Undoubtedly, today’s cyber threats are very fast and sophisticated. Even their detection and prevention is no longer an easy task. To prevent organizations from being a victim of cyber threats and attacks, a proactive cybersecurity approach must be used. That is the reason the Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) framework comes into place. CTI has become a critical tool for organizations trying to protect their networks and infrastructure.
What is Cyber Threat Intelligence Framework?
The Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) is a framework or technology that creates intelligence to respond to cyber threats and attacks that occur now, can occur, or will occur based on a heterogeneous and large amount of data with regard to cyber threats and incidents. CTI addresses both quantity and quality of cyber incidents using preemptive detection that allows SOC teams to detect incidents even before their happening.
Should Organizations Develop a Security Program That Relies on a Cyber Threat Intelligence Framework?
The simple answer is yes. For example, your initial security program must base on the up-to-date and patched systems. Otherwise, CTI will not work. Therefore, it is quite challenging to effectively use CTI to achieve specific goals. Small flaws and vulnerabilities in an initial security program will leave porous holes that can even jeopardize the effective working of CTI.
How Threat Intelligence Feeds Help?
Threat Intelligence Feeds (TIF) is a basic component of any reliable CTI framework. In fact, TIF is a large amount of data related to cyber threats, attacks, and incidents. For example, TIF may include the record of previous incidents such as when it happened, what vulnerability was exploited, what was the threat (e.g., malware, spyware, or any other virus), and so on. Other information can be code shared on paste bins, malicious IP addresses, lists of known malware hashes, and suspicious domains.
Integrating threat intelligence in a security program is a good start but security teams quickly get overwhelmed by the amount of data. It can add a lot more work so one must be ready for it. It is imperative that effective use of these feeds is performed instead of just dumping them. It comes down to the skillset of the human resources and the tools they use to operationalize the data.
The TIF can be collected from different sources, including scanning and crawling open sources, customer telemetry, deception operations or honeypots, human-produced intelligence, and malware processing.
A good CTI framework combines thousands of TIF into a single feed, instead of viewing them separately. It also compares them with internal telemetry and generates alerts for your threat intelligence or incident team.
How Can I Build an Effective CTI Framework?
In order to build an effective cyber threat intelligence framework, the following aspects need to be covered:
- Scope Definition. The first step is to define which assets you need to protect. These include systems, data, software, and other digital assets. These are selected based on their criticality. Before you go to the phase of selecting threat intelligence tools, an assessment should be made of your systems, network, and data that is being stored in order to determine their criticality.
- Define Specific Goals. You should be very clear about what you want to achieve with your threat intelligence framework. Some common goals are:
- Improve threat detection and prevention mechanisms
- Improve incident response time
- Improve awareness regarding new threats
- Automate incident response
- Eliminate false positives
- CTI Tools. The type of tools that will be used depends greatly on the goals that have been set. However, the tools broadly fall into three categories:
- Collection: Gathering data from various sources
- Processing: Turning raw data into useful information
- Analysis: Turning information into actionable intelligence
- Continuous Refinement. Once you have placed a CTI framework with some good threat feeds and tools. It is necessary to update both tools and threat intelligence feeds. Old sources may not be providing as much value as originally predicted. A diverse range of intelligence feeds can help collect a broad range of data that can be useful.
Effective implementation of all these steps in a CTI framework can greatly improve the overall security posture of the organization, providing actionable intelligence about threats, vulnerabilities, threat actors and their methodologies allowing organizations to effectively respond in order to secure their infrastructure and business.
How Does SOAR Tool help in Threat Intelligence?
Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) collects and centralizes a comprehensive set of data from security detection tools, threat intelligence feeds, third-party data sources and internal IT asset databases to deliver relevant context to events so that effective assessment and determination of risks can be performed in comparison to various alarms in the queue. It helps to improve the management of security alerts within the organization improving the security automation process by giving us the ability to execute tasks related to security workflows without human intervention and streamlining incident response. It helps in optimizing the threat intelligence workflow by consolidating all current security tools into one seamless platform that automatically identifies and addresses issues in real-time. This allows us to react faster and more intelligently to all types of threats and to stop potential breaches thus improving the overall incident response time.
Cyber Threat Intelligence framework if correctly implemented can greatly improve the overall security posture of the organization and SOAR can complement this by automating the workflows and improving the incident response by allowing us to make informed and correct decisions.