How Businesses can Leverage Cyber Threat Intelligence

risk management

Jul 25, 2019

Jul 25, 2019

risk management

Ransomware has become one of the most pressing and expensive cybersecurity threats in recent years. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a ransomware attack happens every 14 seconds, resulting in damage costs amounting up to $11.5 billion. These numbers are only predicted to increase the more daring cybercriminals become.

Information and personal data are highly valued in the market today. As technology continues to improve, hackers now use a variety of tools and techniques to steal, manipulate, and compromise information. With this pressing threat, businesses need to shift their focus from dealing with a cyberattack aftermath to proactively creating solutions by using the same tools that threaten their system.

Cyberthreat Intelligence: Strategic Security

Out of all the cyberattacks that happen, 75% go undetected. When a breach takes place, it is not only a reflection of poor cybersecurity maintenance but also poor business strategy. Instead of waiting for a breach to happen, businesses need to collect and evaluate various cyber threat information and use these to inform security policies and procedures. Here is what happens when a company implements a cyber threat intelligence program:

It all starts with data collection. Cybercriminals usually assemble in forums, open web sources, and chat platforms where operations or strategies are shared. The information gathered provides context for threats and targets and becomes useful for strategy making.

Turning Information Into Intelligence

Businesses benefit from gaining insights from threat intelligence. Here are some of them:

  • Foresee attacks before they happen.There are unique cyberattacks for different organizations. Gathering data informs businesses of cyber red flags and indicators so that they can properly defend their systems from outside threats. Staying vigilant of the latest tactics used by cybercriminals can help companies detect attacks before they even happen.
  • Invest in the right cybersecurity tools. Cyberthreat intelligence ties closely into business risk management. Not every cybersecurity tool or strategy is applicable to every company. When a breach happens, the company with the right information and intelligence can make quicker decisions. With guiding policies and data loss prevention (DLP) strategies, no assets are compromised and no money is lost.

Threat intelligence can also be sourced from the following:

  • Human Intelligence (HUMINT)

People who may have contact with cybercriminals may be sourced for inside information. This is typically known as espionage or observation and social engineering. Hackers typically use this to fish out important passwords from companies via personalized, seemingly genuine emails or calls. On the other hand, social engineering can also be used to find out which groups exchanged sensitive information, locate those  potential threats and prepare for a planned attack in advance.

  • Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)

Information may also be gleaned from intercepting signals and reading conversations, listening into audio messages, or receiving data from an unencrypted source. This type of intelligence is useful for unknown forms of attacks. Gaining insight on encoded communication and commands that the company’s network might not understand can reduce the chances of breaches.

  • Open-source intelligence

This kind of data comes from sources that are made available to the public. The internet, news, and social media are avenues of information exchange. By identifying the latest cybersecurity threats, companies can test their network for vulnerable and unsecured devices through Penetration Testing or Vulnerability Testing.

Improving Business With Intelligence

Before any data-gathering takes place company leaders need to be guided by a few questions:

  • Where are the threats coming from? Detect the weaknesses within the security system that hackers might exploit.
  • What are the attack patterns from past cyberattacks? Study data from breaches and leaks and observe the motives and methods cybercriminals use.
  • Are company security solutions up to date? Assess the vulnerability level of the system and comply with international privacy standards.
  • How valuable is the threat intelligence gathered? Dig deep and understand the motives and tactics of every cyberthreat—most hackers are closer to home than others.
  • How knowledgeable are company resources in cybersecurity? Ensure that cyberthreat intelligence is shared with the staff so they are more aware of common tactics phishers and hackers use to steal data.

Once the data is gathered, businesses can now create more strategic responses to looming threats.

  • Develop risk management solutions

Make threat intelligence a regular part of security improvement. Once the company knows which threats are more dangerous,it is easier to prioritize and manage risks.

  • Improve systems to detect and block threats

Create a list of breach indicators so that similar threats can be detected faster. Most of the time, companies are not aware when a breach occurs. Brainstorm for proactive solutions and use machine learning to study the patterns of previous attacks.

  • Refine crisis response policy

Crisis management not only protects a company’s assets but also helps keep customers. Improve incident responses for specific attacks, detailing out the procedures and solutions when a breach is detected.

As a business, it is your responsibility to protect both your assets and the people who trust in your product or service. By taking advantage of the right data collection tools, you can transform intelligence into proactive solutions and keep your company secure.

Wilson Consulting Group is an innovative global cybersecurity consulting firm. We offer Cyber Intelligence, Cyber Security Assessment, Penetration Testing and  Vulnerability Assessment Services to evaluate any threats that your organization may face and provide solutions to combat them.

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