What is Threat Intelligence?
Threat intelligence is information gathering and analysis that helps organizations understand the nature of cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Also, it helps with proactive protection and preparedness to mitigate the risks of being attacked. In addition, it allows organizations to correlate data from various sources to make better decisions about their security posture.
Types of Threat Intelligence
The purpose of Strategic Threat Intelligence is to provide a long-term view of an organization’s risk. The Strategic is an essential component for any organization because it helps identify threats and vulnerabilities before they happen. Also, this intelligence allows companies to understand them, assess the risk, and decide on a course of action.
Tactical threat intelligence provides insight into the plans and motives of the attacker. Moreover, it offers information about what threats are active in a particular region or industry niche and how to deal with the attack effectively. Generally, tactical intelligence is often used with other defensive techniques to combat all types of cyber-attacks before affecting the organization.
Technical Threat Intelligence is an analytical process that helps security professionals and organizations identify, classify, and prioritize new cyber threats. Naturally, its process begins with detecting a new threat by a third party or through proprietary methods. Then, the process classifies the new threat to evaluate how severe the risk of the particular cyber-attack is. Therefore, it helps to determine what type of countermeasures would be most effective for countering this cyber-attack.
Companies use Operational Threat Intelligence (OTI) for day-to-day activities to ensure the cyber protection of their employees on the job. Also, organizations can use OTI for incident response by providing real-time insights about malware, new attack vectors, vulnerabilities, or other security issues.
Benefits of Threat Intelligence
- Assists Intelligence Analysts uncover reveal bad actors and implementing precise predictions to evade information theft.
- Supports Security Analysts to improve the cyber defense features of an organization.
- Facilitates Vulnerability Management because it leverages significant insights and context to enable the prioritization of vulnerabilities.
- Assures that Security Operations Centers (SOC) offer solutions to boost integral notifications while enabling credible incident prioritization.
- Enables that Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) faster incident investigation, analyses, and remediation.
What is the Threat Intelligence Lifecycle?
Threat Intelligence Lifecycle (TIL) is a process that organizations follow to maintain their information security. It helps them identify threats and take the necessary steps to manage the risk of attack.
Planning and Direction
The Planning and Direction Phase is the first phase of the TIL. However, this phase requires IT experts to constantly monitor their networks and environments for vulnerabilities that affect them. The experts can use it to find what happened in the past with threats to prepare for future events properly. Also, it tries to predict how a threat could affect organizations and what type might arise shortly. Then, according to its prediction, it decides how best to deal with the threat.
Objectives of the Planning and Direction Phase:
- Define the strategy for developing and implementing a threat intelligence program involving different departments and led by the senior team.
- Develop an understanding of the threats that might affect the organization, including identifying new types of malware or malicious actors.
- Determining what assets are vulnerable to attack and understand how to neutralize attacks such as ransomware.
- Establishing a budget for developing, maintaining, and deploying a threat intelligence program.
- Define roles and responsibilities for staff involved.
- Identifying gaps in security intelligence and resources needed to close them.
While the least sexy of all phases of the TIL, Collection is the most critical. Typically, the recent phase collects data from different sources and puts them into a database or file system. Therefore, companies need to understand that there is nothing to analyze without collection and no context for making decisions.
Objectives of the Collection Phase:
- Gather information about threats by analyzing social media and other sources to create a baseline.
- Gathering information about malware to understand what adversaries are targeting, how they are stealing information, and how they might weaponize it in case of a successful attack.
- Identify types of threats.
- Analyzing and organizing collected data into a searchable database.
- Monitoring organizations who may be targets or victims of attacks to find out how to act against the adversaries.
- Analyze how often an event occurs to break down the data into different categories and assess potential threats and incidents more accurately.
- Follow industry events that may herald new attacks or new variations on existing ones.
The Processing phase takes the raw data from the collection phase and summarizes it. Therefore, the Processing phase involves creating structured, manageable data sets out of raw data. Then, here is where data analysts identify which threats are most important to the company. Hence, they produce a final report on their findings, summarizing what they found and recommending handling the situation.
