Cyber Threat Intelligence

Cyber threat intelligence is the amount of data that becomes cyber threat information that is collected, evaluated in the context of its source, and analyzed through rigorous and firm tradecraft techniques by the industry experts.

The information refers to the data that organizations collect and use to better understand past, present, and future threats of the market and the customer’s information. The information that the organizations possess has the context to the operations on an organization’s business network and helps identify potential cyber-attacks and prevents future threats. 

This is the reason why organizations require CTI, majorly to understand the attacker’s next steps so they can proactively defend their information and stop cyber malpractices like a data breach, phishing, etc.

The Role of CTI

CTI plays an important role in the organization as it is the process feedback loop circle, which is taken from military doctrine, to deliver actionable intelligence to a decision-maker in an organization.

The highlighted words in the process are actionable and decision. Intelligence without an actionable plan is merely noisy words. Similarly, intelligence that does not support the demands of a decision-maker has no value. So the question arises— How do you procure actionable intelligence for fulfilling the organizational needs? TO this, the answer narrows down to the well-defined requirements of the company.

As CTI is rooted in military doctrine, below given are few types which are inculcated in this process:

  1. Priority Cyber Intelligence Requirements (PCIR):  Identifying the potential Cyber Threats to an organization? Also, include Malicious Cyber Actors’ (MCAs) intent to cause harm.
  2. Friendly Cyber Information Requirements (FCIR):  Know about the organization’s COE? From a deep thought perspective— Perimeter, Networks, Endpoints, and Data.
  3. C-Suite Critical Cyber Information Requirements (C3IR):  Identifying the key information that would help to make decisions? For example, if you have a system with a critical vulnerability, is there a threat with the intent to exploit it? And how to prevent it or when the breach occurs?

It is important to establish the organization’s PCIR, FCIR, and C3IR before starting to procure other CTI sources/feeds.  

How to utilize CTI efficiently?

Organizations that tend to utilize CTI successfully, firstly should make a list of risk-based determination of their Cyber Intelligence needs and then look for the feeds or sources which provide the most value and make it an efficient system. Unfortunately, many organizations buy multiple CTI feeds or sources without a clear understanding of their needs and without a thought to what makes their COE an appealing target for MCAs. 

The secret

Each organization has a unique set of demands and priorities. While many organizations have similar technology stack patterns, the way each organization leverages that technology stack and information inculcated in it is significantly different for all the organizations. 

CTI requirements are vastly different across industry verticals in the market. For example, the marketing sector has distinct demands which don’t necessarily apply to the finance sector — at least from a Cyber Threat point of view.

 After identifying their requirements, every organization should ingest a bare minimum of one general and one industry-specific CTI feed/source that prevents it in the cyber world.

Actionable Steps to Implement CTI

  1. CTI is a cyclical process, not a solution-centric problem. One needs to leverage the feedback loop regularly to ensure the CTI feeds/sources/products are providing actionable intelligence to support decision-makers in the organizations.
  2. Ensure the organization’s executive leadership has established PCIR, FCIR, and C3IR within the context of the organization’s COE.  
  3. Consider procuring multiple feeds or work with an experienced partner that already does work in this field.

Efficient CTI is the best prevention measure in the Cyberworld

Threat information is the prevention of all the information in the cyber world and the most important role is to help cybersecurity professionals understand the attacker’s point of view by unleashing the intentions behind the attack and the behavior of the threat, by analyzing and forecasting the damage it would cause. With the external insights that threat intelligence provides, the organization can prioritize the more important vulnerabilities more accurately and could work on the preventive avenues.

Cyber threat intelligence provides knowledge about unknown threats to light, enabling organizations to make better decisions about their security and stopping cyber malpractices. They ensure that the security team is kept informed of the enormous volume of cyber threats well in advance, including the methods used.

One of the ways companies could do this is to induce the cyber threat intelligence feeds into their existing security solutions. This feed would help to analyze information from various sources coming from across the network and judge a sense of potential global threats that can be as easy as suspicious domains and IP addresses counted with suspicious access activity. So an organization could prevent cyber-attacks and fight the battle in the cyber world with an efficient CTI. To learn more about Cyber Security and it’s concepts, join Great Learning’s Stanford Advanced Computer Security Program today, and unlock your dream career.

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