Cyber Threat Intelligence: what is it?
Many of us are familiar with cyber threats and intelligence concepts, but how these concepts relate to each other is a topic that needs to be discussed. Let’s start with the reason that led to the introduction of Cyber Threat Intelligence. Cyber Threat Intelligence has been introduced in the world of cyber security because it can anticipate future attacks before it reaches target networks. This helps organizations guard their networks by speeding up the decision-making process, disaggregating responses, and also providing better protection for the organization. In short, Cyber Threat Intelligence is a solution to prevent cyber threats or attacks in front of any network or organization.
Different types of cyber threats
Cyber Threat Intelligence can be divided into four different types.
- Strategic Threat Intelligence – This is the most difficult form of threat intelligence to create and is usually in the form of reports. Strategic threat intelligence presents an outline of organizational threat images. Strategic threat communication provides statistics such as defenses, threat actors, their targets, and the intensity of potential attacks while taking into account vulnerabilities and risks in an organization’s threat images. It requires the collection and analysis of human data, which requires a thorough understanding of cybersecurity and the accuracy of the global geopolitical situation.
- Tactical threat intelligence – Tactical intelligence is the easiest to create a threat image, and it is mostly automatic. A tactical threat includes more detailed information about TTP (tactics, techniques, and procedures), intelligence factors, and is intended primarily to understand the group attacking the security team. Intelligence gives them an idea of how to design defense strategies to mitigate these attacks. The report covers all security system vulnerabilities and risks that attackers can exploit, as well as ways to identify such attacks. The results can help strengthen existing security oversight mechanisms and also address network vulnerabilities. It is also machine readable, which means that security products can incorporate it through API integration or feeds.
- Technical threat intelligence – As the name suggests, it is technical in nature. Technical threat communication focuses primarily on specific evidence of an attack in the near future, identifying simple indicators of compromise (IOC) that include malicious IPs, URLs, file spreads, phishing email content, and other known fraudulent domains. The timing of technical information sharing is critical because fake URLs or malicious IPs expire in a few days.
- Operational threat image – Operational threat intelligence has expertise in cyber attacks. It provides detailed information on various factors such as nature, purpose, timing, how, why and what is behind each attack. The information is collected by attacking the online chats of hackers and their chat rooms, which is quite difficult. Operational intelligence is useful for cyber security professionals who are responsible for day-to-day operations and work in security operations centers (SOCs). Operation Intelligence’s largest customers are cyber security departments, such as vulnerability management, event response, and threat monitoring, making them more skilled and constructive in the performance of their tasks.
Who benefits from intimidation?
It is very important to know who the beneficiaries are and how they will benefit from the Cyber Threat Intelligence program. Cyber Threat Intelligence helps organizations process threat information that provides better information about attackers, responds quickly to events, and moves one step ahead of the threat actor. This information helps protect small and medium-sized organizations outside of normal security. On the contrary, companies with large security teams can influence Intel’s external threat to lower costs and required features, making their analysts more fruitful.
Threat Intelligence offers unique benefits to all members of the Security Team from top to bottom, including:
- Sec / IT Analyst – Improve prevention and detection techniques while improving defense against threats and attacks.
- Security Operation Center (SOC) – Helps an organization prioritize events based on risks and impacts to the organization.
- Computer Vulnerability Response Team (CSIRT) – Accelerate event management, prioritization, and investigation.
- Intel Analyst – Helps find and track threats to your organization.
- Executive Management – provides insights into options and solutions that help solve problems faced by organizations.
How can Cyber Security be enhanced with Cyber Threat Intelligence?
So far, we have gone through the role of cybersecurity and Cyber Threat Intelligence as a defense mechanism. Use of Threat Intelligence may vary by user and use. Therefore, it is necessary to choose a usage approach that can be used to identify the exact threat studies required for an organization. As a security program, the Cyber Threat Intelligence program must be constantly monitored and evaluated to ensure that it is working properly. Cyber Threat Intelligence acts as a cycle rather than a step-by-step process, with 6 processes in the threat communication cycle;
- The Direction – Direction / Requirements phase is important for the threat intelligence lifecycle as it prepares a strategic roadmap for a specific threat intelligence activity. It should cover many things, such as the list of assets to be defended and business processes, the prioritization of threats, and the threat intelligence you use. At this planning stage, the team accepts the motives and methods of their reconnaissance program based on the requirements of the participants. The team can find:
- Attackers and attack motives.
- The surface of the attack.
- Steps must be taken to strengthen defense against future threats.
- Gathering – Once the requirements are defined, the team begins to gather the information needed to achieve certain goals. Information can be obtained from a variety of sources, including reports on threat intelligence, social media, online forums, threat information, and security experts.
- Processing – Once raw data have been collected, they must be purified to a format suitable for analysis. Differences in collection methods can often lead to different forms of treatment. In most cases, this means organizing data points into spreadsheets, decoding files, translating data from external sources, and evaluating the significance and reliability of the data.
- Analysis – Analysis is the process of transforming processed information into intelligence that can lead the way to safety decisions. After processing the data set, the team must conduct a comprehensive analysis to find solutions to the questions posed at the requirement level. The team strives to turn data sets into functional targets and provide valuable recommendations to relevant people. It is important to display important information points in an easy-to-use way to help stakeholders make informed decisions.
- Dissemination – Dissemination of information, as the name implies, is the distribution of threat information to parties in need. The presentation of the analysis depends on the audience, as in most cases proposals need to be presented concisely in a one-page report or on a small slide without confusing technical terms.
- Feedback – Receiving feedback on a report to decide whether changes need to be made to future intelligence involves the final stages of the threat intelligence lifecycle. Participants may have changes in their preferences or activities for which they wish to receive intelligence reports or how information is shared or presented.
This is a cyclical process through which raw data becomes ready-made threat intelligence, which is an important tool for keeping cybersecurity up to date with best practices.
The role of threat intelligence in cybersecurity
Threat intelligence is useful for several reasons. The key is to help security professionals understand the attacker’s thought process, motives, and character. This information allows security teams to understand and comprehend the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by hackers that lead to potential monitoring, threat identification, and event response time.
Supporting Cyber Threat Intelligence can help companies acquire huge threat databases, which can significantly improve the effectiveness of their solutions. The main objective of cybersecurity information is to provide institutions with an in-depth understanding of what is happening outside their networks and to improve transparency in the cyber threats that pose the greatest risks to their infrastructure. Cyber Threat Intelligence also ensures that the security defense system is able to address these threats and improvise them as needed.
Ultimately, security solutions demonstrate their power threat intelligence.