Nowadays, almost everything we own is connected to the internet. So, what are the odds of you getting hit by a cyberattack, even if minor? Pretty good. Thus, it is time to take a good look at cybersecurity and threat intelligence.
With the growing sophistication and rising scale of cyberattacks, threat intelligence sharing has become an integral part of sound security operations. Threat intel sharing can help detect trends and patterns needed to defend against threat actors. However, threat intel is not a single discipline; it can be divided into four categories - strategic, tactical, operational, and technical. This blog will delve deep into strategic threat intelligence and why it is important.
Strategic Threat Intelligence
Strategic threat intelligence is basically meant to provide a broad picture of the way threats and tactics change over time. It doesn’t concern itself with the specifics of an attack, but rather offers a bird’s eye view of the threat landscape. Strategic threat intel is exclusively non-technical and is consumed by security decision-makers. This type of threat intel is used for taking high-level decisions and thus, is generated on-demand as a report.
Real-time strategic threat intel provides an answer to the question: Given an organization’s technical landscape, what’s the worst that could happen? Some examples of strategic threat intelligence include policy documents, whitepapers, and industrial publications. It also provides a view into major trends and ways to reduce the risk profile of an enterprise. With this information, firms can profile their adversaries and gain insights into their tactics and future attacks.
Let us take for example that a shift in adversary behavior is noted. Maybe they are increasingly abusing legitimate processes. Access to actionable strategic threat intel gives an organization the capability of designing a strategy to counter this behavior.
Need for Strategic Threat Intelligence
Strategic threat intel cannot be defined without meeting the three information needs given below. These needs must be fulfilled by security teams and integrated into network security for tenable decisions.
- Critical information needs - what kind of information is required to form strategic decisions.
- Priority intelligence needs - what information on the external environment is required.
- Friendly forces information needs - what is the organization’s security posture related to its assets of value.
Sources of Strategic Threat Intel
Most sources for strategic threat intel are open sources, implying that anyone can gain access to them. Some of them include local and national media, industry-specific publications, policy documents from groups of interest, online activity, comments, and articles from people of interest, and content produced by security organizations
While strategic intel sources are ubiquitous, the raw data garnered from them is massive and hence, requires analysts to manually sift through them to identify actionable threat intel. Nevertheless, with the right tools, analysts can dodge these challenges. Robust threat intel solutions can go through these humongous volumes of raw data, finding actionable intelligence in real-time. With the right kind of tool, organizations can detect, process, and understand relevant security information in real-time.
Significance of Strategic Threat Intel
Strategic threat intel has various uses. Some of them have been listed below:
- Inform leadership about high-risk threats, pertinent risk scenarios, and a criminal's underground
- Conduct an extensive risk analysis and review of the technology supply chain
- Learning about commercial vendors, ventures, technology products, and partners that can increase or reduce risks to an enterprise environment
- Strategic intel also serves as a good serving point for determining the most effective defense measures: a) major Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) over a period, b) charting cyberattacks to geopolitical conflicts, and c) global statistics on malware, breaches, and information theft.
The Bottom Line
The eventual aim of an organization’s strategic threat intel capacity is to decrease threats posed to the organization’s assets of value and critical mission. In order to attain this, firms should develop and maintain requirements that direct threat intel resources to their security needs. A strategic assessment of an organization’s flaws and threats assists in the evaluation of potential effects in the case of an incident.
In today’s threat scenario, strategic threat intelligence plays a critical role in defending companies and governments by offering the required intelligence against threats that can cripple both the security and economy.