Let’s say you’re going on vacation next week to a foreign country. You need to know the weather so you can pack appropriately. You open a weather app, enter your destination, and see that it will be warm, but there’s a slight chance of rain, so you throw an umbrella into your bag. Behind the scenes, a lot happens to generate that forecast. The app gathers data from numerous satellites, ground stations, and radars, feeding it into computer models, which process and analyze it to predict future weather patterns.
Like the weather app, a business can gather data from threat intelligence feeds to predict potential threats, mitigate attacks and make more informed decisions about strengthening their security posture.
What Is Threat Intelligence?
Threat intelligence is the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data and information related to potential threats, vulnerabilities, and adversaries in the digital landscape. It aims to uncover the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) employed by threat actors to compromise systems, steal data, or disrupt operations.
In essence, threat intelligence is the bedrock of cybersecurity. It’s the fuel that powers the identification, prevention, and mitigation of cyberattacks, and it plays a vital role in threat hunting and incident response. Using threat intelligence insights, security teams can effectively prioritize and allocate resources to reduce security risks and implement more robust defense strategies to proactively protect their digital assets. Should an attacker enter an organization’s infrastructure through an unpatched vulnerability, for example, threat intelligence can enable teams to detect and respond to attacks quicker or help them mitigate the impact of an attack.
Without threat intelligence, the cybersecurity world would be left with limited visibility, reduced capabilities, and a diminished ability to protect digital assets and sensitive information.
The Need for Timely and Actionable Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence is not a static process; it must match pace with the dynamic and rapidly evolving digital world to be effective. As threat actors continually develop new methods like using Rust to bypass security measures, threat intelligence must be infused with the latest indicators, attack patterns, and signatures. Stale or outdated information could lead to false positives or missed opportunities to detect and respond to threats.
Yet, simply knowing about potential threats is not enough. Threat intelligence needs to provide specific, context-rich insights that allow organizations to understand the relevance and severity of the threat and determine the appropriate response. It’s that actionable information that enables security teams to swiftly and precisely defend against threats.
Threat intelligence comes from a wide range of sources, including both external intelligence feeds and internal data repositories. External threat intelligence can come from:
- Open-source feeds which include publicly available information from security blogs, forums, and research communities
- Government agencies and security organizations that share threat intelligence to enhance collective defense and protect critical infrastructure
- Industry-specific Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) aggregate and disseminate threat intelligence among organizations within an industry
- Commercial feeds from cybersecurity vendors that provide curated and vetted threat intelligence data backed by research teams and advanced analytics
Hundreds of threat intelligence feeds are available, but more data doesn’t necessarily equate to better intelligence. Some feeds may offer irrelevant, inaccurate, or redundant information, inundating or overwhelming already thinly stretched teams. However, with such a complex landscape, security professionals must aggregate and analyze information from numerous intelligence feeds to comprehensively understand the potential threats they face – a task that is impossible to do manually.
Threat Intelligence, Automation, and The SOC
The sheer volume of threat intelligence feeds and the velocity of emerging threats demand an automated approach for scalability. That’s where a well-equipped SOC, like CYREBRO, becomes invaluable.
CYREBRO harnesses the power of automation to access, consolidate and analyze not only hundreds of external threat sources but also its own internal threat intelligence pool. This comprehensive approach ensures a broad coverage of potential threats and adversaries.
Integrating threat intelligence within the SOC amplifies its efficacy in critical ways, including enhancing situational awareness, detecting threats early, responding effectively to security incidents, and enabling proactive threat hunting. The result is that businesses can identify malicious activities, prepare for emerging threats, minimize the impact of cyber incidents, and make smarter security decisions.
Shira Naggan, CYREBRO’s Threat Intelligence Team Leader, aptly describes the essence of threat intelligence:“Threat Intelligence can be compared to the ‘guiding light’ that operates behind the scenes, casting its light on the intricate and ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity. Threat intelligence investigations act as a beacon, offering clarity and direction by providing comprehensive insights into the nature of threats and unveiling the identities of threat actors, their capabilities, and the tools they employ. Gathering and analyzing this information gains an invaluable edge, empowering us to proactively outmaneuver threat actors and prevent potential future attacks.”
The Advantage of Threat Intelligence
The number of threat actors is growing daily. Today, hackers can turn to once legitimate platforms like Telegram and Google Drive to buy and learn how to deploy malware packages with ease. They can become affiliates for the notorious BlackCat gang, which offers a ransomware-as-a-service model, training and paying them handsomely to launch attacks.
The good news is that as threat actors innovate and band together, the cybersecurity community responds in kind. Threat intelligence now operates globally, transcending boundaries and becoming a collaborative effort where cybersecurity professionals worldwide share insights, indicators, and analysis. This collective knowledge serves as a force multiplier, enhancing the ability of all organizations to combat the ever-evolving threat landscape.
In the increasingly complex world of cybersecurity, the value of threat intelligence cannot be overstated. As we progress further into 2023, threats continue to evolve at an alarming pace, making it nearly impossible to stay safe without leveraging the power of threat intelligence. With insights offered by threat intelligence on their side, organizations can fight the good fight, proactively identifying, mitigating, and neutralizing threats and safeguarding their digital environments.