What Is Threat Intelligence?

    Threat intelligence refers to the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data to identify and understand cyber threats. The purpose of threat intelligence is to provide organizations with actionable information about the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) used by malicious actors so that they can tailor security measures and strategies to effectively defend against them.

    Why is threat intelligence important?

    Threat intelligence is important because it informs how cybersecurity strategies are devised and updated. By utilizing threat intelligence, organizations can draw actionable and timely conclusions about potential security risks. Subsequently, they can prioritize and implement appropriate security measures to mitigate risk and strengthen their defenses against possible attacks.

    What are the types of threat intelligence?

    Threat intelligence can be broken down into three main sub-categories:

    • Strategic threat intelligence: Strategic threat intelligence provides non-technical information about the trends affecting the wider threat landscape, such as regulations and policies, whitepapers on emerging methodologies, and discussions among cybersecurity experts. This intelligence helps inform cybersecurity strategies at the top level.
    • Operational threat intelligence: Operational threat intelligence concentrates on specific types of threats that are relevant to an organization’s IT environment, providing technical information on specific vulnerabilities and attack vectors that can be exploited. This gives security teams insight into the nature and intent of an attack so that can bolster their defenses preemptively.
    • Tactical threat intelligence: Tactical threat intelligence focuses on malicious actors and the tactics, techniques, and procedures they employ. This intelligence helps security teams to understand the symptoms of compromise so that they can effectively identify and respond to threats.

    Who benefits from threat intelligence?

    Threat intelligence benefits a variety of personnel within organizations of all scales. In the most immediate sense, threat intelligence benefits cybersecurity teams by providing actionable information that enables them to strengthen security measures and identify and respond to threats effectively. Additionally, threat intelligence benefits executive management and stakeholders. By providing a clear picture of threat exposure and facilitating informed decision-making, threat intelligence enables leaders to align their organizations’ security strategies with their specific needs and objectives more precisely.

    What is the lifecycle of threat intelligence?

    The threat intelligence comprises a total of six phases:

    • Direction: Organizations decide on the aims and scope of their information-gathering processes, aligning them with their objectives and risk profile.
    • Collection: Data is collected using a variety of different means. This can involve processes like pulling metadata from internal networks, subscribing to updates from cybersecurity experts and vendors, reading industry reports, or monitoring open-source news.
    • Processing: Collected data is converted to a usable format. Unintentionally collected data is filtered out while relevant data is enriched with contextual information and grouped for analysis.
    • Analysis: The enriched data is analyzed to identify and highlight notable trends or patterns related to potential threats, transforming information into intelligence. The relevance and potential impact of threats are assessed at this stage to inform decision-making.
    • Dissemination: Actionable intelligence is distributed to relevant personnel and stakeholders.
    • Feedback: Stakeholders provide input on how threat intelligence processes can be adjusted or refined to align more closely with organizational objectives and needs.

    Shaping cybersecurity with threat intelligence

    Threat intelligence plays a crucial role in modern cybersecurity. By providing them with actionable information about emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, threat intelligence empowers organizations to improve their ability to identify, address, and mitigate the risks of cyber attacks. As a result, they can effectively safeguard valuable assets and preserve their longevity.

    Glossary related terms
    Automated Penetration Testing Automated Security Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) External Attack Surface Management (EASM) Red Teaming Security Control Validation Security Validation Vulnerability Management