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Cyber Threat Intelligence and Information Sharing
Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) is the process of collecting, analyzing, and integrating information about existing or potential threats to an organization’s digital infrastructure. It’s a crucial step in developing effective cybersecurity management protocols against an ever-changing landscape of cyber threats and a vital component of an organization's overall security apparatus.
Though traditional security measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and patching are essential components of a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, these measures alone aren’t always enough. By leveraging cyber threat intelligence, organizations can gain insights that would be hard to come by on their own and stay one step ahead of malicious actors.
Security-minded organizations implement CTI strategies to acquire the data and insights needed to assess risks, effectively respond to potential threats, and stay ahead of emerging threats by sharing information on attacker behaviors and tools.
This article will examine the importance of sharing cyber threat information, provide tips on best practices, and answer some commonly asked questions.
What is cyber threat intelligence?
Cyber threat intelligence is the collection, analysis, and use of data to identify and respond to cyber threats that could impact an organization’s security posture. Cybersecurity teams use CTI to identify potential threats, assess their impact on an organization’s operations, and develop strategies to manage them.
CTI typically involves gathering intelligence from various sources, such as open source reports, dark web activity, information from industry leaders, and dedicated platforms. Security teams then analyze threat intelligence to gain insight into attacker behavior, malware trends, threat vectors, and other data pertinent to vulnerabilities and risks.
The evolution of the internet from a relatively “low stakes” environment into a critical component of global commerce has made cyber threat intelligence an essential part of any organization’s security strategy.
As cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, cybersecurity teams must be able to identify and respond to the latest threats quickly. Cyber threat intelligence sharing has proven to be a critical factor in doing so.
The importance of sharing cyber threats
In addition to leveraging CTI for proactive security measures, organizations can also benefit from sharing information on cyber threats with other organizations. Information sharing enables each organization to better understand the full scope of a potential threat and identify potential indicators of compromise (IOCs). By sharing this knowledge, organizations can not only strengthen their security posture but also help strengthen security measures across industries and the internet.
Joining information-sharing communities and intelligence networks gives organizations access to real-time data about global threats that could affect them. This type of collaboration is essential in today’s digital world, as malicious actors constantly evolve their tactics and tools to stay one step ahead of defenders.
Some of the top benefits of participating in cyber threat intelligence sharing are:
- Increased visibility into global threats
- Improved incident response capabilities
- Better risk management strategies
- A more comprehensive view of potential attacks
It's important to note that information sharing must occur securely, as some of the shared data may contain sensitive information. Organizations should have protocols to protect any shared data from unauthorized access.
Notable cyber threat information sharing organizations
Sharing cyber threat information between organizations has become increasingly important in recent years. Here are a few notable examples of organizations that have successfully implemented cyber threat intelligence sharing programs:
- The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the UK launched the Cyber Threats Sharing Program, which enables organizations to share threat intelligence with the NCSC in a secure manner.
- CERT-EU has also launched a secure platform that enables public and private organizations to share threat intelligence data.
- In 2015, the Obama administration directed the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency to initiate an informational sharing and analysis initiative, which promotes threat intelligence sharing between private and public organizations.
For a comprehensive overview of techniques you can use to secure your organization, check out the ConnectWise Cyber Research Unit, which offers the most current and actionable cyber threat intelligence from the world’s leading security experts.
Best practices for cyber threat information sharing
While sharing information can be beneficial, organizations should consider a few best practices. Here are a few critical tips for successful cyber threat information-sharing:
- Designate an individual or team to coordinate information sharing within the organization.
- Have protocols to ensure your organization keeps shared data secure and confidential.
- Develop a process for verifying incoming information and confirming its accuracy.
- Establish a system to track the data shared by all participating organizations.
- Develop policies and procedures for responding to threats quickly and effectively.
By taking these steps, organizations can ensure that they are effectively sharing cyber threat information in a secure manner while also staying one step ahead of would-be attackers.
Building a cyber threat intelligence team
One of the most important steps organizations can take to improve their cyber threat intelligence is to build an effective CTI team. Your organization should compose your CTI team of individuals with different skills and expertise, such as data scientists, security analysts, and engineers. Each team member should have the necessary knowledge and experience to properly analyze incoming data and develop strategies for responding to threats.
