Tom Bienkowski, Director of Product Marketing

Tom Bienkowski

Director, Product Marketing

Last Updated

Why is understanding the difference between cybersecurity and threat intelligence important?

Cyber Intelligence and Cybersecurity, though sharing the objective of defending against cyberthreats, approach it from slightly different perspectives. Cyber Intelligence, also known as Threat Intelligence, is an ongoing process that involves the collection, processing, analysis, and distribution of real-time information about active threats targeting applications and systems. It provides a comprehensive database, offering security professionals a centralized source of data about vulnerabilities and current threats exploited by malevolent entities. On the other hand, Cybersecurity focuses more narrowly on safeguarding critical IT infrastructure. This encompasses both digital and physical defense mechanisms, making it a crucial subset of Security Intelligence.

Cybersecurity differs from threat intelligence in that instead of monitoring the threats, it actively combats attacks. The goal of cybersecurity is to protect vital networks, applications, devices, and data from unauthorized access or cyberattack. Cybersecurity measures attempt to stay ahead of new attack vectors with the goal of preventing intrusions. Security professionals also develop responses to attacks with the objective of mitigating any damage as quickly as possible. Threat intelligence is a subset of cybersecurity. This means cybersecurity uses threat intelligence as one of many means to detect and stop cyberthreats.

Understanding the difference between these two key areas of your cyber defense toolset is key due to the need for a comprehensive solution that ensures success in both facets. NETSCOUT's Omnis Network Security Portfolio has options to reduce tool sprawl and ensure stout threat intelligence and cybersecurity defenses.

What is Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)?

Cyber threat intelligence refers to the gathering, processing, and deciphering of data to comprehend a potential cyber attacker's intent, likely targets, and methods of attack. This crucial cybersecurity domain provides organizations with the necessary and timely information to preemptively identify and counter threats, aiming to safeguard the organization's assets from any imminent cyberattacks.

Why is Cyber Threat Intelligence Important?

Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, making it difficult for organizations to stay ahead of the game. A reactive approach to cybersecurity is no longer enough to protect businesses from cyberattacks. This is where cyber threat intelligence comes in. By providing organizations with up-to-date and actionable intelligence, they can take a proactive approach to cybersecurity, identifying and mitigating potential threats before they cause any harm.

Benefits of Cyber Threat Intelligence

The benefits of cyber threat intelligence are numerous. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Proactive Security: Cyber threat intelligence is a proactive security measure that helps organizations stay ahead of potential threats.
  2. Cost-Effective: By identifying and mitigating potential threats before they cause any harm, cyber threat intelligence can save organizations the financial costs of cleaning up after an incident.
  3. In-Depth Understanding: Cyber threat intelligence gives organizations an in-depth understanding of the threats that pose the greatest risk to their infrastructure, allowing them to take appropriate actions to protect their business.

What are cyber threat intelligence tools?

In combating cybersecurity threats, security professionals use a wide range of cyber threat intelligence tools and services to protect vital networks. Some of the most common threat intelligence tools include:

  • Cybersecurity Programs – These programs typically assist with threat detection and threat management.
  • Threat Intelligence Supplier – Third-party companies provide intelligence-gathering services to monitor the network or the internet for threats.
  • Reverse Engineering Malware – Incident response teams can address malware by reverse engineering the threat, analyzing it, then developing strategies to defend against it.
  • Web Proxy – By inspecting inbound traffic, web proxies can be used to prevent new infections, following an incident where a malicious website has been inadvertently visited.

What are the most common cybercrimes?

The following are several of the most common cybercrimes:

  • Phishing scams are a form of social engineering attack that tries to trick unsuspecting targets into sharing confidential personal information. These attacks typically involve luring users into clicking on email links or filling out online forms.
  • Identity theft, which is similar to phishing scams, involves a cyber attacker impersonating a legitimate user to commit additional criminal activities, from theft of intellectual property to vital business assets, etc.
  • Spear phishing is a more targeted version of phishing, tailored to convince the recipient the request for information is legitimate and from a trusted source.
  • Cyber extortion, also known as ransomware attacks, is when bad actors take control of a system or network, encrypting the data to prevent users from accessing it. Viruses, malware, or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are the typical methods used to take over or overwhelm the target. A ransom is then demanded to unlock or not sell the data or stop the DDoS attack.
  • Unauthorized System Access is the act of hacking into and taking control of a computer system or network without the expressed consent of the owner.

What is a data breach?

A data breach occurs when secure or private information is intentionally or unintentionally accessed and copied. Such data leaks may contain personal, corporate, or financial information that is stolen for use by cybercriminals. Beyond the potential loss of personal information and intellectual property, data breaches can have lasting damage to a business’s reputation, resulting in potential revenue loss.

How can I detect cyber threats?

Detecting cyber threats requires effective internal IT policies and advanced monitoring is in place. Specific tools, such as anti-virus software and advanced threat detection logs can be used to detect suspicious activity on networks and systems. Additional threat detection strategies might include penetration testing that allows organizations to pinpoint vulnerabilities in their systems, networks, and applications. Also, automated network monitoring systems can be used to watch online traffic in real-time and alert cyber security personnel when irregularities are detected.

How can I stop cyber threats?

Prevention is the best option when it comes to mitigating cyber threats. Cybersecurity teams should actively monitor for system vulnerabilities while also watching for suspicious activity and unauthorized access, which can be powered by Network Detection and Response (NDR) solutions such as NETSCOUT Omnis Cyber Intelligence. It is also important to conduct regular education of users to ensure they are vigilant when it comes to phishing scams and malware attacks.

To prevent cyber attackers from exploiting weaknesses, cybersecurity teams should be sure software and operating systems are up-to-date (with routine software updates that include patches to known vulnerabilities). It is also prudent to have regular data backups and data loss prevention systems in place in the event of a ransomware or malware attack that disables systems.

When prevention is not possible, detection is key to expediting the investigation process, aiding in the remediation of the attack. Early detection is imperative to minimize the damage done to your network environment.

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