The surge in cyber threats and attacks in the past few years calls for a comprehensive review of the network and the cybersecurity industry. According to a recent Microsoft survey, 22% of organizations worldwide ranked cyber risk as to the top concern than another significant business risk. On top of that, businesses have spent a whopping $1 trillion to the hands of cybercriminals. With hackers now coming up with advanced techniques to sabotage network security, organizations shift from the traditional security measures of combatting cyber threats by gathering reliable threat intelligence. Already, many organizations have begun to explore threat intelligence to understand better not only the motive behind an attack but how to counteract it before escalating swiftly.
Threat Intelligence Data Collection and Acquisition
In cybersecurity, threat intelligence information and vulnerabilities are presented in the form of data, both internal and external to an organization. Data acquired on IOC systems are likely malicious and may compromise an organization’s network security system, leading to a breakout of sensitive data. When an organization collects routine and real-time intelligence data from both internally and externally disposed of collection elements, they can cross-check among insider intelligence accumulators, and quickly develop plans of action to address all levels of requirements.
Cyber threat intelligence data is more than tools and intelligence feed; it is the aptitude of rapid detection of cyber threats, performing targeted response plan, and executing intentional security strategies to counteract risks. A well-thought-out and operationalized cyber intelligence analysis solution acts as a tenacious planning tool to position the organization’s security operations, threat modeling, and business objectives.
Sources of Threat Data
Internal Sources – Network Logs, report on past cyber incidents, risk analysis reports
External sources – Threat feeds from communities and forum, open web, dark web etc.
Tools and techniques for data collection
- Open Source Intelligence: Search Engines, Web Services, Website Footprinting, Emails, URL/IP/DNS Lookup
- Human Intelligence: Interviewing, Interrogation, and Social Engineering
- Cyber Counterintelligence: Honeypots, Passive DNS Monitoring, Adversary’s Infrastructure, Malware Sinkholes, and YARA rules
- Indicators of Compromise (IoCs): Internal, External & Custom build ICOs
- Malware Analysis: Analysis of Malware Sample
Role of AI/ML in Threat Data Collection
Threat intelligence analysts tune AI based tools to eliminate threat data there not relevant or benign and focus more on the data that are malicious in nature and can add value to actionable intelligence. AI is also applied to process of filtering threat intelligence feeds, and to modify TI feed criteria overtime based on changes in threats and risks. Machine Learning is also deployed for building baselines of normal behaviour for individual user and host by looking at historical activity and comparisons within peer groups. Thus, AI can help understand the patterns and learn new threats to assist Cyber Threat Intelligence analyst in creating actionable intelligence.
How does Cyber Threat Intelligence work?
Cyber intelligence analysis is a relatively new approach to handling security matters in the cybersecurity industry, with vendors providing various types of threat intelligence services. Generally, Cyber threat intelligence program involves collecting every information about the past, present, and emerging threats from various sources. This raw data is put through a detailed analysis using multiple filters to come up with some usable data. This report can be in the form of intelligence reports or data feeds to be used in your security control systems. The primary purpose of gathering threat intelligence is to allow organizations to understand the reality and the risks involved. This helps them to devise strategies and beef up their security to protect their data from these cyber threats in the future. Preventing an attack before it happens is the best approach that finding solution, which is why it is prudent for companies always to protect their network security, sealing every loophole and possible vulnerabilities in the system. Many organizations that have implemented threat intelligence in their system have protected themselves from financial losses that often occur from data losses and security breaches.
How do you implement cyber threat intelligence?
Implementing cyber threat intelligence data processes comes with certain challenges. However, it is challenging does not mean it is impossible. The truth is, with the right executives, knowledge, and adhering to the rules, threat intelligence analysts can accelerate detection and response, and proactively mitigating potential threats. Follow these five rules:
1. Prepare a Plan
The first step in implementing a threat intelligence program is to develop a proper plan. Remember that planning is the blueprint for prosperity, so you need to understand the outcome of the program. The resultant output of a cybersecurity threat intelligence program might vary between different industries. Ask yourself what needs to be done to provide the best security posture for the organization and protect your assets.
2. Find and Know Your Audience
It is essential to know that threat intelligence is not all about professional analysts to make use of. Everyone in the security function needs to have a fundamental knowledge of threat intelligence, which could help in enhancing security operations and threat detection, and other necessary security apparatus. For best results, appraise your stakeholders on how they stand to benefit from threat intelligence, what they need, and what they want.
3. Hire the Right Team
It’s safe to say that your threat intelligence program is as good as the quality of your threat intelligence team of analysts. Therefore, you must hire a professional team with the experience and skills to interpret all kinds of vulnerabilities and alerts. Skilled professionals can not only identify threats but also communicate them effectively.
4. Find the Right Tools
Upon hiring the right team, ensure they are equipped with the right tool. Otherwise, it’ll amount to a waste of resources hiring a team of experts without the right tools to function. With the right tools, the right team will come out with optimal results to meet your organization’s requirements.
About CTIA Certification
EC-Council’s Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) is a comprehensive, specialist-level cyber threat program that teaches a structured approach for building effective and strategic cyber threat intelligence. The course is purposely designed and developed to help organizations identify and mitigate business risks by converting unknown internal and external threats into known threats.
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