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Cyber Threat Intelligence: What You Need to Know

What exactly is cyber threat intelligence?

Cyber threat intelligence is a phrase that you have no doubt heard being used in IT security circles—it’s touted as a new type of solution to battle the new types of threats rapidly proliferating throughout the Internet and wreaking havoc on enterprises of all kinds.

But what exactly is cyber threat intelligence?

How can this solution enhance existing technological solutions and help enterprises move beyond the perimeter security paradigm?

Here we will explore these important questions and get you up to speed on this invaluable cybersecurity tool.



Cyber Threat Intelligence Defined

Cyber threat intelligence can be understood as aggregated, actionable information about emerging cybersecurity threats on the computing landscape. In addition to that, there are a few characteristics that set cyber threat intelligence apart from just plain information.

Good cyber threat intelligence:

  • Is targeted toward a specific industry. For instance, the cyber threat intelligence that a healthcare provider would receive would detail what cyber attacks were focusing on the healthcare industry, what the attacks were, how they were carried out, and so on.
  • Helps determine relative risk. Good cyber threat intelligence gives an enterprise an idea of how worried that enterprise should be and what steps it should take in order to protect itself.
  • Features the input of top-notch cyber security professionals. Having good minds in place in order to analyze information and offer an informed plan of action is critical to making cyber threat intelligence work for a given enterprise.



Why is Cyber Threat Intelligence a Necessary Solution?

Cyber threat intelligence is necessary because, simply put, hackers have grown smarter. Where once a virus scanner was a good-enough way to keep malware off of a network, now utilizing perimeter security tools alone cannot always keep enterprise networks safe. And the more valuable the target, the more likely that advanced methods will be used in order to extract information.

Recent high-profile data breaches have made use of cybersecurity threats known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APTs utilize a combination of targeted phishing and high-tech malware-hiding tactics in order to make sure that a piece of malware gets onto a network and resides there hidden, extracting targeted information for a specific use. There is nothing random about APTs, and so the methods used in order to combat them cannot be random either.

But government databases and large corporate enterprises are not the only organizations for which cyber threat intelligence is necessary. Small and medium-sized businesses in areas such as healthcare are growing in popularity as a target for hackers, specifically because they don’t always have the means to make cybersecurity a top priority.

Any business that stores and works with data that might be valuable to hackers—be it financial or personal—should consider cyber threat intelligence as an element of its cyber security plan.



New Models for Leveraging Knowledge

So what is the best way to make use of this information?

Since the advent of cyber threat intelligence as a unique and necessary part of an enterprise cybersecurity plan, some of the biggest names in the security business have been exploring different platforms for getting real-time, actionable intelligence from top-notch cyber security professionals to those who need it at client enterprises.

On-demand intelligence, which allows organizations to contact a security provider with specific questions about emerging security threats, is one way. Real-time threat sharing, in which enterprises whose security solutions detect irregularities can report those to other subscribed enterprises on the information-sharing network, is another.

As cyber threat intelligence matures, new methods of disseminating and implementing information will emerge.

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