The rapid pace of digital transformation has created many opportunities for businesses to increase profits and grow, but it can also open them up to cyberattacks. Threat intelligence management enables organizations to better understand the global threat landscape, anticipate attackers’ next moves and take prompt action to stop attacks.
Threat intelligence, as defined by Gartner, 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 inform decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard.”
There is a significant difference between threat intelligence and threat intelligence management. While threat intelligence is data and information about threats, threat intelligence management is the collection, normalization, enrichment and actioning of data about potential attackers and their intentions, motivations and capabilities. This information can help organizations make faster, more informed security decisions, and thus be better prepared for cyberthreats.
Good threat intelligence management brings proactive defense mechanisms against any threats that emerge outside your environment before they affect you. That can only be achieved if the threat data is relevant, vast, trustworthy and actionable.
When facing down a threat, it’s important to understand who the threat actor is as well as their common tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). Here are a few of the most common types of cyberthreats:
Even though security teams and security operations centers (SOCs) have plenty of data coming in from their intelligence feeds, the overwhelming volume of alarms and tickets causes team “fire drills” and delays. Most threat intelligence management solutions in the market focus on threat feeds, but there is still a lot of manual work involved when it comes to analyzing and taking action on the information loads they provide.
A few challenges with existing threat intelligence tools are:
To create an intelligence-driven organization that is well-protected and ready for response, you need a threat intelligence management process that is contextualized, automated, priority-driven, evidence-based and actionable.
While threat intelligence platforms offer benefits for the entire organization and empower businesses to be secure and risk-free, security, IT and operations teams gain unique advantages in better understanding their attackers, responding more quickly to incidents, proactively learning the threats and taking action. Here are a few specific teams and roles that benefit from threat intelligence management:
Depending on the requirements and criteria, there are four different types of threat intelligence.
This type of threat intelligence helps IT, security operations and network operations center (NOC) teams in understanding the tactics threat actors and attackers use. This type of data provides day-to-day operational support by helping analysts assess various security incidents related to events, investigations and other activities. Reports produced by security vendors and industry players are an example of this type of intelligence.
Operational intelligence provides in-depth understanding of an attacker’s capabilities, past malicious activities and their impact on the organization. The information includes detailed analysis of the nature and purpose of the attacks and attackers, which helps in predicting future attacks and enhancing incident response plans. A report on a new phishing campaign targeting your industry vertical constitutes this type of intelligence.
Mostly helpful for incident response and security operations teams, technical threat intelligence specializes in the tools, techniques, resources, challenges and tactics of the attackers. This intelligence is also referred to as atomic indicators, observables or indicators of compromise (IOCs). Command-and-control IP addresses, malware file hashes and fast flux domains all fall under this category.
This type of intelligence provides high-level information about cybersecurity posture, threats and attack trends. This information mostly deals with the big picture in the threat landscape and helps executives and management, such as IT managers and CISO teams, understand the financial impact of various cyber activities and the overall impact of high-level business decisions. An example of this type of intelligence would be a series of reports detailing threat actors and their associated attack techniques known to target your industry.
Well-executed threat intelligence management provides: