make us more proactive against the threats that are about to happen in the future.
- Informing the users, stakeholders, and leaders about the latest threats and their effects on their businesses.
How Does it Work?
Threat intelligence is the output product of a cycle of data collection, processing, and analysis that consists of six parts. An intelligence program becomes effective when it is iterative in nature, becoming more refined in each iteration. This can be produced effectively if the use cases are identified and the objectives are defined.
The steps to maximize the value of threat intelligence are:
1. Planning and Direction
Asking the right question is the first step to produce valuable threat intelligence. The questions must be focused on a single fact or single event, or single activity, and such questions add to the value of threat intelligence. Open and broad questions must be avoided. The intelligence objectives must be based on factors like how close they are to the organization’s core values, the impact of the resulting decision, and the decision time-sensitive. It is also important to understand who is benefitting from the output product.
The new requirements that are set up in the first stage must be fulfilled in this step by gathering the raw data. The data can be collected from a variety of sources. Network event logs and responses of the past incident’s records are the internal sources of data. Open web, dark web, etc., are the external sources of data. Threat data can be IOC’s list like malicious IP addresses, domains, etc., but there can also be personal identity information of customers, text from sources of news or social media that are vulnerable.
After it has been collected, the data must be sorted, organized with tags of metadata, and redundant information, or false positives and negatives, must be filtered out. The data collected by organizations are too huge to be processed by humans; hence data collection and processing must be automated.
The processed data must make sense, and that is taken care of in this step. The aim of the analysis is to find out the possible security issues and let the teams know to fulfill the requirements of intelligence. Based on the audience, it can be of many forms, but the basic idea is to make the audience understand by converting the data into a proper format.
This step does the distribution of the output product to its consumers. Right people at the right time must be available for the threat intelligence to be in action. There must be tracking of threat intelligence so that there is a continuation from one cycle of intelligence to another cycle of intelligence, and learning is maintained. The intelligence cycle is tracked using security systems, and they are integrated with ticketing systems. Multiple people from different teams accept, write up, and review the tickets whenever new intelligence requests come up.
When the intelligence cycle becomes a full circle going back to the initial planning phase is the final step in the intelligence cycle. When the output product is ready, the person who requested the product reviews it and checks if there are answers to all the questions asked. This makes for the objectives of the next threat intelligence cycle.
Benefits of Threat Intelligence
- The threats faced by the organization can be determined immediately.
- Decision-making by addressing the vulnerabilities and the order in which the vulnerabilities must be addressed can be determined by the information gained using threat intelligence.
- Emerging threats information can be accessed.
- The activities of cyber-criminals can be tracked using threat intelligence.
- If the organization or a brand is mentioned in social media can be monitored.
- The online channels of communication are monitored for proofs of activities of cybercrime.
- Checking the strength of the internet in the organization to determine if it’s vulnerable.
- Security breaches can be identified and prevented by using it.
- Fraud and theft can be prevented and minimized by incident monitoring.
- Threat management provides the information required for the risk management of the organization.
- The defenders are unable to act on security incidents with the highest priority because of signal-to-noise problems.
- The attackers are filing false threat reports to mislead the intelligence systems.
- Most of the data gathered by security people are duplicate in nature, thereby wasting time and effort.
- Security systems must match the attack speeds.
- Data can be turned into intelligence if and only if there is the identification of patterns.
Conclusion – Threat Intelligence
Modern security teams are driven by threat intelligence because it gives in-depth knowledge about threats, thereby protecting the organization from all kinds of attacks. Organizations recognize the value of threat intelligence, and studies show that organizations investing in intelligence are increasing day by day.
This is a guide to Threat Intelligence. Here we discuss how threat intelligence works and its drawbacks along with effective benefits. You can also go through our suggested articles to learn more –