As businesses around the world become more global, the volume and complexity of attacks continue to grow. Protecting a company in today’s environment has become more difficult. For example, securing an organization with offices in London, Hong Kong and Santa Cruz represents a challenge of both scale and complexity for security analysts. In addition, the number of companies affected by data breaches, destructive malware and ransomware is growing at a rapid pace.

High-quality threat intelligence can offer immediate network protection, provide visibility to known threats and significantly reduce the time required for situational investigation or incident response.

Security analysts, whether performing incident response or general threat research, need automated tools with intelligent rules to help find, organize and filter the most relevant information for their primary task. Within the security operations center (SOC), analysts and incident response engineers use threat intelligence to quickly isolate the signal from the noise, identify real problems and their fixes, and prioritize remediation efforts.

Speed is imperative. More specifically, time to decision is everything.

Challenges Facing Security Analysts

In order to shorten their time to decision, security analysts need to quickly answer key questions, such as:

  • Do I understand the situation?
  • Is the threat real?
  • What is its potential impact on my organization?
  • How do I prioritize it against my backlog?
  • What evidence do I have to support my position?
  • What do I do next?

Threat intelligence can help answer those questions. It can provide context to the situation being investigated. Indicator-based threat intelligence can corroborate internal sightings, and vulnerability-based threat intelligence can help illuminate potential exposures and consequences for the organization.

However, a key problem for analysts, assuming they have quality threat intelligence, is relevance. How do you know if that threat intelligence is relevant to this situation?

How Relevance Scoring Can Help

Relevance scoring is a technique that correlates the properties of security analysts’ threat intelligence and those of their organization, such as the industry and region. By identifying indicators associated with one or more of the organization’s properties, analysts can place more weight on those specific to the organization compared to other indicators, especially when correlating against traffic they are investigating. Wouldn’t it be better if analysts’ automated tool sets understood and could use relevance scoring to provide more relevant insights automatically?

These techniques yield a relevance scoring system that is specific to the user’s organization, industry and region. Embedding relevance scoring in security tools provides professionals with the right data at the right time, contextualized to their situation. Organizations that share their sightings with other threat sharing organizations and threat intelligence vendors who accept direct or anonymized user sightings containing local properties can enrich their threat intelligence, benefiting the larger communities these organizations are a part of.

Quality threat intelligence combined with local relevance scoring can go directly to the bottom line in the form of faster incident investigation, determination, prioritization and remediation.

Learn how the X-Force Threat Score brings relevance scoring to IBM Security Threat Intelligence Insights

More from Intelligence & Analytics

The 13 Costliest Cyberattacks of 2022: Looking Back

2022 has shaped up to be a pricey year for victims of cyberattacks. Cyberattacks continue to target critical infrastructures such as health systems, small government agencies and educational institutions. Ransomware remains a popular attack method for large and small targets alike. While organizations may choose not to disclose the costs associated with a cyberattack, the loss of consumer trust will always be a risk after any significant attack. Let’s look at the 13 costliest cyberattacks of the past year and…

What Can We Learn From Recent Cyber History?

The Center for Strategic and International Studies compiled a list of significant cyber incidents dating back to 2003. Compiling attacks on government agencies, defense and high-tech companies or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars, this list reveals broader trends in cybersecurity for the past two decades. And, of course, there are the headline breaches and supply chain attacks to consider. Over recent years, what lessons can we learn from our recent history — and what projections…

When Logs Are Out, Enhanced Analytics Stay In

I was talking to an analyst firm the other day. They told me that a lot of organizations purchase a security information and event management (SIEM) solution and then “place it on the shelf.” “Why would they do that?” I asked. I spent the majority of my career in hardware — enterprise hardware, cloud hardware, and just recently made the jump to security software, hence my question. “Because SIEMs are hard to use. A SIEM purchase is just a checked…

4 Most Common Cyberattack Patterns from 2022

As 2022 comes to an end, cybersecurity teams globally are taking the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and draw whatever conclusions and insights they can about the threat landscape. It has been a challenging year for security teams. A major conflict in Europe, a persistently remote workforce and a series of large-scale cyberattacks have all but guaranteed that 2022 was far from uneventful. In this article, we’ll round up some of the most common cyberattack patterns we…