Threat Intelligence Program

9 Rules to Help You Build Your Threat Intelligence Program

Reading Time: 6 minutes

A threat intelligence program can be a great asset to a modern organization. This is because it will help you design a reliable way to implement the threat intelligence data set you to accumulate, so you can speedily recognize and efficiently respond to growing threats.

Introducing an in-house cyber threat intelligence program as part of the larger cybersecurity endeavors can lead to several useful results. Today’s cybersecurity setting is tasking and necessitates that cyber intelligence analysts respond to changes speedily and efficiently. Nevertheless, there are several roadblocks encountered during the course of building a threat intelligence program, causing several organizations to make the same handful of mistakes. This is why EC-Council offers the Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) program to help organizations detect and prevent business risks by translating unknown external and internal threats into known threats.

What is threat intelligence?

Threat intelligence refers to an evidence-informed knowledge, which covers mechanisms, context, inferences, pointers, and action-focused recommendation regarding an emerging or present threat to organizational assets. This intelligence has many positive outcomes and can be applied to inform decisions regarding the target’s response to the threat.

Threat intelligence provides cyber intelligence analysts with the context that helps them to make informed decisions about an organization’s security position by responding to questions such as who is the attacker, what are the indicators of a compromise in the network or system, what is the motivation of the attacker, and what are they capable of?

What is a threat intelligence program?

A well-defined threat intelligence program is iterative and becomes more advanced as time goes on. Building a successful cyber threat intelligence program would require a well-tested process, the full commitment of the threat intelligence team, effective threat modeling tools, and the obtainability of technology.

Why is cyber threat intelligence important?

Security experts have been lagging behind their opponents who continue to introduce new attacks daily using sophisticated and innovative techniques. Also, most security experts are stalled by the broken negative security model, where they concentrate on attacks they’ve never encountered, which ensures they overlook new attacks.

However, the introduction of threat intelligence program has made the difference in how companies respond to threats and focus their resources on mitigating risks. Organizations need threat intelligence for effective defense against all forms of attacks. Cyber threat intelligence is important for the following reasons:

Provides Actionable Intelligence for effective defense

Cyber intelligence analysis offers a value-added benefit to cyber threat information, by decreasing uncertainty for the user, while helping the user to detect threats and openings. Through the intelligence gathered, the cybersecurity intelligence analyst can determine if the security defense system can really mitigate potential threats and adjust them as required. Threat intelligence provides you the context you need to make informed decisions and take productive steps.

Saves organization’s time and effort to manage threats and vulnerability

When there’s a successful cybersecurity attack, the organization that falls prey to this attack will spend tons of money on everything and anything to make it all go away. However, a cyber threat intelligence program can help your organization save money by constantly being aware and prepared to tackle any form of attack. With threat intelligence, security analysts can put measures in place that identifies and lessens the impact of an attack, saving you tons of money.

Collaborative effort

Since both people and machines work better together, they work smarter, ensuring the best possible defense against attacks, a cost-effective approach, and diminishes scenarios of burnouts. Organizations can also share their knowledge on an attack, which helps other organizations tackle a similar attack.

9 Important rules for implementing a threat intelligence program


Rule 1: Identify the assets you want to protect or safeguard

The very first step in this process is defining the need for Threat Intelligence by analyzing the assets or information systems that need to be protected

Rule 2: You need a plan

Every successful venture begins with a well-crafted plan. Doing everything at the same time will only overwhelm you and generate useless data and alerts. Threat intelligence is a broad field and doing everything at the same time will leave you burnt out.

You should start by defining your problem, determine how to resolve your problem, and what resources are available to help you solve it in the most effective manner.

Rule 3: Recognize typical user behaviors

You need to understand the characteristic user behaviors and their usage in the environment. You need to understand your audience even more than the attacker, so you can identify loopholes. It would be best if you were conversant with typical user behaviors that attackers can imitate.

Most people consider the threat intelligence domain as an elite-focused analyst environment. However, it has been discovered that threat intelligence is useful for everyone and every organization because it can help you identify leaked data, prioritize vulnerability patching and remediation, enhance security operations, speedup threat detection, and inform board-level decisions.

Rule 4: Hire personnel who understand threats

The expertise of your staff will determine the effectiveness of your threat intelligence program. Usually, building and implementing requires two skill sets. Your cybersecurity intelligence analyst needs to understand what it takes to build a threat intelligence program and also the business needs of the organization. The CTIA also needs to understand all the possible shades of threat intelligence so they can help design and direct the program at all levels.

Rule 5: Identify your threat intelligence requirements and use the appropriate tools

After hiring the right people, you need to adopt the right technologies to meet your needs. You need the right tools to be able to respond to and capture the information on your own incidents. Rather than subscribing to all the vendors offering all sorts of security data, you need a threat intelligence solution that can collect huge amounts of data from the dark and open web. At the same time, the TI solution must be able to eliminate the heavy lifting linked with cross-referencing, sorting, and verifying alerts before they are accessed by the certified threat intelligence analyst.

Rule 6: Determine your data sources

You need to gather data to identify the activities of malicious actors and mitigate them. You can gather threat intelligence data majorly from command and control networks, malware indicators, compromised devices, IP reputation, and phishing messages. Not understanding the context of an attack is what makes organizations spend their resources on the wrong technologies.

Furthermore, since you’ll likely implement multiple threat intelligence sources, you may want to ensure you don’t produce replica alerts. The best way to recognize an overlap is to understand how each intelligence vendor gets its data. Ensure you don’t fall prey for marketing hype about big data analysis, proprietary algorithms, or other scams pulled out of a spy novel.

Do your diligence by yourself by placing each provider through its strides before you fully commit. Ensure you build a stage into your threat intelligence program to offer context for your threat intelligence feeds before you include them to your active controls or monitors.

Rule 7: Deploying right set tools and methodologies for Threat Data Analysis and Processing

Based on the requirement analysis of what assets need to be protected, tools and techniques are used for threat modeling and processing. Tools and methods required for generating intelligence to protect an application will be different in case of a network or other system.

Rule 8: Choose a threat intelligence program that you can be integrated

Several technical threat intelligence is useless if you can’t integrate them into your existing security technologies or automate them to replace labor-intensive tasks. Even if it is manually generating reports, swapping between windows, or including fresh rules to security technologies, your manual procedures can be time-consuming. This is why there is a need to integrate threat intelligence technologies and manual tasks.

Rule 9: Communication is everything

Communication is one of the most significant aspects of a threat intelligence program. There must be a clear communication path between the cyber threat intelligence team and their respective audiences. You need to know if your audiences are happy with your services or not, whether they no longer need what you are offering, or whether they want something new.

Although, you may not be able to meet all their demands as some may be impractical. However, you need to be aware of the needs of your audience so you can incorporate them into your threat intelligence process where necessary.

How to become a cyber threat intelligence analyst

The Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) Program offered by EC-Council is a method-driven Threat Intelligence course that applies a holistic tactic, including concepts from planning the threat intelligence project and building a report to distributing threat intelligence. CTIA is an extremely interactive, standards-based, comprehensive, and intensive 3-day training program that imparts information security professionals with the knowledge needed to design and implement a professional threat intelligence.

The Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst exam can be confronted after the candidate has fully completed the official CTIA training program. The candidates can attend the official EC-Council CTIA training program through different modalities.

Modality in cyber threat intelligence training courses

  1. Cyber Threat Intelligence Training Online – Self paced
  2. Cyber Threat Intelligence Training Online – Live with Instructor
  3. Cyber Threat Intelligence Training – At Accredited Training Center with Instructor

For more information, visit our program page today!

get certified from ec-council
Write for Us