What is cyber threat intelligence?
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What is threat intelligence?
Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) involves data that has undergone aggregation, processing, and analysis to help security teams understand threat actor behavior and prevent cyberattacks. Threat intelligence can also include gathered information from a variety of sources, such as SOAR (security orchestration automation and response), SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), DFIR (Digital Forensics and Incident Response), OISNT (Open Source Intelligence), and other tools.
Why is threat intelligence important?
At the most basic level, threat intel or threat intelligence can help give insight into today’s most sophisticated and advanced threats. Companies with advanced threat intelligence are armed to understand adversaries which bolsters their security posture. Modern day threat intelligence technology leverages several advantages against cybercriminals, which enables incident responders and IT security teams to move faster and make informed decisions backed by data when it comes to threats.
So, why do we need threat intelligence? The benefits to your organization include:
Provides better context into threats
Through the evidence-based knowledge that threat intelligence provides, organizations and their security teams gain actionable insight into threats. This added layer of context informs IT security staff of a threat’s severity, so they can tend to malicious activity timely and accurately. By providing information on how, where, and why adversaries attack, cybersecurity teams take advantage of cyber security threat intelligence to support their cyberattack prevention strategy.
Saves company time and resources
Strengthened by contextual threat intelligence, your organization’s security teams can avoid chasing down false positive alerts. These false positives are culprits for wasted resources and time, distracting security professionals from legitimate malicious activity.
Reveals adversary behavior
In today’s evolving threat landscape, the cybersecurity industry grapples with many challenges. Threat intelligence platforms provide detailed, actionable information into sophisticated threat actor behavior, such as TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) and real-world CTI from MITRE ATT&CK framework.
Supports data loss prevention
Organizations can identify cyber risks and stop sensitive data from being compromised, leaked, or stolen in a data breach by implementing a well-structured CTI program. Learn more about data protection for your organization, its importance, lifecycle, and risk management.
What are the top threat intelligence tools?
To support comprehensive cybersecurity infrastructure, CTI is critical to detection and response solutions and services.
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Threat Intelligence Lifecycle explained
The Threat Intelligence Lifecycle involves six stages, serving as a framework for threat intelligence security teams who continuously create actionable intel from the analysis of raw data. The Threat Intelligence Lifecycle aims to improve efficiency and functionality of threat intelligence platforms (TIPs).
The requirements phase (or roadmap development phase) lays the groundwork for a specific threat intel operation. The cybersecurity team creates a plan focused on defining a goal or methodology for the threat intelligence program. The business’ needs such as, the assets and attack surfaces needing protection, are factored in this stage of planning, alongside stakeholder requirements.
In this phase, the security team seeks to collect information in support of their defined objectives. Information is gathered from extracted logs and compiled data from security networks, tools, external resources, industry experts, and thought leaders.
Raw data is processed into a format that is usable for analysis once it has been gathered. The processing period involves managing data in which information is organized by machines or human expertise. This can include spreadsheets, data translation into other languages, and decrypting files. Organizations use different methods of processing for a variety of data collection techniques.
During analysis, processed threat data is translated into threat intelligence suitable for organization decision-makers. This information is made bite-sized and digestible, presented in a format that caters to stakeholders within the business.
The analysis of information presented is arranged depending on the audience it is presented to. The dissemination stage is where threat intelligence formatting is finished, becoming readily usable to organizations, decision-makers, and teams who need to make decisive, enriched cybersecurity decisions.
Receiving feedback on provided threat intelligence reports helps improve the threat intelligence lifecycle process. Each stakeholder will prioritize different areas and objectives. Troubleshooting cadence, formatting, and ways to present data for distribution alleviates organizational time used to conclude findings and facilitates prioritization efforts to address threat intelligence activities.
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What are the 3 types of threat intelligence?
Threat intelligence is categorized into 3 types, strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence, which focus distinct areas of cyberthreat information. Each cyber intelligence category provides varying levels of context to empower specific audiences.
Strategic threat intelligence
Strategic threat intel is a type of cyber security intelligence most helpful for organization decision-makers. This type of intelligence offers an intimate understanding of cybersecurity and their existing threat environments on a global scale. Strategic threat intelligence helps security and organizational leaders gain a deep understanding of the cyber risks posed to their businesses in relation to worldwide events. It sheds light on international cybersecurity events, foreign policy, and long-term trends, helping c-suite executive leadership pivot their organization’s cyber protection strategy.
Operational threat intelligence
Operational threat intelligence caters to SOC security analysts, threat hunters, and vulnerability management professionals by supporting cybersecurity teams responsible for the day-to-day operations and examining adversary behavior. This type of threat intelligence relies on human analysis to format raw data into actionable data used by the customer or individual. Operational intelligence focuses on adversarial capabilities to penetrate your organization’s cyber security infrastructure and TTPs.
Tactical threat intelligence
Tactical threat intelligence centers on the indicators of compromise (IOCs) of a cyberattack. Tactical threat intelligence is the simplest when it comes to creating, gathering, and collecting this type of data because of its ability to be generated through automated tools and cyber intelligence platforms. This type of threat intel is most commonly used by SIEM, Endpoint, Firewall, and SOC security.
Threat Intelligence FAQs
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What is a threat intelligence platform (TIP)?
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