Cyber threat intelligence refers to a dynamic, adaptive technology that leverages large-scale threat history data to proactively block and remediate future malicious attacks on a network. Cyber threat intelligence itself is not a solution, but it is a crucial security architecture component. Because of evolving threats, security solutions are only as effective as the intelligence powering them.
What is Cyber Threat Analysis
Cyber threat analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating the properties of potentially malicious threats and files. Proper cyber threat analysis is a foundational priority for excellent, actionable cyber threat intelligence.
Traditionally, security defenses strictly focused on granting or denying access at the perimeter. Evolved threats, however, use a series of stealth capabilities to avoid detection. Cyber threat analysis provides continuous assessment of files throughout their lifetime. If the analysis of the file identifies it as a threat at any point, the threat will be documented and universally blocked.
Why is Cyber Threat Intelligence important?
Cyber threat intelligence is the end result of cyber threat analysis. It is a collection of finding that can be used to take action and defend against threats. Rather than manually grant or deny access, track malicious threats, and record previously identified malefactors, cyber threat intelligence allows for automated universal actions. For instance, if a file has been identified as malicious, it can immediately be blocked across all networks globally.
By investing in cyber threat intelligence, businesses can access massive threat databases that can exponentially improve the efficacy of their solutions. At the end of the day, security solutions are only as strong as the threat intelligence that powers them.
Type of Cyber Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence is often broken down into three subcategories:
- Strategic — Broader trends typically meant for a non-technical audience
- Tactical — Outlines of the tactics, techniques, and procedures of threat actors for a more technical audience
- Operational — Technical details about specific attacks and campaigns (sometimes also called technical threat intelligence)
Cyber Threat Intelligence Life Cycle
Let’s explore the 6 steps below:
The requirements stage is crucial to the threat intelligence lifecycle because it sets the roadmap for a specific threat intelligence operation. During this planning stage, the team will agree on the goals and methodology of their intelligence program based on the needs of the stakeholders involved.
Once the requirements are defined, the team then sets out to collect the information required to satisfy those objectives. Depending on the goals, the team will usually seek out traffic logs, publicly available data sources, relevant forums, social media, and industry or subject matter experts.
After the raw data has been collected, it will have to be processed into a format suitable for analysis. Most of the time, this entails organizing data points into spreadsheets, decrypting files, translating information from foreign sources, and evaluating the data for relevance and reliability.
Once the dataset has been processed, the team must then conduct a thorough analysis to find answers to the questions posed in the requirements phase. During the analysis phase, the team also works to decipher the dataset into action items and valuable recommendations for the stakeholders.
The dissemination phase requires the threat intelligence team to translate their analysis into a digestible format and present the results to the stakeholders. How the analysis is presented depends on the audience. In most cases the recommendations should be presented concisely, without confusing technical jargon, either in a one-page report or a short slide deck.
The final stage of the threat intelligence lifecycle involves getting feedback on the provided report to determine whether adjustments need to be made for future threat intelligence operations. Stakeholders may have changes to their priorities, the cadence at which they wish to receive intelligence reports, or how data should be disseminated or presented.
Efficiently leveraging threat intelligence can prove to be a valuable investment for your company. With different security tools available today, security teams are inundated with the threat information. Leveraging an advanced TIP can provide centralized data management and allow threat intelligence sharing, enhancing security teams’ capabilities to detect threats and respond to them.