Threat actors do their best work in the dark—figuratively, at least. In other words, they rely on the ignorance or inaction of their target. They pursue the path of least resistance, which are any tactics that will get them the greatest returns for the smallest effort.
Consequently, the more you know about who these malicious actors are, what they do and why they do it, the better equipped you’ll be to defeat them. Cyber threat intelligence encompasses this principle. It’s a catch-all term for the skills, knowledge and expertise an organization might leverage to prevent and mitigate potential cyber incidents.
The benefits of cyber threat intelligence include:
- Better decision-making concerning threats and risks
- A more concrete understanding of the most common criminal tactics, techniques and procedures
- Improved cyber resilience
- The potential for lower cyber insurance premiums
- The capacity for a more effective, efficient response to cyber incidents
- The ability to proactively detect, identify and remediate threats
How Is Cyber Threat Intelligence Gathered?
Cyber threat intelligence starts, as many security initiatives do, with a thorough risk assessment. After all, you can’t gather data until you know what systems are at risk and which assets you need to protect. Moreover, you can’t evaluate threat actors if you have no idea why one might target your organization.
Once the risk assessment is complete, the next step is collection and orchestration. This involves gathering information from every source possible, including your own security and audit logs, public releases about new and emerging threats, data on your industry and even activity on the dark web.
Unfortunately, much of the data you collect will be in a state that renders it functionally unusable. You’ll need to leverage an analytics tool alongside human data scientists to process and analyze the data in order to glean any insights from it. From there, it’s a simple matter of disseminating those insights to the wider organization.
But the work is not over yet. You’ll need to “rinse and repeat” indefinitely since threat actors are always looking for ways to compromise your—or any—organization. Threat intelligence helps you stay a step ahead of them.
A More Intelligent Approach to Cybersecurity
Threat intelligence is hardly a new concept, nor is it a particularly difficult one to understand. Knowledge is power and the better you understand your adversaries, the better-equipped you are to defeat them.
Plus, threat intelligence can be applied to more than just cybersecurity. Done right, the insights you collect can help you optimize your entire organization by identifying potential bottlenecks in systems and workflows.