The best cybersecurity awareness training programs and threat and vulnerability detection efforts always revolve around the latest cyber threat intelligence. Unfortunately, as modern hacking tools and strategies improve, IT security experts have no choice but to expand on their knowledge and expertise. The result is a cat-and-mouse game between malicious hackers and the professionals trying to stop them.
Intelligence in the Information Age
Cyber threat intelligence is the knowledge and insight of the latest attack methods and the vulnerabilities they exploit. The most common cyber threats that have been around for at least a few years are more widely known, with their signatures (i.e., identifying characteristics) recognized by most cyber security solutions and tools.
However, the most current and evolving techniques require an expert eye and up-to-date cyber security intelligence to recognize and defend against these attacks.
This article teaches you the basics of cyber threat intelligence, namely:
- Common cyber threats
- Different types of threat intelligence
- How to classify and categorize threat intelligence
For the most up-to-date cyber threat intelligence, partner with an expert managed security services provider (MSSP).
Common Cyber Threats
Your cybersecurity awareness training begins by identifying the threats that currently pose a risk to your organization. While all organizations are susceptible to the same general online threats, certain organizations are more likely to suffer from specific attacks.
Online retailers and healthcare organizations, for example, are primarily focused on protecting sensitive personal records and credit card data from external hackers. Conversely, news websites and social media are at a greater risk of DoS attacks, fake news, and similar threats.
Although cyber security intelligence doesn’t mitigate these issues entirely, it does help your team better prepare for and respond to any emergencies. Cyber threat intelligence should cover recent changes in:
- Viruses, malware, and ransomware – These threats can happen to any organization at any time. While viruses and malware tend to be of the lowest risk, modern ransomware has the potential to disrupt service and, in extreme cases, lock you out of mission-critical systems.
- DoS or DDoS attacks – Denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are a tried and true method of hackers. As their name suggests, their primary purpose is to disrupt or deny online service and accessibility.
- Data breaches – With more organizations storing data online, particularly on cloud servers, data breaches are becoming more common than ever before. They’re also becoming more devastating, with the cost of the average data breach proving to be an added expense that some small- and medium-sized businesses can’t afford.
- Data poisoning – As we become more reliant on machine learning systems to drive day-to-day production, lead healthcare research, and predict future trends, some malicious actors attempt to undermine data validity and integrity through data poisoning. It can be compared to the concept of fake news—only for artificial intelligence and machine learning instead of humans.
Types of Cyber Threat Intelligence
To ensure your cybersecurity awareness training is as straightforward and concise as possible, center your program on the three crucial elements of cyber security intelligence data. Use these elements as threat intelligence feeds to inform your team and make it easier to categorize the different types of data.
For proper classification, data needs to meet the following criteria:
- Factual – Data needs to be factual and verifiable. Incorrect or unverifiable information is not considered cyber security intelligence.
- Utilitarian – Data must have some kind of usefulness to a specific security incident or your organization as a whole. Data that doesn’t meet this criterion is considered irrelevant.
- Actionable – Data must be actionable. If your intelligence doesn’t result in direct action from your team, it’s not considered cyber threat intelligence.
Data that meets all three of these critical elements is considered useful cyber intelligence.
Once you’ve separated your cyber threat intelligence from useless or redundant information, it’s time to place your data into one of three categories:
- Strategic – Data in this category is generally meant for public consumption. Basic details of an incident or details on your long-term cybersecurity strategy are included here.
- Tactical – This includes technical data of the perpetrators. Filenames, IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, hashes, and email addresses. Data in this category is explicitly meant for IT staff and security experts.
- Operational – This data helps you understand the strategies behind specific attacks. It also gives you insight into a hacker’s possible motivation or intention.
Classifying data makes it easier to track and prioritize. It’s also critical when relaying information to teammates, customers, and the general public.
Staying One Step Ahead
Comprehensive cyber threat intelligence will keep you one step ahead of hackers and other malicious actors. Your entire team will be confident in their knowledge and ready to tackle any threat that comes their way.
For more information on cyber security intelligence, or to find out how we can assist you, contact RSI Security today!