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What is Threat Intelligence and How Does it Get Identified in a Risk Assessment?



In an environment where security threats are rampant and dynamic, it's essential to stay on top of the latest security assessments to maintain business continuity. One of the key methods used by cybersecurity professionals to mitigate risks is through threat intelligence. But what is threat intelligence, and how does it get identified in a risk assessment? In this blog post, we'll provide an overview of threat intelligence and the methods used to identify it during a risk assessment.


Threat intelligence is a term that encompasses a wide range of information that relates to various kinds of cyber threats, including hackers, malware, social unrest, and other malicious activities. This information can be sourced from different platforms, such as social media, open-source intelligence, closed-source intelligence, and more. However, not all information is considered threat intelligence. To be regarded as such, it must be essential, relevant, and timely for risk mitigation.


In a risk assessment, cybersecurity professionals analyze the most significant threats that could impact their organization positivly or negatively. A good risk assessment will include all informational assets, and the regulatory controls that they need to adhere to. The process of identifying threat intelligence within a risk assessment usually starts with gathering data from different sources. Some examples could be: (IDS/IPS, Bandwith Monitoring, increased SIEM activity, or even event logging. ) These sources could include the utilization of threat intelligence platforms or threat intelligence feeds. The sources must be able to identify and alert organizations to potential security concerns and threats.


The next step in identifying threat intelligence is analyzing the data gathered. In this step, the gathered data must be sorted and analyzed for insights on potential security threats or vulnerabilities. The results of this analysis are then synthesized and used to identify the key risks facing the organization. (Notice that this is not just an IT problem, but an organizational one.) These risks are then ranked by severity and potential impact to confidentiality, integrity, and availability of organizational assets.


One of the crucial factors in identifying threat intelligence during a risk assessment is context. The information gathered must be analyzed with context to the organization's unique environment to assess its potential impact truly. Threats are not cookie cutter or really "templatable". Additionally, the information must be handled with the appropriate level of privacy to ensure the safety of an organization's sensitive data.


Lastly, threat intelligence must be communicated effectively to all stakeholders. The security team should prioritize threats based on their severity, potential impact, and the organization's risk threshold. This ranking will help the stakeholders understand the payoff of implementing security controls that may prevent an actual breach. Stakeholders can then take appropriate action to mitigate the identified risks. Lastly this process HAS TO BE DOCUMENTED. If you communicate but not document did it really happen? We all know that person that states "You never talked to me about that." In today's Privacy and Cyber climate we can't afford to not document accountability.


Threat intelligence is a fundamental aspect of any cybersecurity strategy. Organizations must efficiently identify and analyze threat intelligence to mitigate potential risks to their infrastructure and sensitive data. Threat intelligence, when effectively identified in a risk assessment, helps organizations make informed decisions to improve their cybersecurity posture. At the end of the day, cybersecurity professionals must stay up to date with current threats to keep their organizations protected, and this entails being proactive and maintaining a constant focus on identifying threat intelligence during any type of risk management activity.

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