Why is understanding the difference between cybersecurity and threat intelligence important?
Threat intelligence is defined as the continuous activity of gathering, processing, analyzing, and distributing information related to threats that target applications and systems. This information is collected in real-time from any number of sources. Threat intelligence is typically aggregated in a single database, providing security professionals with a centralized source of information on vulnerabilities and active threats that are being exploited by bad actors.
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. Meaning, 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 are threat intelligence tools?
In combating cybersecurity threats, security professionals use a wide range of 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 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 legit 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 method 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 cyber criminals. Beyond the potential loss of personal information and intellectual property, data breaches can have lasting damage to a business’s reputation.
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. 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 cyberattackers from exploiting weaknesses, cyber security teams should be sure software and operating systems are up-to-date. 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.