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The month of October, designated Cybersecurity Awareness, has passed. This doesn’t mean threats to your network have disappeared; rather, attacks threaten your company’s network, finances and reputation year-round. Read on to learn more about the importance of threat intelligence in protecting your technological assets.

 

Threat Intelligence, Defined

 

Threat intelligence is more than just a general knowledge of possible dangers to your network, but also about assessing your network’s vulnerabilities. Ransomware distributed via “phishing” emails along with advanced persistent attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) still strike organizations of all sizes. Microsoft defines threat intelligence as “information describing existing or potential threats to systems and users.” Threat intelligence is available from multiple sources, including written reports about bad actors and their tactics; specific observations of IP addresses, domains and other markers of suspicious activity; and open-source news feeds. While abundant information is easy to find, threat intelligence means analyzing and interpreting the information and how it corresponds to your own organization’s vulnerabilities. 

 

The Importance of Threat Intelligence

 

Knowing detailed information about threats seems self-explanatory. Companies continue to face existential threats to their networks, finances and reputations from attacks and data breaches. Bad actors are ever more clever, finding ways to disable your network via Advanced Persistent Attacks (APTs) such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). According to a CompTIA post, threat intelligence contains three phases. Strategic planning includes knowing general and specific threats to your business. The operational phase involves using the data you gain to assess what parts of your network are targets for specific threats as well as sharing this information with vendors and customers.  At the tactical level, you need to “think like a hacker” by analyzing forensic data from attacks or even reverse-engineering attacks like malware. Having a plan for threat intelligence, and practicing that plan, can help your company respond during a real attack.

 

How an ISAO Can Help with Threat Intelligence

 

A trusted resource for threat intelligence is an Information Sharing and Analysis Organization, or ISAO. Members of such an organization share threat information with other members, as well as vulnerabilities they’ve discovered. Membership to these organizations is often included in membership packages of other organizations like CompTIA. Governments, organizations of all sizes, and cybersecurity agencies worldwide exchange information in forums and groups. After the information is vetted, it’s shared through the ISAO. These inter-industry groups unite communities of interest rather than being limited with a single industry and aid organizations in the strategies and tactics of cybersecurity.

 

Threat intelligence means more than just general awareness of threats “out there,” but also involves analyzing the vulnerabilities of your organization.