Objectives of the Processing Phase:
- Cleaning up data (removing duplicate entries or discrepancies between different datasets with similar content) and reorganizing information before interpretation.
- Define the threats ( where they come from, how they manifest themselves).
- Preparing the data for analysis, which is the next stage of the Threat Intelligence Lifecycle.
Analysis and Production
The Analysis and Production phase of the TIL is about using information collected and processed intelligence to produce intelligence for a company’s needs. Also, the Analysis and Production period has two parts, analysis by humans and machine learning algorithms.
Objectives of the Analysis and Production Phase:
- Analyzing data to find any patterns or connections that might help predict a possible incident.
- Define implications that may come with their use of different technologies like Artificial Intelligence.
- Prioritizing these threats based on their severity and what other operations may be affected by them, like human safety or finances.
- Determining how we can counter these threats, like ongoing collaboration with partners or implementing new security features in our software products.
- Evaluating what type of intelligence is needed to counter the current threat and who has those pieces of intelligence.
- Produce Data Protection Objectives (DPOs) against cyberattacks, physical attacks, insider attacks to protect the organization and customer data.
- Validate conclusions through machine learning algorithms that are trained on known malicious behavior on the job.
Dissemination and Feedback
The Dissemination and Feedback phase informs the stakeholders about potential risks, vulnerabilities, and threats discovered in the organization during previous phases. Companies can spread information and measure its impact on people’s lives through the current stage to improve their processes.
Objectives of the Dissemination and Feedback Phase:
- Provide updates on the latest intelligence to all stakeholders.
- Publishing information through blogs, wikis, or social media posts.
- Utilizing feedback from stakeholders and create a plan for improvements the future campaigns.
What are Threat Intelligence tools?
Representatives from the intelligence community define a Threat Intelligence tool as a software application that enables users to collect, process, store, and display information about security threats to assist organizations in managing their cybersecurity.
Best 5 Threat Intelligence tools
UTMStack is a free Next-Gen SIEM and compliance platform that helps SMBs identify and mitigate cyber threats. Also, the tool involves all the phases of the intelligence cycle, such as analysis, collection of data, and more. However, it includes the development and implementation of protection measures and up-to-date monitoring to have better prevention. UTMStack uses threat intelligence solutions from multiples IP feeds and blacklisted domains to detect the most complex attacks. In addition, it’s capable of reporting any threats.
In conclusion, UTMStack is an intelligent information processing system that delivers all cybersecurity services. Some of them are SOC as a service, Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessment, Dark Web Monitoring, etc. Also, how the SIEM flattens the learning curve, customers can easily understand whether they are being attacked and by whom.
IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence is a cloud-based analytic software that provides valuable information about potential cybersecurity threats and attacks. Generally, IBM analyzes data from the dark web to get information about potential threats. Also, the threat intelligence database is updated continuously based on new findings and intel sources. On the other hand, the tool can analyze over 400 million events per day to provide users with updates on emerging information. In addition, IBM offers a score to evaluate the risk level of threats.
McAfee Enterprise Security Manager
McAfee SIEM is a threat intelligence tool for enterprises to monitor their networks and systems. It provides an overview of the current threats that the enterprise is facing to help them make informed decisions. Also, McAfee detects the newest threats without slowing down and without human intervention, ensuring that experts have access to updated data. The SIEM can be set up to automatically block any new threats before they reach the company’s network or system. Also, it has a wide range of advanced analytics.
SolarWinds Security Event Manager (SEM)
The security intelligence tool from SolarWinds is a free and open-source platform that provides detailed information about events or anomalies. In turn, it allows an immediate incident response by IT experts in organizations. Also, it identifies threats by correlating events from different sources like network flow records, vulnerability scans, malware alerts, etc. However, the SEM Threat Intelligence Platform was designed for environments where security teams need to protect high levels of criticality.
LogRhythm threat intelligence tool is a security system for IT administrators and security analysts. In turn, it aggregates, analyzes, and stores data from various sources to provide action. Also, the SIEM through SOC allows monitoring malicious activities and alerting experts when something suspicious is found. LogRhythm’s developers designed the system to be scalable, flexible, enterprise-grade. The software also has a REST API to integrate with other third-party products.