How Useful is MITRE ATT&CK Framework in Threat Intelligence?
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How Useful is MITRE ATT&CK Framework in Threat Intelligence?

  • Cyber Threat Intelligence

Posted on: September 03, 2021

How Useful is MITRE ATT&CK Framework in Threat Intelligence?

In recent years, security experts have been looking for ways to predict, prevent, and address cyber threats. This has led to an increase in the demand and consumption of threat intelligence, making it difficult to operationalize without having a reliable structure around it. Therefore, security teams need strategies or frameworks that can help them analyze and reduce the risks facing their organizations.

The longer it takes to identify threats, the chances of privilege escalation, lateral movement, data exfiltration, or system disruption increase. To prevent this, security teams can leverage indicators of compromise (IOCs) collected through disparate sources to predict threat attackers’ behavior by mapping their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This is where the MITRE ATT&CK framework comes into the picture.

The MITRE ATT&CK framework provides a library of information of all existing TTPs that threat actors employ across sophisticated real-world attack campaigns. Fused with threat intelligence, it allows security teams to gather appropriate evidence for detecting future attacks and take necessary actions to prevent threat progression.

Using MITRE ATT&CK with Threat Intelligence

To understand the behavior of adversaries, we need to break down the attack lifecycle and analyze each phase of an attack. MITRE ATT&CK provides an ultra-modern approach to analyzing attacks by cataloging threat actor TTPs into a matrix. It offers a holistic knowledge base for security operations center (SOC) teams to examine the threat actor movements across their network. By using the ATT&CK framework for threat intelligence operations, an advanced threat intelligence platform (TIP) provides contextualized insights into the TTPs leveraged by threat actors at each step of the way.

An advanced TIP has a built-in MITRE ATT&CK Navigator that enables security teams to visualize and track adversaries’ footprints by mapping tactics and techniques against reported incidents. This helps them identify trends across the cyber kill chain and associate them with reported intel, generating actionable insights to make informed decisions earlier in the attack lifecycle.

MITRE ATT&CK is very useful for threat intelligence analysts as it outlines threat actor behavior in a standardized manner. Threat actors can be tracked with links to TTPs in ATT&CK Navigator that they have been known to use. This provides a strategy to security defenders to implement against their operations to realize their weaknesses and strengths. Developing MITRE ATT&CK Navigator entries for specific threat actors is a convenient way to visualize an organization's weaknesses and strengths against those adversaries. 

Communicating intelligence to different organizations is easier when every party speaks the same language. Standardizing ATT&CK references increases efficiency and establishes common understanding. Therefore, ATT&CK is available as a STIX/TAXII 2.0 feed which makes it easy to integrate into existing tools.


How does a TIP Integrate the MITRE ATT&CK Framework?

A modern-day TIP maps various attack techniques and threat actors together to distinguish the behaviors of distinct groups. Having this knowledge, security analysts can analyze relevant threats and identify advanced adversaries in their tracks.

By steering through the ATT&CK Navigator in an advanced TIP, security analysts can scan through the MITRE ATT&CK matrix and get access to key information related to different attack techniques. An ATT&CK Navigator provides a quick run-through of the object statuses, techniques observed, and prominent threat actors detected. For every technique, analysts can gain insights into the impacted data sources, platforms, related malware, the defenses it can dodge, and the required mitigation steps. A TIP integrated with ATT&CK Navigator shows the IOCs, threat actors, incidents, or malware related to the technique, along with instances and further references. 

Moreover, security analysts can transition between Enterprise and Mobile ATT&CK matrix to examine different sets of TTPs that impact corresponding assets and view a color-coded representation of critical TTPs. They can also look for particular distinguished techniques associated with specific threat actors, log data sources, platforms, and software. Furthermore, security analysts can build custom layers with their selected techniques, sub-techniques, and other aspects.


Conclusion

The incessant growth of the threat landscape requires organizations to be whip-smart and wide awake. To address the challenges posed by today's adversaries, organizations need to leverage an advanced TIP powered by ATT&CK Navigator that can provide a clear picture of the loopholes in their cybersecurity posture, thereby helping improve their threat detection and response capabilities.

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