Why is Correlation the Most Important Phase in Cyber Threat Intelligence Lifecycle?

Table of Contents

What is Threat Intelligence Correlation?

Why do Legacy Threat Intelligence Platforms fail to Correlate?

How does a Threat Intelligence Platform Improve Threat Intelligence Correlation?

Cyware CTIX: The Best Threat Intelligence Platform for Correlating Threat Intelligence

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Why is Correlation the Most Important Phase in Cyber Threat Intelligence Lifecycle?

  • Cyber Threat Intelligence

Posted on: September 06, 2022

Why is Correlation the Most Important Phase in Cyber Threat Intelligence Lifecycle?
Cyberattacks cost a hefty amount to organizations. They cause the destruction of organizational data, interruption in services, theft of intellectual property, reputational damage, decreased productivity, and so much more. However, many companies are still unaware of the repercussions of being attacked. 

How can enterprises effectively detect any suspicious activity that can impact their systems and network? How can they quickly identify a threat, minimize its effects, and reduce the potential risk? Threat intelligence correlation is one of the most powerful ways for threat detection and response in real time. 

The ever-increasing volume of information and threats from around the world is making the cybersecurity threat landscape all the more complex. All this raw threat information needs to be contextualized and correlated to eliminate false positives and address the complexity in security operations centers (SOCs). To tackle the rising complexities, organizations must be on the lookout for improving their cyber defenses by constantly operationalizing threat intelligence.

What is Threat Intelligence Correlation?

Threat intelligence is further enhanced so that it stands valuable and meaningful to security teams and others with whom it is shared. Many enterprises grapple with massive volumes of threat data as tons of threat data feeds from various different sources are available today. This leads to analyst fatigue and organizations also lack skilled professionals, thereby struggling to make optimum use of their threat intelligence. To be able to access actionable intelligence and act upon it, it is important for organizations to correlate the threat intelligence at their disposal. 

Threat intelligence correlation is a technique for investigating the relationship between two threat elements, for example, malware and threat actors. It helps connect the dots between pieces of information and gain more knowledge about cyber threats that assists in critical decision making by security teams. It is important for organizations to continuously improve their defenses. Threat intelligence correlation is an important aspect of a threat intelligence lifecycle that is performed by connected threat intelligence platforms. The threat indicators of compromise (IOCs) need to be enriched and correlated in order to enhance the value of threat intelligence. What this means is that threat intelligence should be contextualized, actionable, noise-free, and have a high confidence score for it to be useful. 

In today's world, it's more important than ever to be aware of the threats surrounding us. With the help of connected threat intel platforms, SecOps teams can now harness their internal data residing in their SIEM, IR, and EDR systems to better understand how the threats relate to their own organization. Moreover, they can correlate past incidents with current threats to better understand the potential risks they may face. They can also leverage external databases like VirusTotal, Hybrid Analysis, and others for threat intel enrichment. In a nutshell, organizations can have a more comprehensive understanding of their threat environment by correlating the data generated from their internal tools as well as external sources. This can help them identify new threats and evaluate their magnitude and severity. 

It can be difficult to derive actionable threat intelligence from the raw threat information if the IOCs are not correlated. Threat intelligence platforms have the capability to automatically correlate IOCs, allowing security teams to act quickly and make informed decisions. After correlating the threat indicators, threat intelligence platforms help security teams to score the threat data, which is known as confidence scoring. By using confidence scoring, the threats that are most likely to impact an organization can be prioritized and action can be taken against them. Confidence scoring helps security teams eliminate false positives and focus on mitigating threats, thereby improving threat detection and threat intelligence operationalization.

Why do Legacy Threat Intelligence Platforms fail to Correlate?

Several organizations employ legacy threat intel platforms that fall short when it comes to threat intelligence correlation. Let’s find out about the qualities that a legacy threat intel platform lacks!

Limited Number of Sources

The effective use of threat intelligence requires threat intelligence platforms to ingest and push high-confidence, analyzed threat intelligence into different security tools in real time. Legacy threat intelligence platforms are incapable of doing this as they are more focused on collecting and enriching threat intelligence from a restricted number of sources. 

Unlike legacy threat intelligence platforms that ingest data from a limited number of sources, connected threat intelligence platforms have the capability to enrich threat data from multiple sources—both internal and external—to perform real-time correlation, deduplication, and analysis, along with noise removal. 

