What is Cyber Threat Intelligence?

Cyber threat intelligence is data that’s collected, processed and analysed to understand security risks.

The information can be used to determine threat actors’ motives, the information they might target and the actions they might take.

It’s a crucial weapon in organisations’ cyber defences, as it helps them respond to threats proactively. They can make informed decisions based on research and evidence, and implement measures to mitigate cyber security risks.

Why is cyber threat intelligence important?

One of the crucial elements of effective cyber security is speed. Cyber criminals are always looking for ways to identify and exploit vulnerabilities, and organisations must react quickly to close known weaknesses and spot errors before the crooks can pounce.

Cyber threat intelligence gives organisations an advantage over criminals in this conflict. The information they gather can help them anticipate threat actors’ moves and implement appropriate precautions.

The data gathered during intelligence finding can also reveal trends in cyber criminals’ techniques and tactics. This can help cyber security personnel prepare for future attacks and shift resources accordingly.

But cyber threat intelligence doesn’t only help security personnel understand what threat actors do; the information also provides insight into their decision-making process.

The benefits of cyber threat intelligence

Although cyber threat intelligence is often associated with large firms that have significant cyber security budgets, the system can help organisations of all sizes.

After all, every organisation is at risk of security incidents and would benefit from cyber security support.

For SMEs, cyber threat intelligence can help decision-makers prioritise their resources. Instead of relying on technologies, tools and processes that are applied based on general guidance, organisations can determine which defences are best suited for their needs.

Meanwhile, larger organisations can use cyber threat intelligence to support their existing security mechanisms. By leveraging external threat intelligence, they will reduce the need for additional internal security analysts.

Cyber threat intelligence lifecycle

The threat intelligence lifecycle is a process that transforms raw data into clear information that can be used to make decisions. It can take several forms, but it generally consists of six steps that are repeated to form a continual improvement process.

1. Determine your requirements

An organisation’s first task is to agree upon the goals of the cyber threat intelligence system. Your team might want to learn about the types of attackers that target your organisation, their motivation, the attack surface and the specific actions that should be taken to mitigate the risk.

Once these have been established, the organisation should create a methodology for implementing the system based on their available resources.

2. Collect the required information

The next step is to collect the necessary data to meet your requirements. This could mean gaining information from traffic logs, publicly available data sources, relevant forums and subject matter experts.

3. Process the information

After the data has been collected, it must be processed into a format suitable for analysis.

This usually means decrypting files, translating information from foreign sources, organising the data points in spreadsheets and evaluating the data for relevance and reliability.

4. Analyse the information

Once the dataset has been processed, the organisation must analyse the information to find answers to the questions posed in the requirements stage.

5. Present the results

The threat intelligence team must translate their analysis into a summary of findings. This is so that they can share their conclusions with senior decision-makers without relying on dense statistics or technical jargon.

6. Seek feedback

The final stage of the threat intelligence lifecycle is to receive feedback on the data that has been provided.

You might learn, for example, that the organisation has made organisational changes regarding cyber security, which will affect the way threat intelligence should be gathered, or that senior decision makers would prefer reports to be presented in a different way.

Preparing for cyber security incidents with GRCI Law

If you’re looking for guidance on how to prevent cyber security incidents, GRCI Law is here to help.

Our Cyber Incident Response Readiness Assessment provides an impartial review of your organisation’s ability to protect against, detect and respond to a cyber security incident.

The assessment looks at your organisation’s cyber incident response capabilities, threat and vulnerability management, event logging and monitoring, and business continuity.

We understand that no two organisations are the same and our consultancy team will work with you to ensure that we provide advice that is relevant to your organisation’s size, sector and objectives.

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