Cyber Threat Intelligence, Continuous Monitoring & Your Data

By Phoebe Fasulo

Posted on Dec 2, 2019

Cyber threats are constantly changing.

Take ransomware, for example. Ransomware attacks were at a high point back in 2017. WannaCrypt and Petya were widely reported on, and there was some concern that criminals would increase their use of ransomware. But, according to the latest volume of the Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report, that’s not what happened.

Information security workers and technology got better at detecting ransomware attacks, and more organizations educated employees about how to respond to and avoid it. Between March of 2017 and December of 2018, ransomware attacks dropped by 60%.

Ransomware simply wasn’t easy money anymore for cybercriminals. So they turned to other ways of making money quickly — cryptocurrency mining and phishing quickly became their go-to attacks.

Bad actors will always reach for the low-hanging fruit, and thanks to improved security measures or changing technology, that fruit is always changing.

It’s important to stay on top of those changes, or it will cost you. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. Losing track of how which threats are likely to affect your business can be a big, and pricy, mistake.

That’s where cyber threat intelligence comes into play.

What is cyber threat intelligence?

Cyber threat intelligence is an area of information security focused on collecting and analyzing information about current and potential attacks.

It’s a lot like any sort of intelligence operation; you’re simply collecting data, identifying and evaluating threats that might impact your organization and assets. This might come from threats you’ve actually received, like a malicious file or a threat, or it could involve keeping an eye on the threat landscape and knowing how your organization is likely to be attacked.

This can help you paint a picture of the risks posed by specific threats, and might include detailed information, such as the trends, patterns, and tools attackers might use in an attack.

Such analysis has several security uses; it might be used to inform policy or design security procedures. It may also be used to provide warnings, or to detect an attack.

Detecting an attack early is critical in limiting the damage to your organization. According to the Cost of a Data Breach Report, it often takes an average of 279 days for an organization to find and contain a breach. Breaches found early, ( in this case, “early” means in less than 200 days) however, tend to cost $1.2 million less.

Why continuous monitoring?

Collecting information about various cyber threats isn’t something you do once in awhile, or even at regular intervals — that sort of monitoring doesn’t provide you with a complete picture of your risk. Instead, it provides snapshots of moments in time. Between those snapshots, anything could be happening.

Take third-party risk. You might occasionally check to ensure your vendors and partners are compliant with the regulations governing your industry. Perhaps you have someone from your security organization look into their compliance, or perhaps your vendors submit a questionnaire. That’s fine, but by relying on these methods, you won’t be notified the moment a vendor drops out of compliance and leaves you at risk.

The same goes for chatter on the dark web; you might have personnel search the online spaces frequented by criminals to see if your organization’s name or information has cropped up, but you’re not getting a notification as soon as that happens. Instead, you’re relying on chance — maybe someone from your organization will do a search see the chatter in time to prevent an attack.

By using smart tools that constantly scan for risks and threats, you make sure you constantly have the best, most-up-to-date security intelligence at all times.

How SecurityScorecard can help

Cyber criminals are constantly changing their approach, but their objective is always the same: stealing your information, usually for financial gain. Your information security platform should be able to keep you apprised of their tactics at all times.

SecurityScorecard’s cyber threat reconnaissance allows you and your organization’s business stakeholders to continuously monitor the most important cybersecurity KPIs for your organization. This tool delivers actionable security intelligence that enables security and risk management teams to find and reduce vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.

Using our own proprietary information, commercial, and open source threat intelligence feeds our platform identifies active threats and malicious activity targeting your organization and your third-party ecosystem. This will provide your organization with the cyber threat intelligence you need to make informed security decisions in the future.

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