September 29, 2016
Joe Franscella

Evaluating Threat Analytics The Right Way

<p>Cyber-security threats can come from individuals, groups, or automated tools which were deployed by said people. Once entry has been gained, malicious hackers can profit or benefit from exploiting your network or the files therein. Avoiding and minimizing the damage from attacks is preferable, as resolving an incident is a <a href="">long and costly process</a>. Depending on the scope of your liability and losses, your organization may have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in damages and response personnel.</p><p>In order to stop hacks before they reach full potential, you must detect the early signs. Simpler rogue programs – viruses, bots and the like are often resolved with definition based solutions like firewalls and anti-malware software. Granted these types of attacks do not always have a preceding pattern. Threat analytics focuses more on larger-scaled attacks. More <a href="" target="_blank">evidence and indicators are inherently created</a> in the months leading up to a targeted plan to steal, sabotage, or corrupt your data. will show you who is out there and what they are after, which goes so far beyond a list of network pings. Here are some tips for getting the most value out of your cyber-threat platform.</p><p>All of these steps contribute to more reliable reports for threat analytics:</p><ul><li>Make sure the scope of your information gathering plan reaches all aspects of your digital territory. Don’t confine your cyber-threat intelligence platform to the physical network at your workplace if you use an external email server and cloud storage.</li><li>Plan with the objective of collecting intelligence, not data. Take the time to identify all of your assets and include them in the planning stages. Then once the platform is running, configure sensitivity settings appropriately to guard important files.</li><li>Leverage all the capabilities of your platform. Threat analytics are more nuanced and contextual when they are based off of multiple reference points. Utilize all of the threat indicators available to you. If you can afford real time alerts, that is optimal. If you can only afford a once-daily proprietary threat report you may wish to rely more on <a href="">open source threat feeds</a>.</li><li>Customize your configurations to eliminate false alerts. Firewall traffic or other routine data flows can set off unnecessary alarms. Excessive alerts lead to diminished power of actual threat alerts. Traffic from familiar IP addresses does not necessarily indicate safe traffic. Understand how to identify suspicious activity from trusted sources. This could be indicative of an authentication compromise, a hacked password. Snooping or cracking attempts coming from “inside the house” are indicative of a malicious insider.</li><li>Most importantly you or your respondent team must react to the information your threat analytics have presented, and do so quickly enough.</li></ul><p>You will perform both continuous monitoring for IoC’s and perform case by case investigation in response to suspicious or malicious traffic. Ultimately the objective of using threat analytics is to <a href="" target="_blank">identify places to improve</a>. Through this thorough analysis of your network you will discover vulnerabilities, directed and random threats as well as what threat actors are after.</p><p>This intelligence is different for everyone so it must be discovered for you with skill and diligence. Based on the alerts and investigation thereof, you fix the vulnerability, improve your processes, or take whatever action is necessary. The real value in threat analytics is using self-study to make progression towards being nearly un-hackable. This can only be achieved if you continue the cycle of continuous and on-demand monitoring, responses, and making improvements.</p>

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