Let us start with the cyber threat intelligence definition. It is the data collected, analyzed and processed to understand a threat actor’s targets, motives and attack behaviour. Cybersecurity threat intelligence enables one to make informed, faster, data-backed security decisions putting one in a position to change reactive responses in cyber threat management to proactive behaviour in the fight against threat-actors.
In cyber threat intelligence security, APTs (advanced persistent threats) and defenders are in a constant race to outmanoeuvre each other. Cyber threat intelligence is important because:
The process of transforming raw data into decision-making finished intelligence is called the threat intelligence lifecycle, and its goal is to lead the cyber threat intelligence security team through the development to execution cycle of threat intelligence programs. The lifecycle of data has 6 stages.
The requirements stage undertaken by the team sets the roadmap for a specific threat intelligence operation. At this stage, the team will agree on the cyber threat intelligence framework, methodology, goals etc., of their intelligence program based on the stakeholder needs.
Having defined the requirements of cyber threat intelligence, the team collects the required information.
The raw data is then formatted in an analysis-suitable format for further processing.
Next, the team analyzes the data for probable answers and works to decipher the dataset into valuable recommendations and actionable items for use by the stakeholders.
This phase translates the analysis of cyber threat intelligence into data-based results and digestible format before being presented as recommendations to the stakeholders in a concise form.
The feedback loop on the report allows for adjustments being made for future threat intelligence operations and stakeholder changes in priorities.
Threat intelligence use cases:
Cyber threat intelligence has benefits across the organization, helping persons in various roles understand threat data better and thus respond faster proactively. Some use cases by the function are:
Threat intelligence on potential or existing threats needs an understanding of what is threat intelligence, its analysis and the context of CTI, which can be broadly grouped into 3 types catering to different needs, costs and depending on client needs.
Tactical intelligence is advanced threat intelligence focusing on the technical and immediate future threats and IOCs (indicators of compromise) and can be URLs, bad IP addresses, file hashes, known malicious domain names etc. API integration and security products can find these threats as they are machine-readable. Tactical cyber threat intelligence is always automated, has a short lifecycle and is easy to generate.
Cybersecurity professionals study their adversaries in operational cyber threat intelligence, figuring out the attribution (who), intent (why), threat actor TTPs (how) behind the attack. Data is used to provide the threat intelligence framework, context and arrive at insights in operational intelligence. It is more costly and has a longer lifecycle.
In strategic intelligence, foreign policies, global events, and local/international factors and movement are accounted for and gauge the impact on cybersecurity of an organization. Such reports are expensive and difficult to generate.
Cyber threat intelligence tools help organizations ingest intelligence, plan and execute actions, which help justify the intelligence investment and maximize its impact. Some of the benefits of threat intelligence tools like the Falcon X, which is CrowdStrike’s intel solution, are
In conclusion, threat intelligence tools help one reap the benefits of cyber threat intelligence. Threat intelligence definition and data on a threat actor’s next move is crucial to proactive behaviour and tailoring defences to preempt future attacks. Modern threat intelligence tools/solutions today operate in real-time and are highly automated, enabling all team members, team sizes etc. exploit cyber threat intelligence data better. SMBs especially use this threat intelligence data for a higher level of protection. At the same time, larger enterprises see benefits in leveraging data better across the entire board of roles and use cases of large teams.
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