Know thyself, know thy enemy, A hundred battles, A hundred victories — Sun Tzu
This quote from the book “The Art of War” can act as a brilliant analogy. If you know your business well, be it from the strategic front or from a network perspective in the technology world and if you know who is your enemy, the chances of your business getting its desired results to get exponentially heightened.
In the context of the enemy, organizations have long fought the cybercriminals and in this digital age, cybersecurity is carrying a torch for business owners. Moreover, if organizations start investigating the threat data and provide information on adversaries. It may set the stage for the security experts to identify, prepare, and prevent attacks by providing information on attackers, their motive, and capabilities. This article further explains the course of threat intelligence in detail.
What is Threat Intelligence?
In the past, we were focussing on the foundations of cybersecurity. With the rise of cybercrimes, our responses have been stronger too. Yet, it’s imperative to understand that we have to stay consistent with our understanding of cyber threats. Hence, threat intelligence came into the picture.
It’s critical that an organization’s security defenses are strong. So threat intelligence can better understand, predict and adapt to the behavior of malicious activities. Additionally, one of the major goals of threat intelligence is to understand the relationship between cybercriminals and the security team.
Motive and Intent
Cybercriminals can be bifurcated even further into their motive and intent. It means, each type of cybercriminal be it crime groups, hacktivists, the nation-state has a different motive and intent, for instance, a hacktivist group may not necessarily be after ransomware but may be looking for an opportunity to fulfill their agendas and spread awareness.
Capability and Strategy
The other one is their capability and intent. This encapsulates the Indicator of Compromise (IOC) and Indicator of Attack (IOA). Moreover, investigate these questions for instance, What is the infrastructure the cybercriminals are using? What is its payload? What are their technical methods?
Similarly, our security team can be divided into three segments: Strategic, Operational, and Tactical.
Strategic Threat Intelligence
Starting with the high level, the strategic perspective starts by asking ourselves what things are valuable to an adversary that may be vulnerable and they may target us again? If you are a financial institution, your vulnerable access port may be business emails.
Operational Threat Intelligence
In the operational segment, hackers target critical assets like people, processes, and technology. So the main focus is to know which critical asset will be the cybercriminal’s target. Moreover, enterprises can know in advance whether the cybercriminals are targeting people’s willingness to click on an email or will they exploit the weak processes or will they target the outdated technology or there are open ports that are unmonitored. Consequently, it can put a tool in place to prevent potential attacks.
Tactical Threat Intelligence
Tactical threat intelligence gives us more specific details on threat actors like the Nation States, Cybercriminals, hacktivists, terrorist groups and is mainly for the security team to understand the access vectors. A vulnerable access port can be a cause of a cyber attack. Intelligence gives them insights on how to build a defense strategy to mitigate those attacks.
Finally, cybersecurity is crucial for enterprises to protect themselves from cyber threats. Threat monitoring and cyber defense are of paramount importance in the rapidly changing threat landscape. According to a report by IBM X-Force® Threat Intelligence Index, ransomware was the top threat type, comprising 23% of attacks. Sodinokibi (REvil) ransomware alone reaped a conservative profit estimate of USD 123 million.
The global threat intelligence market size is projected to grow from USD 10.9 billion in 2020 to USD 16.1 billion by 2025. This clearly shows the growing demand for cyber threat intelligence experts. Threat intelligence may play a major role in the future of cybersecurity.