In the past, security professionals have had a problem sharing threat information with other enterprises. Like a modern-day Tower of Babel, there hasn’t been a good way that information about threats can be easily communicated.

Start With the Right Threat Information Sharing Platform

The first step in information sharing is selecting the right communication platform. For instance, organizations concerned about application security may want to consider the IBM Security App Exchange. This program allows users to talk to each other to gain a new perspective, and the featured apps and add-ons in the exchange can enhance security in specific threat situations.

But there is more here than just handy tips to be found out in the wild. A new IBM-developed app present in the App Exchange lets users of certain security solutions pull in any threat intelligence feed that uses the open-standard STIX and TAXII formats, which were developed in 2012. It can also use data to create custom rules for correlating, searching or reporting on issues.

For example, users could bring in public collections of dangerous IP addresses and create a rule to raise the magnitude of any offense that includes IP addresses from that watch list.

More About STIX

Structured Threat Information Expression (STIX) is a language for describing cyberthreat information in a standardized and structured manner. STIX characterizes an extensive set of cyberthreat information, including indicators of adversary activity (e.g., IP addresses and file hashes) as well as additional contextual information regarding threats such as adversary tactics, techniques and procedures, exploitation targets, campaigns and courses of action.

Together, this data more completely characterizes the cyber adversary’s motivations, capabilities and activities. Given this kind of information, a decision can be made on how to best defend against the threat. It is intended to support both more effective analysis and the continued exchange of cyberthreat information.

The initial development of STIX concentrated on indicators, but there were structured threat information sharing needs beyond this. STIX was then broadened to include related threat and mitigation information.

The Uses of STIX

STIX provides a common mechanism for addressing structured cyberthreat information across and among this full range of use cases. It is designed for improving consistency, efficiency, interoperability and overall situational awareness. It can be used for cyberthreat analyst reviews involving structured and unstructured information on cyberthreat activity from a variety of manual or automated input sources.

The language can specify measurable indicator patterns representing the observable characteristics of threats. It shows the threat context and relevant metadata needed for interpreting and handling the information.

STIX is helpful for investigating and responding to detected incidences of threat activity. Preventative courses of action may then be developed to mitigate vulnerabilities, weaknesses or misconfigurations targeted by exploits.

All in the Community

At its core, STIX is a community-driven effort to provide a threat representation that adheres to the guiding principles of maximizing expressivity, flexibility, extensibility, automatability and readability. STIX provides expressive coverage of the full spectrum of cyberthreat information: observables, indicators, incidents, exploit targets, courses of action, threat actors and campaigns, just to name a few. Anyone who is conversant in XML or Python will find STIX to be understandable and useful.

More from Threat Intelligence

Expert Insights on the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index

5 min read - Top insights are in from this year’s IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, but what do they mean? Three IBM Security X-Force experts share their thoughts on the implications of the most pressing cybersecurity threats, and offer guidance for what organizations can do to better protect themselves. Moving Left of Boom: Early Backdoor Detection Andy Piazza, Global Head of Threat Intelligence at IBM Security X-Force, sat down with Security Intelligence to chat with us about the rise in the deployment…

5 min read

Ex-Conti and FIN7 Actors Collaborate with New Backdoor

15 min read -   April 27, 2023 Update This article is being republished with modifications from the original that was published on April 14, 2023, to change the name of the family of malware from Domino to Minodo. This is being done to avoid any possible confusion with the HCL Domino brand. The family of malware that is described in this article is unrelated to, does not impact, nor uses HCL Domino or any of its components in any way. The malware is…

15 min read

Backdoor Deployment and Ransomware: Top Threats Identified in X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023

4 min read - Deployment of backdoors was the number one action on objective taken by threat actors last year, according to the 2023 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index — a comprehensive analysis of our research data collected throughout the year. Backdoor access is now among the hottest commodities on the dark web and can sell for thousands of dollars, compared to credit card data — which can go for as low as $10. On the dark web — a veritable eBay for…

4 min read

An IBM Hacker Breaks Down High-Profile Attacks

5 min read - On September 19, 2022, an 18-year-old cyberattacker known as "teapotuberhacker" (aka TeaPot) allegedly breached the Slack messages of game developer Rockstar Games. Using this access, they pilfered over 90 videos of the upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI game. They then posted those videos on the fan website Gamers got an unsanctioned sneak peek of game footage, characters, plot points and other critical details. It was a game developer's worst nightmare. In addition, the malicious actor claimed responsibility for a…

5 min read