When you hear the term “threat intelligence”, what do you think of? If you’re visualizing lists of Indicators of Compromise (IOCs), alerts pinging like pinball machines, or reams of data being churned out by a SIEM system, you’re not exactly wrong. But if that’s all you’re seeing, your vision is a tad narrow.
Let’s get blunt: threat intelligence isn’t just about gathering information. It’s a nuanced form of intelligence analysis that seeks to cultivate a depth of understanding. It’s about evolving raw data into meaningful intelligence which, in turn, catalyzes deliberate outcomes—be it a decided action or a conscious inaction.
Now, if this sounds a little abstract, let’s ground it.
What True Threat Intelligence Looks Like
Picture threat intelligence as a modern-day alchemist. An alchemist doesn’t just collect random ingredients; he seeks the right materials and then transmutes them into gold. In the realm of cybersecurity, our ingredients are raw data points, and our gold? Rich intelligence that drives strategic security moves.
For intelligence to be classified as ‘true intelligence’, it’s not enough for it to just exist; it must lead to a tangible outcome. And herein lies the value of mature threat intelligence.
Are You Missing the Behavioral Forest for the IOC Trees?
It’s not uncommon to see fledgling threat intelligence teams caught in the cyclical grind of IOC gathering—be it from tools, platforms, or cyber threat forums. It’s the cybersecurity equivalent of collecting seashells on the vast shore of the digital world. They’re pretty, they’re valuable to some extent, but there’s an entire ocean of understanding beyond them.
As intelligence teams mature, they should be diving into those depths. Their focus should shift from merely gathering IOCs to identifying discernible adversary behaviors. Too often, these behaviors are broadly labeled as TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures), but there’s so much more nuance there.
For instance, while an IOC might inform you of a specific malware signature, adversary behavior analysis could reveal patterns like lateral movement post-breach, specific data types targeted, or even dormant periods in an adversary’s attack lifecycle. Recognizing these behaviors provides far richer context, allowing cybersecurity teams to anticipate and counteract threats proactively.
From Intelligence to Deliberate Action: Examples in Play
To illustrate, imagine a scenario where threat intelligence identifies a trend: a particular adversary tends to lay low for two weeks post initial breach before initiating data exfiltration. Now, instead of just being on the lookout for IOCs linked to this adversary, a threat hunting team can proactively scour their environment for traces of dormant breaches, thereby potentially disrupting a significant exfiltration attempt.
In another case, mature threat intelligence might identify that an adversary exhibits a penchant for targeting intellectual property data. With this behavior flagged, threat hunting teams can prioritize defenses around their organization’s treasure trove of IP, ensuring it remains a fortress against breaches.
These examples underscore how behavioral insights from intelligence can be translated into actionable defenses, allowing threat hunting teams to operate not just reactively but proactively.
Leveraging Intelligence Platforms: Taking Things Up a Notch
Threat Intelligence Platforms (TIPs) have been monumental in helping threat intelligence teams gain the insights they need. But while such platforms provide a wealth of information, converting this into actionable intelligence often demands a bridge. That’s where Cyborg Security’s HUNTER Platform steps into the spotlight.
For technically advanced threat intelligence teams looking to elevate their game, integrating with HUNTER can streamline the maturation of their operations. Think of it as evolving from just “knowing” to truly “understanding.” HUNTER doesn’t just help teams collect intelligence; it aids in distilling, contextualizing, and applying it.
Ending Note: The Symbiotic Dance of Intelligence and Threat Hunting
It’s time for threat intelligence teams to step into the limelight and for threat hunting teams to truly harness the gold they offer. The beauty of the cybersecurity world is its dynamism, and in that constantly changing landscape, intelligence is our compass.
If you’re already leveraging the power of Threat Intelligence Platforms, like Recorded Future, and you’re keen to see how you can further mature your intelligence operations, consider this your nudge to explore more. Arrange a demo with us and let’s show you how the HUNTER Platform can be your game-changer.
Because, in the end, it’s not about just gathering data—it’s about mastering the alchemy of turning it into gold.