Threat Intelligence

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It is illogical to not have threat intelligence as part of your defence mechanism.

Logically speaking, the very nature of existing cyber security solutions is reactive. We look for some signs that show if any malicious attacks have bypassed or have the possibility to bypass the security systems. This includes your firewall that stops malicious behaviour based on policies and algorithms, which were created from the existing threat landscape. Even solutions that claim to be very proactive utilize signs of compromise, regardless of the intelligence of their AI algorithm.

Now, depending on what solutions you have in place, the time of reaction/response to attacks/compromise can be anywhere and achieved within minutes or months or years. On an average, malware lurks around in a network between 43 days to 800+ days before discovery. (source: TechRepublic: cybersecurity: Malware lingers in SMBs for an average of 800 days before discovery).

The severity of the financial and reputation damage depends on the level of infection. Shorter the time frame, lower the risk and damage. However, the key requirement is detecting the risk and responding to it on time.

Since the pandemic outbreak, there has been a surge in cyber attacks. Read: How cybercriminals behaved during the outbreak. The shift towards remote work has paved way to a larger threat landscape than before. There is an increase in malware-based attacks, 0-day attacks, and highly funded/nation-state sponsored attacks. This means, cyber criminals are constantly venturing new malware, new tactics, and strategies.

So, despite having top of the shelf security devices, how do you detect/defend something that your systems are not prepared for, and much less defend against things that aren’t discovered yet (0-day)?

All that you can do is stay proactive and be vigilant in finding the bad guys. Observe your systems and observe attacks against other companies and people. This is what Threat Hunting and Threat Intelligence does, it proactively stops any malicious activity that goes undetected by the existing security systems.

While the initial victims of zero-day attacks and new attack tactics are inevitable, the goal of threat intelligence is to defend the systems before it even reaches your network. In other words, prepare your systems to fend off attacks, minutes after the attacks are discovered anywhere around the globe.

To discover attacks, you need people, tools, and services to facilitate proactive hunts, to arrest threats that your business and IT infrastructure confronts. There is a need to build processes and stay vigilant of the current threat landscape and new attacks discovered every minute. With the intelligence gained from your proactive security posture, you can integrate and implement defence mechanisms. If a new malware is discovered, your system should be updated with its signature. If a new attack strategy is identified, your system should cut off those attacks at choke points. If a zero-day attack is discovered, your systems should patch up as soon as possible.

In short, without Threat Intelligence, you are depending on the existing systems to detect and fend off attacks. Considering that the longer an attack goes undetected, the higher risk and damage does your business face. So, if minimizing damage to your business is essential, it is illogical not to have threat intelligence as part of your defence mechanism.

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