What Exactly Is Threat Intelligence, and How Do You Maximize Its Value?

Think the IT security threat landscape is challenging? Well, new data shows cybercriminals have ramped up their efforts to maximize the speed and scale of their attacks. More specifically, automated botnet attacks and “swarm” technology have led to a significant increase in the number of attacks organizations deal with on a daily basis, according to Fortinet’s Threat Landscape Report for Q3 of 2017. Botnet reoccurrence rates are way up, and attackers are using advanced application exploits, including the one used to breach Equifax, to quickly swarm vulnerabilities.

Just as hackers are ganging up on vulnerabilities as soon as they’re identified, organizations need to use the latest, most reliable threat intelligence to defend against these attacks. Of course, threat intelligence is more than information.

Threat intelligence is data that has been collected, evaluated and applied to identify who the attacker is, the type of threat or method of attack, the systems being targeted, and the vulnerabilities that the attacker is trying to exploit. The goal is to prevent a breach by recognizing and acting upon indicators of attack, and to improve the speed and accuracy of threat detection and response. Organizations can then use threat intelligence to shape security strategies and procedures.

The key is to convert threat data into threat intelligence and know the difference between the two. Most organizations simply have threat data, complete with false positives and irrelevant noise that make the data useless or even detrimental if it leads to inaccurate conclusions. To turn that data into true intelligence, you need to have qualified professionals analyzing information from reliable sources. Focus on threats that are specific to your industry to help filter out irrelevant information. Because most attackers change their approach once detected, quickly review and act upon data, applying it against recent activities within your organization. To stay on top of the latest threats, make sure data collection and processing is automated.

You also need to understand what threat intelligence can and cannot do in order to get value from it. Threat intelligence can help you understand the actors, their methods, and the risks involved. Threat intelligence can uncover an indicator of compromise, but that indicator will need context and analysis to have value. Threat intelligence is not always black and white. It includes assumptions and incomplete data sets, which require sound judgement to distinguish legitimate threats from noise. Ultimately, threat intelligence is a capability, not a tool or platform, that can help you make better security decisions and investments to reduce risk.

Fortinet’s FortiGuard Threat Intelligence Service (TIS) enables security teams to better understand risk and become more proactive in preventing, detecting and responding to cyberattacks. FortiGuard TIS is a cloud-based platform that uses threat metrics and activity trends to prioritize threats and increase situational awareness of the threat landscape. Threat intelligence research is provided by Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs, which employs more than 200 researchers who analyze data from more than 3 million sensors around the world.

Using and managing threat intelligence incorrectly can create almost as many problems as not using threat intelligence at all. Let us show you how to implement Fortinet’s FortiGuard TIS to take full advantage of threat intelligence and reduce risk across your organization.