As threats loom ever larger across all industries, threat intelligence platforms can also be a powerful tool for proactivity.Rapid7 Threat Command
Threat intelligence (TI) - or cyber threat intelligence - is information that a security organization gathers about potential and looming threats to its operations. Ideally, this should be a constant feed of information that informs automated prioritization of those threats and subsequent remediation efforts.
TI practitioners should look at their responsibilities as an effort to ensure every part of the security organization effectively leverages threat data as part of its day-to-day mission of detection, response, and overall risk management. With regard to TI, Forrester recently noted how – in the face of an increasingly complex threat landscape – security teams must adopt internal processes to manage threat intelligence and protect the business.
As threats loom ever larger to every part of the globe across all industries, threat intelligence platforms can also be a powerful tool for proactivity. Sure, defense matters. But, threat intelligence is information that also points to trends that may not necessarily be low-hanging attacks on the doorstep of a security operation center (SOC). In that case, a SOC can proactively hunt and fortify security along those trend lines.
Threat intelligence platforms are important because a security organization needs to be able to learn of potential threats as far in advance as possible so they can fend them off and plug any vulnerabilities threat actors may be attempting to exploit. TI is also important because it can be a significant bottom-line savior. The more threats you stop, the more money you save on behalf of the business. Let’s take a look at some advantages that underscore the importance of a solid TI program:
Actionable threat intelligence has made leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of transitioning from a manual methodology to automating much of the process so that security organizations can actually use it – instead of just sitting on mountains of unanalyzed data and waiting for an attack.
Simply stated, everyone benefits from TI. It can make life easier for a SOC, can save money for the overall business, and bolster customer confidence in the company and its product(s). As this page is pointed firmly at security professionals, the primary beneficiaries of TI are analysts and personnel within the security organization, as it directly eases threat detection and response. What are those benefits?
It’s no easy task to turn TI into actionable information. A framework is required to take raw data and turn it into true intelligence. But, what sort of framework can keep pace in the evolving threat landscape? Let’s define a TI lifecycle that is adaptable now and into the future.
Using PIRs can help guide the approach to direction-setting. The process typically begins with outlining a specific PIR and then defining a desired outcome.
Which intelligence will best serve the direction your team has worked to define? Depending on the use case, intelligence can come from multiple sources on your network and beyond: endpoints, third-party vendors, the dark web, application security processes and platforms, and many more. Collect data from all relevant sources to gain the most apt insights.
Leveraging as much automated analysis as possible is key to speed in security at this level. There is a manual approach to analysis that a SOC could take - and it can't be overstated that human review could yield even more insights - however, this comes with the cost of time. If threats are automatically classified, it's more likely they can be automatically remediated.
The ultimate goal of this lifecycle should be to come away with useful intelligence that - after thoroughly analyzed according to your framework - can be disseminated to security devices to automatically prevent an impending attack or threat.
It's therefore critical to build a solution that draws intelligence from the right sources, automatically produces an alert with the contextual information, and finishes the process by automatically remediating the threat.
Cybersecurity threat intelligence direclty impacts the business. Will a potential threat be taken down quickly or will the intelligence be wasted due to the lack of a properly defined lifecycle?
Forrester defines business intelligence as methodologies and processes that "transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making that contribute to improving overall enterprise performance." As it happens, those three areas of insight are the same for TI; let's dive deeper into each.
Strategic intelligence focuses on long-term threats and their implications. Strategic TI also aids in evaluating attackers – focusing on their tactics and motivations rather than geographical location – to determine potential organizational impacts of those threats. Higher-level decision-makers are usually informed with this type of intelligence, so it’s important to keep reporting as clear as possible.
Operational intelligence focuses on short-term threats that may require immediate mitigation, and thus fast re-prioritization of other initiatives. Operational TI also aids in evaluating who is actually being targeted and how. That helps stakeholders determine any immediate threat-response actions.
Tactical intelligence primarily focuses on exact behaviors of an attacker. Are they using particular methods or tooling to gain access or execute lateral movement? Tactical threat intelligence tools are used by personnel engaged in active monitoring and reporting, and requires spotting not-so-obvious red flags.
It’s always good to remember that what’s best for security is best for the business.
Use cases are varied and large in number. Security intelligence tools are useful in being proactive about any type of threat to the security and integrity of a business’ operations and cyber strength.
Learn More about Rapid7's Threat Intelligence Product
4 Simple Steps for an Effective Threat Intelligence Program
Evolution of Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)
Threat Intelligence News: Latest Rapid7 Blog Posts