Organizations strive to incorporate and continue to update security measures to defend themselves against the growing number of cyberattacks. However, staying ahead of cyberthreats is a challenge. Hackers are adept at exploiting security loopholes and launching targeted attacks on organizations. This is why organizations need a robust security strategy to combat unstructured and sophisticated cyberattacks.
Threat intelligence is an aspect of security that helps security professionals make informed decisions by providing context on network activities.
Threat intelligence is contextual knowledge about malicious sources that is used to identify and prevent attacks and threats based on historical evidence. Organizations use open-source threat feeds available in STIX/TAXII format or source threat feeds from third-party vendors to detect potential attacks in their network. These threat feeds add business context to conclusions from log data and thereby enable security admins to quickly track down targeted and sophisticated attacks.
Organizations need to stay up to date about the latest attack vectors, or their security posture will become weak. Threat intelligence adds contextual information to log data so that threats can be detected accurately. Additionally, dynamic threat feed data helps enterprises defend against future attacks.
Threat intelligence helps secure the network by alerting administrators about anomalies and triggering corrective actions immediately to mitigate the impact of attacks.
Organizations bundle threat feed data with their security system to identify different malicious or threat sources. The threat feeds are correlated with network activity to spot suspicious activities, threats, and/or exploits.
Threat intelligence is categorized as:
This provides a bird's-eye view on the threat landscape, i.e. a big picture of how threats and attacks have changed over time. It identifies historical trends, patterns of attacks, and how attacks are carried out. Knowing the source and motive of an attack is important, as it provides insights on the attacker's possible future course of action.
Strategic threat intelligence provides key insights such as the attributes of the intrusion or attack; target industry/geographical location; and statistics on breaches, malware, and information theft.
This defines the nature and purpose of the attack, i.e. information about the capabilities of the attacker. By providing context for security incidents and events, operational intelligence helps administrators uncover potential risks, understand attackers' methodologies, and conduct thorough investigation into incidents.
Tactical intelligence describes the indicators associated with the attack in great detail. It provides insights on the techniques, tools, and tactics of an attacker. This is the most basic form of threat intelligence, and is often used for machine-to-machine detection of threats.
Technical information provides information on malware and campaigns (threat feeds). It gives the administrator an idea of what to look for, making it easy to analyze an incident. It primarily focuses on the technical clues of an attack, such as subject lines of phishing emails or fraudulent URLs.
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