Proact, Don’t React: How CISOs Should View Cybercrime Threat Intelligence

David Carmiel, KELA’s CEO

Anyone involved in cybersecurity knows that the threat landscape is constantly evolving. Attackers are always looking for new ways to exploit systems and data, while defenders are working hard to stay ahead of them. In this constant cat-and-mouse game, it’s essential for security professionals to have up-to-date information on the latest threats.

When defending your organization against cybercrime threats, it’s essential to have access to the latest threat intelligence. Security teams need actionable insights into the cybercrime underground ecosystem to better understand the threats their organizations face and take appropriate steps to defend themselves.

Threat intelligence can be extremely valuable in helping organizations stay ahead of attackers and mitigate risk. But it’s also a complex and rapidly changing field, so keeping up with the latest trends can be challenging. This article will look at how the cybercrime threat intelligence landscape has evolved over the last few years and what we can expect in the coming months and years. We’ll also discuss some critical challenges security professionals face when implementing or using cybercrime threat intelligence.

How The Cybercrime Threat Intelligence Landscape Has Evolved

Cybercrime has changed dramatically in the past three years alone. Threat actors always look for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, and the concept of coordinated and collaborative lawlessness, the cybercrime underground, provides a safe haven for these groups and individuals. The cybercrime underground is a place where they can operate with little fear of being caught.

However, cybersecurity and risk management professionals can gain valuable insights into the plans and activities of potential threat actors by monitoring and analyzing activity on cybercrime sources. This information can help organizations better protect themselves against cyberattacks and mitigate the damage that may occur when they become the victim of a breach.

Cybercriminals Are More Sophisticated

The cybercrime underground is not a single, avoidable place; bad people can do bad things anywhere on the internet. Yet the introduction of social media and mobile devices has allowed for a more connected world and created new opportunities for criminals, as everything is much more exposed.

Additionally, popular culture has long portrayed cybercriminals as lone-wolf hackers operating out of their parent’s basements. While this may have been true in the early days of the internet, cybercriminals have long since evolved into sophisticated and well-organized crime syndicates.

This hyperconnectivity, alongside cybercriminals’ increased sophistication, makes the job of a CISO more difficult. That’s why security teams need someone to provide insights about what is happening on the web and how it could impact their organization.

Cybercriminals Are More Organized

Today, cybercriminals operate like any other business, focusing on growth strategies and leveraging automation wherever possible. They have become segmented and specialized, with experts in every conceivable aspect of cybercrime. Their objective is to make as much money as possible, as quickly as they can, while remaining undetected.

One way that cybercriminals have mimicked legitimate businesses is by specializing in certain areas of crime. For example, cybercriminals now specialize in ransomware, malware, data theft or social media fraud. This specialization allows them to become experts in their field and increase profits by targeting specific victims or industries.

Another way that cybercriminals have imitated legitimate businesses is by using similar business models and operations, including marketing, sales, accounting and customer service divisions. This structure allows them to be more efficient and profitable, and it makes it more difficult for law enforcement to track them down.

Increased Need For Cybercrime Threat Intelligence

To defend against modern organized cybercriminals, CISOs must be able to depend on intelligence—critical and accurate information used to stand up a proper defense. Security teams must have timely reports about what is happening deep inside the cyber underground coupled with actionable insights to guide their proactive defenses and inform their remediation strategy. In this way, the CISO is able to know when a cybercriminal identifies a new attack vector or any other new opportunity to penetrate the organization’s attack surface. Then they’re able to better act on it before the attack occurs, thus preventing enormous reputational and financial damage to the organization. Gone are the days when a CISO relied on threat intelligence only as support for their annual cyber threat presentation to the board.

The Future Of Threat Intelligence: Proact, Don’t React

In the future, security teams must change how they view threat intelligence. Think of how national intelligence agencies keep their finger on the pulse of what cybercriminals are up to, deploying thousands of agents that monitor and report on nefarious activity. CISOs in any type of organization need to do the same thing. If you don’t have the budget of a national intelligence agency, in addition to staying up-to-date with the latest threats through research and media sources, you can also look for a cybercrime threat intelligence technological solution to provide the information you need.

In addition to using threat intelligence as a way to detect new threats, CISOs should leverage it to gain insights into the activities of their adversaries. Understanding how threat actors exploit vulnerabilities will provide an accurate picture of the organization’s cybercrime attack surface. Security teams can better defend their networks and systems by understanding their opponent’s tactics and techniques.

This new perspective on threat intelligence requires a different mindset. Security teams need to move away from simply trying to identify new threats and instead focus on understanding the tactics and techniques of their opponents—how do they think and where do they head next? Proact. Don’t react. That’s the only way to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

Cybercriminals and threat actors have evolved significantly in recent years. The methods used to gather intelligence, analyze it and use it within security organizations must adapt.

In the past, many security teams focused solely on detecting and responding to the newest threats. However, to keep up with ever-evolving cybercriminals, these teams must look beyond the latest threats and see how they are being exploited and the likely next victim. Only then can they understand their actual risk and cybercrime attack surface.

The article was published on on Nov, 9th, 2022

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