Cyber Threat Intelligence – A Protective Approach

How safe is your organization from cyber threats? Cyber Threat Intelligence, often referred to as CTI, helps you to gather intelligence and safeguard your organization against cyber threats before they occurred. CTI not only protects yourself from such threats, but also helps you to respond them quickly and remove any breaches that may have resulted from the attack. The 2015 Cyber Intelligence Summit, held earlier this year, for instance, discussed the various risks involved today. One of the ongoing topics for discussion was how DNS could be a control point for Cyber Risk. Ernst Young, in a study, reported how 67% of their respondents believed that Cyber Threats were on the rise. Scammers are everywhere, and threat intelligence reports states how scammers can use accomplices or even pay developers to create malicious tools.

Understanding the Threats:

Your organization needs a good CTI strategy to prevent downtime and loss of precious data to hackers. You need to know from where the threat is coming and what its nature is. Which will help to develop the right strategy – once you know the source of threat, you can adjust your defense process accordingly. In the long term, you can study the attacks and form an idea about the trend to get more information and make your CTI even more powerful and effective.

Why do you need Cyber Threat Intelligence?

Let us first understand what Cyber Threat Intelligence is. Do not look at CTI as a cure for all cyber threats. It is not a magic wand that will predict all future attacks; or the one-stop measure to cure all cyber threats. CTI checks the history of such attacks & incidents and by understanding the mechanics of the internal environment, finds out what is most vulnerable while developing a defense strategy.

Now, why do you need such a defense system? Just imagine your data or confidential communication or intellectual property being stolen by a cyber attack and being sold to a competitor. CTI identifies your vulnerabilities and weak points, and helps protect them. The longer you have CTI, the better it gets. It identifies the stage of attack and reacts accordingly. While guarding you against attacks, the CTI system can analyses the attacks and find trends. It can identify the common causes and understand a common vulnerability within your system that has allowed attacks to reach you; and can prevent further attacks in an even better manner.

How does Cyber Threat Intelligence work?

Cyber Intelligence makes it easier for the administration to take decisions. They do not have to rely on hunches and give the real information based on trends and history. Your organization can reveal about which component is weak or which loophole can be a big threat. CTI will change the detection and security game from “We are being attacked with malware” to “an actor group from Northern China is attempting to attack us”. It can help you know the trends among your competitors, and protect confidential personally identifiable information (PII).

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Challenges that Cyber Threat Intelligence face:

CTI is a growing science. As such, CTI might not take into account some aspects that your organization should. Here is how it happens.

1. The Inside Threat

One of the primary challenges is that CTI mostly looks for an attack agent on the outside. It looks to block an attacker attacking from outside of the organization and prevent them eventually block the source altogether.

However, many such attacks come from the inside rather than the outside. Even if they don’t originate on the inside, they may be aided and abetted by an insider. CTI is less likely to be as effective for an inside attack than an outside one.

Companies spend most of their effort and money protecting their perimeter, but an inside threat is much more dangerous as the insider has knowledge of the security measures taken and thus knows any loopholes that may exist.

2. Less Focus on Adaptability

When we talk about the systems that prevent cyber attacks, we often focus solely on their ability to defend and protect. This sole focus must shift, and equal focus and effort should be put on the adaptability of these systems. Cyber threats don’t remain constant; they change with great speed. Your organization needs to be vigilant and have to introduce newer measures whenever possible. A simple cyber threat detected in the last week will evolve into something more sophisticated and more likely to succeed in the next. CTI mostly follows a constant process with preset rules and guidelines, which hardly gets flexible with the changing malware environment.

3. Focus on Security as a Fabric of Your Organization

Security is often thought of as a supplement rather than an important component. Think about what you can do when you are building a computer program or application. One party creates it, another one on-boards it to the infrastructure, and then another party looks after the security issue after everything is done. Security shouldn’t just be an add-on, it should be part of the fabric of computing itself. The mindset needs to be changed; otherwise, security breaches will keep occurring. CTI should have a certain level of situational awareness, it should be integrated into operations, and infrastructures to enhance automate processes and increase visibility.


Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is to trust deficit between the public and the private sectors. Cyber attacks are becoming stronger, and we need to present a united front. Cooperation between the public and the private sectors are important because the line between cyber economic issues and national security is quickly dissolving – we all are facing the same problems.


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