What is Threat Intelligence?
Threat intelligence, also known as cyber threat intelligence, is data that an organisation utilises to understand the risks that have targeted, will target, or are presently attacking them. Threat intelligence, which is driven by data, provides context, such as who is striking you, what their motivation is, and what infiltration indicators to look for in your systems — to assist you in making informed security decisions. This information is used to plan for, prevent, and recognise cyber assaults aimed at stealing important resources.
Threat intelligence can assist firms in gaining practical knowledge about these threats, developing effective defence systems, and mitigating risks that might harm their bottom line and reputation. After all, focused attacks necessitate targeted defence, and cyber threat information enables more proactive protection.
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Importance of Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence systems collect raw data from various sources on new or existing malicious attackers and threats. This data is then examined and filtered to provide threat intelligence feeds and management reports, including information that automated security control systems may use. The primary purpose of this type of cybersecurity is to keep enterprises informed about the dangers presented by advanced persistent attacks, zero-day attacks, vulnerabilities, and how to protect themselves against them.
Some businesses strive to integrate threat data streams into their network but don’t know what to do with all that additional data. This adds to a load of analysts who may lack the skills to select what to prioritise and disregard.
A cyber intelligence system may be able to solve each of these concerns. In the best solutions, machine learning is used to automate the processing of information, incorporating with your existing options, collect unstructured data from multiple sources, and then find a link by providing information on indicators of compromise (IoCs) and also threat players’ plans, methodologies, and procedures (TTP).
Threat information is actionable because it is timely, gives context, and is understandable by those in charge of making choices.
Threat intelligence aids enterprises of all sizes by assisting in the processing of threat data to truly comprehend their adversaries, respond to incidents faster and anticipate a threat actor’s next move. This data enables SMBs to attain levels of protection that might otherwise be out of range. Enterprises with huge security teams, on the other hand, may decrease costs and necessary skills by using external threat intelligence and making their analysts more competent.
The Threat Intelligence Life cycle
The intelligence lifecycle is the process of converting raw data into polished intelligence for decision making and action. In your study, you will come across several slightly different variations of the intelligence cycle, but the purpose remains the same – to guide a cybersecurity team through the development and implementation of a successful threat intelligence programme.
Threat intelligence is challenging to manage since threats continually develop, requiring firms to react swiftly and take effective action. The intelligence cycle provides a structure for teams to maximise their resources and respond effectively to threats. This cycle has six parts that culminate in a feedback loop to stimulate ongoing improvement:
Stage 1 – REQUIREMENTS
The requirements stage is critical to the threat intelligence lifecycle because it establishes the road map for a particular threat intelligence operation. During this stage of planning, the team will agree on the objectives and methods of their intelligence programme based on the stakeholders’ demands.
Prioritise your intelligence objectives based on characteristics such as how closely they conform to your organisation’s fundamental values, the magnitude of the ensuing choice, and the decision’s timeliness.
Stage 2 – COLLECTION
The following step is to collect raw data that meets the standards established in the first stage. It is vital to collect data from various sources, including internal sources such as network event logs and records of previous incident responses and external sources such as open web, dark web, etc.
Threat data is commonly regarded as lists of IoCs, such as malicious IP addresses, domains, and file hashes, but it may also contain vulnerability information, such as customers’ personal information, raw codes from paste sites, and text from news organisations or social media.
Stage 3 – PROCESSING
The translation of acquired information into a format usable by the organisation is called processing. All raw data obtained must be processed, whether by individuals or robots. Various gathering methods frequently necessitate different processing approaches. Human reports may need to be connected & sorted and, deconflicted & verified.
Extraction of IP addresses from a security vendor’s report and addition to a CSV file for import into a security information and event management (SIEM) software is one example. In a more technological context, processing may entail collecting signs from an email, augmenting them with additional data, and then interacting with endpoint protection systems for automatic blocking.
Stage 4 – ANALYSIS
Analysis is a human activity that converts processed data into intelligence for decision-making. Depending on the circumstances, judgments may include investigating a possible danger, what urgent measures to take for attack prevention, how to tighten security controls, or how much investment in new security resources is justifiable.
The manner in which the information is delivered is crucial. It is pointless and inefficient to gather and analyse information only to offer it in a format that the decision-maker cannot understand or use.
Stage 5 – DISSEMINATION
After that, the final product is disseminated to its target users. To be actionable, threat intelligence must reach the right people at the right time.
It must also be tracked to ensure continuity across intelligence cycles and that learning is not lost. Ticketing systems that interface with your other security systems may be used to track each stage of the intelligence cycle – as a new intelligence demand comes up, tickets can be submitted, written up, evaluated, and fulfilled by various individuals from different teams, all in one location.
Stage 6 – FEEDBACK
The last step of the threat intelligence lifecycle entails gathering input on the delivered report to assess whether any changes are required for future threat intelligence activities. Stakeholders’ priorities, the frequency of receiving intelligence reports, and how data should be shared or presented may vary.
Types of Cyber Threat Intelligence
There are three tiers of cyber threat intelligence: strategic, tactical, and operational.
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How does one benefit from threat intelligence?
It strengthens the organisation's cyber defence capabilities. It helps identify threat actors and make more accurate forecasts in order to prevent the abuse or theft of information assets.
What does cyber threat intelligence do?
Operational or technical cyber threat intelligence provides highly specialised, technically focused intelligence to advise and assist incident response; such intelligence is frequently associated with campaigns, malware, and/or tools, and may take the shape of forensic reports.
What is cyber threat analysis?
The practice of comparing information concerning vulnerabilities in an organisation's network versus real-world cyber threats is known as cyber threat analysis. It is a method that combines vulnerability testing with a risk assessment to provide a more comprehensive knowledge of the various dangers that a network may face.