Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) is an aspect of cybersecurity that focuses on gathering and analyzing data regarding existing and potential threats to the security of an organization and its assets. It is the knowledge that enables you to stop or lessen cyber attacks by analyzing threat data and giving you details on the adversaries.
Cyber Threat Intelligence is a proactive security solution that prevents data breaches and spares you the costs of incident response. Its goal is to inform businesses about the issues that represent the biggest risk to their infrastructure and to provide them with advice on how to safeguard their operations. This activity is performed by a cyber threat intelligence analyst.
Who is a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst?
A cyber threat intelligence analyst is an information security expert skilled in data collection, security flaws, threat indicators, and threat execution methods. Cyber threat intelligence analysts observe and examine data on external cyber threats to give actionable intelligence. These experts evaluate security event data gathered from various threat intelligence sources and analyze attack patterns, methodologies, motivations, severity, and threat landscape. The use of threat intelligence can improve network and cloud security as well as overall company security.
Cyber Threat Intelligence Life Cycle
The intelligence lifecycle is a process to transform raw data into finished intelligence for decision-making and action. This cycle consists of six steps, resulting in a feedback loop to encourage continuous improvement.
This stage establishes the road plan for a given threat intelligence operation. Based on the requirements of the engaged stakeholders, the team will decide on the objectives and operating procedure of their intelligence program during this planning phase.
Next, the team gathers the data necessary to fulfill those objectives established in the intelligence requirements. Depending on the objectives, the team may look for traffic logs, openly accessible data sources, relevant forums, social media, and industry or subject-matter experts.
The raw data is processed into a format that can be used for analysis. This typically involves arranging data into spreadsheets, decrypting files, translating data from other languages, and assessing the data for reliability and relevance.
The team performs a thorough analysis of the processed dataset. They also translate the dataset into useful recommendations for the stakeholders.
This is the stage where insights from the analysis are shared with stakeholders. The recommendations are usually relayed in a one-page report or a brief slide presentation and should be free of confusing technical jargon.
Receiving comments on the delivered report is the last step in the threat intelligence analysis lifecycle, and it helps evaluate whether changes should be made for the next threat intelligence activities.
Types of Cyber Threat Intelligence
Cyber Threat Intelligence is categorized into four main types: strategic, tactical, technical, and operational.
1. Strategic Threat Intelligence
Strategic threat intelligence outlines an organization’s threat landscape. It is less technical and mostly used to inform high-level decisions made by executives and other decision-makers in the organization. Strategic intelligence should offer information about the organization’s vulnerabilities and dangers, as well as potential threats, their perpetrators, their objectives, and the gravity of any ensuing attacks.
2. Tactical Threat Intelligence
For the security team to understand the attack vectors, tactical intelligence is evaluated. Tactical intelligence analysis primarily comprises detailed information on threat actors‘ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP). They gain knowledge from intelligence about how to develop a defense plan to lessen those cyber attacks. The report explains how to spot such assaults, as well as the security system flaws that attackers may exploit. The discovery also helps in closing network vulnerabilities and strengthening the security controls and defense mechanisms already in place.
3. Technical Threat Intelligence
Technical threat intelligence concentrates on certain hints or proof of an attack and builds a foundation to assess such attacks. The content of phishing emails, malware samples, fraudulent URLs, and reported IP addresses are among the indicators of compromise (IOCs) that cyber threat intelligence analysts search for in technical threat intelligence. It is important to share technical intelligence at the right time because IOC’s, such as malicious IPs and fraudulent URLs, quickly become out of date.
4. Operational Threat Intelligence
Operational threat intelligence is concerned with information on the attacks. It provides an in-depth analysis of elements like attack nature, motive, timing, and execution. The information is ideally gathered from hackers’ chat rooms or their online discussions through infiltration, making it challenging to obtain.
Cyber Threat Intelligence Program and Its Implementation?
Instead of viewing them separately, a Cyber Threat Intelligence program integrates thousands of Threat Intelligence Feeds into a single feed, enabling consistent characterization and categorization of cyber threat events as well as the identification of trends or changes in the actions of cyber adversaries. The program consistently represents online threat activities in a way that makes information exchange and threat analysis efficient. It generates alerts and helps the threat intelligence team by comparing the stream with internal data.
After pertinent cyber threat data has been gathered, it goes through a process of thorough analysis and structured processing with essential technologies and techniques, followed by sharing with key stakeholders to strengthen the security measures and avert future cyberattacks.
Organizations must be constantly conscious of the dangers of cyber-attacks and must be able to respond swiftly when a risk is detected. A cyber threat intelligence program prepares your organization to respond accurately in the event of a future cyber attack. However, developing an effective cyber threat intelligence program can be overwhelming. This is where Randori comes in.
At Randori, we’re tackling some of the toughest security issues on a large scale. Our market-leading attack surface management tool simulates the thought processes of your cyber adversaries, keeping you one step ahead of them. Get in touch with us today to learn more.