How to Organize and Classify Different Aspects of Cyber Threat Intelligence

Over the past few years, cyber threat intelligence has matured to cover many different aspects of business. What threat intelligence is and how people view and define it can vary quite a bit depending on the vendor providing the intelligence, the business unit consuming that intelligence, the deliverables expected of the intelligence, and the ultimate cyber risk management goals of the organization.

The evolution of threat intelligence has generally been a good thing for organizations, but it has also made it more difficult to wrap one’s head around the concept — particularly for those new to the subject. SurfWatch Labs chief security strategist Adam Meyer recently created a threat intelligence mind map to help show the different areas of threat intelligence and how they all tie together for organizations.

“It’s meant to give the individual looking at it kind of an overview of what cyber threat intelligence is,” said Meyer, who came on the latest Cyber Chat podcast to discuss the mind map and associated whitepaper. “If I was to start a cyber threat intelligence program, these are the components of what that program would be — at the high level.”

2017-09-20_MindMapFinal.png
Adam Meyer’s threat intelligence mind map.

Meyer said he was looking to standardize some of the resources that have already been published in the intelligence community and other thought leadership, as well as bring together some important parts of threat intelligence that weren’t always discussed, such as the people and process behind intelligence.

For example, early adopters of threat intelligence often begin with the mindset of collect, collect, collect, Meyer said, but all that raw data doesn’t necessarily translate into better security.

“Their eyes glaze over and they start realizing, ‘While how am I supposed to process all this information now, and not only process it in general, but how do I process it in a timely fashion; how do I put context around it’ — all those people-and-process-centric type of things,” Meyer said.

As SurfWatch Labs noted in its recent whitepaper on the mind map, the starting point for most organizations should be strategic threat intelligence.

Download the free whitepaper, “How Cyber Threat Intelligence Fits Into Your Security Program”

“Strategic cyber threat intelligence can help to answer many of the big-picture cyber risk questions facing organizations,” the paper noted. “Those answers can help to inform every other aspect of an organization’s threat intelligence operation and help ensure that cybersecurity efforts and investments and aligning with business priorities.”

Meyer echoed that sentiment.

“Basically, it’s looking at who is the decision maker and why do they care,” Meyer said. “Your intelligence should be driving the answer to that question.”

With those high-level questions answered, organizations can dive more deeply into other interconnected areas of the mind map, and those risk areas — whether it’s technology or fraud or supply chains or other risk concerns — will likely continue to blend together in the future, Meyer said.

“There seems to be an increase in awareness of needing to bring things together, which is what drove me to create the mind map.”

For more on the using the Threat Intelligence Mind Map, download the whitepaper or listen to our Cyber Chat Podcast with Adam Meyer below:

Author: Jeff Peters

SurfWatch Labs editor and host of SurfWatch Labs Cyber Chat podcast. Focused on using threat intelligence and data visualization in order to bring cybercrime to life and help make organizations safer.

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