Defense-in-depth without contextual threat intelligence is an unlit alley

By Sharath Acharya
September 17, 2021
Defence in depth without contextual threat intelligence is an unlit alley 4
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Across industries, cybersecurity practitioners agree on one thing – the need for rich, qualitatively superior, and contextual threat intelligence. Threat intelligence helps businesses move faster in making informed security decisions to detect and address cyber threats faster. Without threat intelligence, cyber defense measures could best be described as half-hearted and lacking in depth and strength. 

Understanding the significance of cyber threat intelligence (CTI)

CTI feeds provide organizations with critical contextual information to proactively identify their indicators of compromise (IOCs) within their infrastructure. This exponentially elevates the quality of detection of threats when there are IoT/OT devices connected to a network being monitored.

CTI Feeds also provide valuable information about adversaries and their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This helps combat various threat vectors that may exist in various environments including new variants of malware, infected traffic from botnets, threats emerging from vulnerabilities and phishing to name a few.

Businesses need to learn how the threat landscape will escalate through an external view. Global CTI generated from different sources, honeypot intelligence and more enables businesses to meet this need. While CTI feeds provide rich dataset and contextual information, it is also important to leverage how to automate such feeds into the current process including proactive defense mechanisms, security operations, and incident response. Integrating CTI feeds with existing SIEM systems can automate data ingestion, alerting, enhancing existing rules to defend networks against APTs.

CTI feeds are provided in various structures and formats. It is therefore important to know what structure/format of feeds an organizations’ SIEM systems can work with. The most common ways include STIX 2.0, 2.1, and TAXII 2.0 and 2.1

Without the right threat intelligence, no countermeasures can be deployed nor can any businesses operate with certainty. Good threat intelligence platforms often view threat intelligence from the customer’s standpoint and incorporate the latest threats that are yet to be detected by rival platforms. This is an important parameter to consider when scouting for a threat intelligence service. If the vendor is crowdsourcing threat intelligence information, then the chances are that they will be giving information that is old and may not take into account the latest threats out there. This weakens your cybersecurity posture.

Always remember, threat information gets stale faster.

Another aspect to consider when looking for a threat intelligence platform (or even a TI feed) is how digestible or consumable the feed is. If consuming the feed requires plenty of internal or external resources and time, then it might create an adoption problem. 

Your level of downstream preparedness can also make or break your threat intelligence utilization roadmap. If your organization is unable to handle large volumes of data or has no visibility into its assets, then you are not ready to consume threat intelligence. These are some of the basic requirements for harnessing quality threat intelligence.  

Finally, threat intelligence allows security teams to evolve faster and improve their threat hunting efficiency. In conjugation with frameworks such as MITRE ATT&CK, it allows such teams to optimize resource utilization before and during a threat hunting campaign.

Without the right threat intelligence, SecOps and incident response teams will be unable to act in real-time to make fast decisions with more confidence to block threats instantly. This will lower the effectiveness of institutional cybersecurity measures and open new gaps for adversaries to exploit.    

Thus, contextual and rich threat intelligence can make a huge difference to your business.

Sectrio is allowing businesses running IoT and OT deployments to test its curated threat intelligence feed gathered from the largest IoT and OT-focussed threat intelligence honeypot network in the world. To learn more and to sign up for a 15-day long free trial, check out our threat intelligence page.     

Sign up for 15-day free trial now

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