What is Threat Intelligence? Importance of Integrated Security Solution
Over the years, extensive research has been conducted on different attacks in order to detect attackers, their tools and their methods. Different types of signatures, such as domains, IP addresses, hashes and file names help to identify these attacks. These signatures only help to identify potential threats, and hence are called Indicators Of Compromise (IOCs). Thus, along with these IOCs, we need to be able to make decisions and take appropriate action to manage attacks, preventing attackers from compromising the entire system. All this information collectively constitutes threat intelligence.
What is threat intelligence? Put simply, we can say that threat intelligence is the knowledge that helps you identify a threat, its capabilities, its motives and the associated infrastructure. Once you identify the threat, this intelligence helps you make an informed decision as to what action will best protect your organization and its systems.
We can get a broader understanding of the term through Gartner’s definition:
“Threat intelligence is evidence-based knowledge, including context, mechanisms, indicators, implications and actionable advice, about an existing or emerging menace or hazard to assets that can be used to inform decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard.”
Why is threat intelligence important?
In today’s ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, threat actors are using more sophisticated tools, techniques and procedures. They can easily surpass disparate, uncoordinated defenses to compromise a network and steal sensitive data. Obviously, you need to combat these threats in order to protect your data. If you’re constantly fighting off attacks only after your system has already been compromised, you’ll never be able to catch up and prevent these threats from penetrating your network. To keep them out, you need to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive one — and that means constantly harvesting and processing knowledge about different threat actors and severe external threats, such as advanced persistent threats (APTs) and zero-day exploits. Knowing and understanding your adversaries well is the only way to thwart their attempts at attacking your systems and decrease their chances of success.
Threat intelligence — the current scenario
The growing number of attacks in the modern threat landscape has driven many organizations to deploy a SIEM solution as a threat management measure. However, these SIEM solutions do not come integrated with threat intelligence. While SIEM solutions are extremely efficient means of managing your security operations, detecting threats and preventing them from compromising your enterprise’s security is impossible without the correct information to identify them. The process in such a situation looks something like this:
- Your SOC analysts first write a query to retrieve a list of all the domains from your SIEM’s logs.
- You compare this list of domains with lists of malicious domains obtained from different intel providers.
- If a match is found, an alert is raised to take appropriate action.
- The same process is repeated at regular intervals to check all the new domains.
The disadvantages of this method are grave and impossible to ignore:
- It is extremely time-consuming.
- The entire process has to be repeated frequently to account for new domains.
- New threats can slip through the cracks in the time it takes to download new logs, download new domain lists and run a comparison.
- The slow, cumbersome nature of this method makes it impractical for large enterprises that deal with large volumes of events.
Threat intelligence at DNIF
At DNIF, we understand how important it is to protect your data and ward off threats before they have a chance to penetrate the network. DNIF is specifically designed to help you understand your adversaries and mitigate threats rapidly, using its integrated threat intelligence features. Events are integrated with threat intelligence from different intel providers at the enrichment stage itself and stored. This data is then further validated against a lookup using such tools as VirusTotal, Kaspersky, DomainTools and others. The moment a match is found, an alert notifies you so you can take action. This helps you detect malicious URLs with these tools and block them before they can infiltrate your network.
This system offers a variety of advantages over traditional SIEM, including these:
- The system’s in-memory speed is substantially faster.
- It provides better, stronger protection for your data.
- It guards against threats by actively blocking them, rather than limiting you to reactive, after-the-fact damage control efforts.
- Its ease of operation and speed of execution make it an excellent choice for businesses of all sizes.
As important as threat intelligence is, an intelligence-driven platform for putting it to use is even more vital. Security teams vary in size, level of expertise and security posture. Hence, they also have differing needs when it comes to threat intelligence. It’s important for companies to be aware of all potential threats, understand their adversaries and go a step further by adopting an integrated approach to make the best use of threat intelligence possible.