With the rising threats, security teams must comb through a wide range of internal and external sources to keep abreast of them. These sources include regulatory advisories, open source and commercial intelligence feeds, websites, social media, and IDS/IPS, SOAR, firewalls, SIEM, EDR/XDR, and more. All these internal and external sources must be analyzed for optimal and effective security. 

Legacy threat intelligence platforms ingest threat data from a limited number of sources and do not integrate with other security tools, leaving SecOps teams to operate in silos. On the other hand, modern threat intelligence platforms not only integrate with disparate security technologies but also offer data ingestion support for both structured and unstructured data from multiple sources. They are format-agnostic, hence can ingest intel from various sources.

Focus on Internal Threat Data

SecOps teams must leverage the threat intelligence generated by the internally-deployed security tools. However, legacy tools cannot ingest or add context to threat data generated by internal sources not only because of a lack of integrations but also because they were designed with a different mindset and purpose of only ingesting structured threat intelligence from limited external sources. Connected threat intelligence platforms empower security teams to leverage the internal threat intelligence generated from their SIEMs, UEBA, Antivirus, IDS/IPS, etc, helping in the early detection of threats. By harnessing internal threat intelligence, organizations can identify threats lurking in their network and focus on detecting threat actors, vulnerabilities, and events that could lead to cyberattacks.

Advanced Correlation Engine

Legacy threat intel platforms fail to perform real-time and historical threat detection as they simply lack a correlation engine. However, a connected threat intel platform comes with an advanced correlation engine that is capable of analyzing threats and detecting risks to determine whether an organization is exposed to a particular threat. It correlates all logs, events, and network activities along with contextual information to connect the dots to detect hidden patterns indicative of a bigger threat. It also calculates the risk by assigning it a confidence score

How does a Threat Intelligence Platform Improve Threat Intelligence Correlation?

Threat intelligence correlation is a useful approach to converting raw threat data into actionable intelligence. A threat intelligence platform automatically enriches and correlates threat data, thereby minimizing alert fatigue by eliminating false positives, and identifying potential risks by triggering new workflows. Driven by built-in AI and ML-enabled technologies, a connected threat intelligence platform automates threat intel correlation in real-time from trusted threat databases (like VirusTotal, Whois, NVD, and others). 

Leveraging a connected threat intelligence platform, security teams can correlate and enrich hundreds of IOCs from several internal and external trusted intelligence sources. Subsequently, they can calculate the final risk score of the IOCs and prioritize the actioning on relevant intel. Based on a confidence score, a threat intelligence platform filters out threat intelligence, blocks indicators on Firewall, EDR, and other tools as a preventive measure, and adds them to the watchlist of a SIEM solution. Furthermore, threat intelligence validation is made easier with a threat intelligence platform that allows cross-correlations with threat sightings by affiliates, peers, and subsidiaries in an automated manner. 

Cyware CTIX: The Best Threat Intelligence Platform for Correlating Threat Intelligence

Cyware Threat Intelligence eXchange (CTIX) is a next-generation connected threat intelligence platform that supports all the phases of a threat intelligence lifecycle—ingestion, normalization, processing, correlation, analysis, enrichment, actioning, and sharing.

It ingests data in all formats (PDF, CSV, JSON, STIX/TAXII) from a multitude of internal and external sources; normalizes, deduplicates, analyzes, correlates, and enriches this data; continually pushes finished threat intelligence into other security and IT technologies in the organization; and shares relevant intel with security teams and other stakeholders based on their specific roles and needs. CTIX also enables the exchange of relevant threat information with trusted third parties (both public and private). 

CTIX follows the hub-and-spoke model for bidirectional threat data exchange, with a central server or a central organization or team disseminating relevant intel to all connected tools or entities while also ingesting data from these systems. By integrating with security tools across an organization’s internal network, the platform enables threat intelligence delivery to detection sensors in real time, significantly improving the speed of detection and response.

Book your free demo to find out how Cyware can help you with the contextualized and actionable threat intel you and your security teams need to detect and respond to threats. With Cyware’s CTIX platform, you can automate end-to-end tactical and technical threat intelligence with advanced analysis and bi-directional sharing within your trusted network. 

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