Building a team can be a challenge, as there is a limited talent pool available with the necessary expertise. Organizations should look beyond their walls and consider partnering with specialized vendors or other organizations that can provide additional resources and support.
An effective CTI team should be able to work together to identify potential threats, develop strategies for responding to them, and securely share information. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building a CTI team, following these steps can help organizations have the resources and expertise they need to avoid cyber threats.
Cyber threat intelligence tools to use
Organizations should invest in the right tools and technologies to effectively analyze incoming data and detect potential threats. Various cyber threat intelligence tools are available, such as network monitoring software, vulnerability scanning tools, and malware detection systems.
Organizations should also consider investing in security orchestration and automation platforms that can help streamline threat detection processes. These platforms can automate manual tasks such as log analysis, incident response, and data collection activities so that CTI teams can focus on more strategic tasks.
Finally, organizations should proactively seek external intelligence sources to stay up-to-date with global threats. The ConnectWise cybersecurity center is a comprehensive resource that provides the latest information on cyber threats, best practices, and security solutions. In addition, our partnership with the CompTIA ISAO can help your team build a proactive approach to information sharing for more protection.
Challenges of cyber threat information sharing
While cyber threat information-sharing can be beneficial, there are potential challenges that organizations must consider. One of the most common issues is a lack of trust and understanding between different organizations. With open communication, it can be easier to establish a secure and reliable method of exchanging data. This can lead to threat detection and response delays, resulting in costly damages.
Organizations must also consider privacy and compliance issues when sharing data. Data transferred between organizations must adhere to local laws and regulations, as well as any applicable industry standards. Organizations should ensure they encrypt or anonymize their data before they share it and clearly understand how other parties will use the information.
Furthermore, organizations must ensure that they have the systems and processes to handle incoming data correctly. This includes having an effective incident response plan and the ability to properly analyze and act on incoming data promptly.
Overall, the challenges associated with cyber threat information sharing can be overcome. Still, organizations must ensure they have the right processes and tools to protect their and other organizations' data.
Cyber threat intelligence: Then and now
While the term “cyber threat intelligence” has recently entered the cybersecurity lexicon, the concept dates to the early days of the internet. CTI has been around since the earliest computer networks, but it has become increasingly important in recent years as the number and sophistication of cyber threats continue to increase exponentially.
In the 1980s, organizations like Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Computer Security Institute were formed to help organizations stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. These early organizations provided a blueprint for the nascent cybersecurity industry and served as a framework upon which governmental and private sector organizations would eventually build their own CTI programs.
The 1990s brought about the dawn of the internet age, and with it came a surge in cybercrime. In response to this wave of malicious activity, organizations began investing in cyber threat intelligence teams and programs to stay ahead of threats that had already breached their defenses.
With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the 2000s, organizations began to leverage big data and analytics to gain insight into cyber threats. This led to the development of more advanced tools, such as malware analysis platforms and threat intelligence services, enabling organizations to better understand potential threats.
Today, organizations continue to leverage innovative technologies and techniques to gain insight into the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. Platforms like ConnectWise Cybersecurity Center provide cyber threat intelligence to cybersecurity teams and security analysts worldwide.
The future of cyber threat intelligence
An effective cyber threat intelligence strategy is key to staying ahead of today’s ever-evolving cyber threats. By building a CTI team, investing in the right tools and technologies, and establishing information-sharing protocols with other organizations, businesses can ensure they can respond quickly and effectively to any potential threats.
With these best practices in place, organizations can create a dynamic environment that keeps them informed of potential threats so they can stay one step ahead.
In the future, cyber threat intelligence will only become more critical as threats evolve and become more sophisticated. Organizations must stay informed of the latest trends and techniques used by attackers and act quickly if they detect any potential threats. With the right tools and strategies in place, businesses can stay ahead of the cyber threat landscape and protect their data from any possible attacks.
For up-to-date information on the latest trends and cyber threats, check out our threat feeds to help keep your team informed.