External Threat Intelligence Services


What are External Threat Intelligence Services?

External Threat Intelligence Services are services that gather, analyze, and provide information about potential threats from outside an organization.

These services help security teams stay informed about current and emerging threats by monitoring various sources such as the dark web, hacker forums, and other online platforms where cybercriminals share data.

This intelligence allows organizations to proactively protect themselves against potential attacks by resetting leaked credentials & session tokens, taking down phishing sites, as well as tracking their external attack surface.

Key Benefits of Threat Intelligence

Actionable threat intelligence provides several key benefits to organizations:

  • Early Threat Detection: Allows preventive measures to be taken before an attack occurs.
  • Improved Defense: Understanding cybercriminals’ tactics helps businesses improve their cyber defenses.
  • Quick Incident Response: Enables quicker identification and response to security incidents, minimizing damage and downtime.
  • Informed Decision-Making: Leads to more informed, data-driven decisions about security strategies and resource allocation.

Why Use External Threat Intelligence Services?

For most businesses, leveraging external threat intelligence services is significantly more cost-efficient and reliable than building an internal threat intelligence team.

Gaining ongoing visibility into hacker forums, the dark web, ransomware gangs, paste sites, and other darknet markets can be resource-intensive and challenging for an internal team to manage.

By using external threat intelligence service providers, organizations can efficiently track emerging threats, proactively secure their systems, reset compromised credentials, and take down phishing sites without the need for significant investment in specialized tools and personnel.

Essential Capabilities for External Threat Intelligence Services

There is a wide range of features external threat intelligence services provide. Here’s a list of the essential features to look for:

  • Threat Monitoring and Detection:

    • Continuous monitoring of hacker forums, dark web, ransomware gangs, paste sites, and other darknet markets.
    • Real-time detection of emerging threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Data Collection and Analysis:

    • Aggregation of data from multiple sources, including open, deep, and dark web.
    • Advanced analytical tools to process and analyze large volumes of data to identify patterns and trends.
  • Threat Contextualization and Prioritization:

    • Providing context around identified threats to assess their relevance and potential impact.
    • Prioritizing threats based on their severity and the risk they pose to the organization.
  • Actionable Intelligence and Reporting:

    • Generating detailed, actionable reports with recommendations for mitigating identified threats.
    • Providing alerts and notifications for immediate threats that require prompt attention.
  • Incident Response Support:

    • Offering guidance and support for responding to and mitigating security incidents.
    • Facilitating the takedown of phishing sites and other malicious infrastructure.
  • Credential Monitoring and Protection:

    • Monitoring for leaked credentials, session tokens, and compromised accounts across various platforms.
    • Providing mechanisms for resetting compromised credentials and securing accounts.
  • Phishing and Domain Monitoring:

    • Identifying and taking down phishing sites and look-alike domains.
    • Monitoring for typosquatting and other domain-based threats.
  • Integration with Existing Security Systems:

    • Seamless integration with the organization’s existing security tools and infrastructure.
    • Enabling automated threat feeds and updates to enhance the organization’s security defenses.
  • Expert Analysis and Insights:

    • Access to threat intelligence analysts who can provide interpretation and insights.
    • Customized intelligence briefings and strategic recommendations.
  • Compliance and Legal Support:

    • Assisting with compliance requirements and providing documentation for regulatory purposes.
    • Offering support for legal actions against threat actors when necessary.

Different Types of Threat Intelligence

External Threat Intelligence is just one part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. There are six main types of cyber threat intelligence, which can be categorized based on the nature of the information, its source, and its intended use.

1. Strategic Threat Intelligence:

  • Purpose: Provides high-level insights into the broader threat landscape, trends, and patterns.
  • Audience: Typically aimed at senior executives and decision-makers.
  • Content: Includes information on threat actors, their motivations, tactics, and potential impacts on the organization. Often used to inform business strategies and investment decisions.
  • Example: Reports on the rise of ransomware attacks in specific industries.

2. Tactical Threat Intelligence:

  • Purpose: Offers insights into the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by threat actors.
  • Audience: Useful for security operations teams and incident responders.
  • Content: Details specific attack methods, tools used, and indicators of compromise (IOCs). Helps in understanding how an attack might be executed and how to defend against it.
  • Example: Analysis of a phishing campaign’s methodology and the specific malware used.

3. Operational Threat Intelligence:

  • Purpose: Provides real-time information about ongoing threats and attacks.
  • Audience: Targeted at SOC analysts, incident responders, and threat hunters.
  • Content: Includes timely alerts, detailed attack timelines, and actionable insights for immediate response.
  • Example: Alerts about a zero-day vulnerability being actively exploited in the wild.

4. Technical Threat Intelligence:

  • Purpose: Focuses on technical details of cyber threats.
  • Audience: Intended for IT security professionals and system administrators.
  • Content: Contains information such as IP addresses, domain names, malware hashes, and other IOCs that can be used to detect and block threats.
  • Example: A list of IP addresses associated with a botnet used in a DDoS attack.

5. Internal Threat Intelligence:

  • Purpose: Gathers and analyzes data from within the organization to identify internal threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Audience: Relevant for internal security teams and risk management.
  • Content: Includes log data, network traffic analysis, and user behavior analytics to detect insider threats or compromised internal systems.
  • Example: Analyzing login patterns to identify potential insider threats.

6. External Threat Intelligence:

  • Purpose: Involves collecting data from external sources to identify and understand threats outside the organization.
  • Audience: Useful for threat intelligence teams, security analysts, and risk management.
  • Content: Involves monitoring hacker forums, dark web, social media, and other external platforms for threat indicators and threat actor activities.
  • Example: Monitoring dark web forums for leaked employee credentials.

Each type of threat intelligence serves a specific purpose and is crucial for building an effective cybersecurity strategy. By leveraging these various types, organizations can gain a holistic view of the threat landscape and improve their ability to detect, prevent, and respond to potential threats.