A comprehensive security program focuses on individual goals along with the understanding of processes that makes data useful intelligence. ‘Threat Intelligence’ has become a special buzzword in today’s cybersecurity landscape. However, not many people know what it truly means. The word ‘threat intelligence’ is often misused with ‘threat data’ but they are not the same. In fact, threat data is just a tiny part of the entire threat intelligence process.
What is Threat Data?
Threat data is an amalgamation of malicious domains and IP addresses. It is a vague data that does not provide any reference to cyber threats. It is available in huge quantities with unarguable facts.
What is Threat Intelligence?
|Threat intelligence is evidence-based knowledge, including context, mechanisms, indicators, implications, and action-oriented advice about an existing or emerging menace or hazard to assets. This intelligence can be used to make informed decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard.” – Gartner|
The primary purpose of threat intelligence is two-fold. Firstly, to help organizations understand their threat landscape, and, secondly, to assess the risks that they are potentially exposed to, internal or external.
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Threat data becomes threat intelligence when it can produce actionable and relevant information. Threat data, when enriched with threat context, allows organizations to align security strategies with security goals.
What is Threat Modeling?
Threat modeling is the process of assessing, detecting, and mitigating risks to optimize the security of a network or application. It is an important part of threat intelligence programs.
Threat Modeling Tools:
Three of the most common threat modeling tools are:
STRIDE: Developed by Microsoft, this tool helps cybersecurity experts categorize threats into six classes – spoofing, tampering, repudiation, information disclosure, denial of service, and escalation of privilege.
DREAD: Also, developed by Microsoft, this tool helps you segregate threts based on their severity.
PASTA: Process for Attack Simulation and Threat Analysis (PASTA) incorporates business needs and technical requirements to develop an asset-centric mitigation framework that analyses threats from an attackers’ perspective.
Using threat data and threat intelligence
Threat data has no value when it is not used by cyber intelligence analysts as reference, prior to making an informed decision. The benefits of threat data are limited. It cannot be used to create tangible threat intelligence in the absence of a defined end goal. Regardless of how much threat data is generated, it will have no value if it is not integrated with the security program.
Threat data forms a core part of threat intelligence; although, the sources are not created equally. The most common sources of threat data are –
- Malware processing
- Human intelligence
- Internal telemetry
Threat intelligence can be an open-source or a paid subscription. Organizations should maintain threat data to evaluate the results, as per internal intelligence. Selective threat data is passed in real-time, as old or incomplete data can misguide the security team, resulting in data overload and alert fatigue.
When it comes to cloud computing, the incomplete or old data may defocus the team from the security process. IP addresses are released and re-used many times in a day. For a cybersecurity threat intelligence program to be successful, proper analysis of threat data must be done. The goal here is to create operational changes to secure the environment.
The lack of proper planning and execution may reduce the effectiveness of threat intelligence incorporation. If a manufacturing company incorporates threat intelligence from the financial sector, it may not serve the purpose of securing the manufacturing company.
Become a Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst and learn how!
In the ever-changing threat landscape, every security team should have a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA). The CTIA by EC-Council can be attained on the successful completion of the training program and exam. It is a specialized program that will train you to analyze, prioritize, and combat threats that may turn into critical attacks if ignored.