Technological progress has always been a double-edged sword empowering organizations of all sizes to digitalize their processes but also creating room for multiple types of hacking attacks and scams. In order to manage this tension and leverage online assets such as websites, email, and third-party applications, it’s necessary to think ahead and take steps to protect customers, employees, and everyone else from cyberfraud.
For that reason, companies have increased funding for combating economic crime. But due to limited security budgets, the need for prioritization and resource allocation is evident. And that’s where threat intelligence (TI) can support security analysts and CIOs in identifying security gaps in their systems and working practices, as well as following through with relevant tech solutions and security awareness initiatives. Let’s take a closer look at TI and explore use cases.
Threat Intelligence as a Starting PointSmart cybersecurity begins with knowing what your business is really up against, and TI gives valuable answers through evidence-based data about hosts, domain owners, websites, servers, and configurations.
This information is a little technical, but when put into context it can be used to anticipate where criminals are likely to strike, and, therefore, provides a roadmap for tackling one’s security vulnerabilities and assessing the trustworthiness of third parties.
In other words, TI offers a sense of direction about where to invest time and effort instead of doing a little of everything and hoping for the best. Here are two concrete ways TI data can be used to enable better protection through technology and security awareness.
Detect Spoofing with Public RecordsCollecting publicly available data in bulk as part of a TI analysis is an effective technique in evaluating which entities might be potentially dangerous. Such information includes the location of an organization’s main servers and details about domain owners—e.g., names, mailing addresses, and domain registration activities.
Investigating public records is useful for spotting inconsistencies. Are contact details present on a website, databases, and other sources diverging? Are there cases where domain names were registered only a few weeks ago despite the fact owners claim to be in business for several years? These are some of the red flags that can support the selection of anti-spoofing software and guide targeted security awareness actions — informing your employees about the most salient risks they face.
Check for Malware and Website EncryptionThe way security technologies and protocols are configured can strongly impact the risk of data loss, and TI helps look at aspects such as malware and encryption.
More specifically, TI is a means to connect to multiple malware databases around the world, allowing security analysts to stay on top of emerging threats and check whether their online assets are prone to being affected or may already have been so. Additionally, security awareness practitioners can design specific programs correspondingly, for example, by collecting and sharing details about a new type of ransomware attack that is spreading rapidly.
What’s more, TI makes it possible to review the reliability of hosts, monitoring for, among other things, SSL certificates and HTTPS enforcement and telling you whether it’s safe to input sensitive data there or on any outgoing websites. Based on these insights, security professionals can blacklist malicious hosts automatically and let staff members know that these should be avoided.
No Threat Intelligence without Security AwarenessAs these examples suggest, TI is only the first step in approaching cybersecurity intelligently — requiring organizations to act once vulnerabilities are identified. This follow-up can happen through technology reinforcements such as implementing the latest security solutions and configuring systems adequately.
However, despite the enhanced level of protection brought by software, a significant portion of cyber attacks and scams still slip through the cracks. As a result, security awareness is a necessary line of defense against cybercrime to safeguard users and prevent data breaches.
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