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Can Security Operations Centers (SOC) Benefit from Third-Party Threat Intelligence?

Businesses today have to deal with cybersecurity issues daily. Recent trends show an ever-increasing number of hacked networks and breached data. Studies also show that those victimized often have weak cybersecurity measures in place, forcing them to spend more on resources to combat oncoming attacks.

No matter how much money a company spends on security solutions, however, cybersecurity professionals would likely fight a losing battle if they rely mostly on manual processes. Here is why.

Efficient Third-Party Threat Intelligence for SOCs

Security operations centers (SOCs) deal with countless security alerts every day. In fact, each security analyst deals with an average of 20-25 incidents a day. Without proper context, it would be difficult for them to triage alerts. Working exclusively with internal data, for instance, could present minimal insights into emerging or enhanced threats.

Additionally, relying on manual processes leaves little to no time to do counterchecks on each alert that comes. An analyst would need to spend an average of 13 to 18 minutes to compare indicators of compromise (IoCs) to logs and threat intelligence. This process becomes longer when data formats don’t match.

As such, analysts can benefit from integrating well-parsed and well-structured third-party threat intelligence APIs into security solutions. Reliable threat intelligence data feeds can also improve SOC incident response by providing more information on attack sources. Some of these include:

  • Malicious URL data: This feed allows users to identify which of the URLs in their traffic logs are known hosts of malicious files. That said, they can include malicious URLs in their blacklists to prevent system and network infections.
  • Phishing data: This feed enumerates known phishing URLs. It allows users to block employee access to sites and pages that siphon off log-in credentials.
  • Command-and-control (C&C;) data: This feed lists all known domains that pertain to botnet control panels. It prevents systems in the users’ network from becoming part of known cybercriminal infrastructure often used in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Reputation data: This feed lets users know which domains or IP addresses have ill reputations and should, therefore, not be accessed.
  • DoS attack data: This feed identifies bot commands tied to DoS attacks.

Improving Incident Response for SOCs

Threat intelligence APIs and data feeds can be used to verify the nature of any URL, domain, or IP address in an organization’s traffic log. Integrating them into security solutions lessens the need to do manual checks to see if each URL in the log is malicious or not. All known malicious URLs obtained from such tools can automatically be added to a blacklist so that employees do not land on a malware-laden site or page or receive less phishing and other malicious e-mails.

Threat intelligence sources are also useful in proactive detection and prevention. Not all security solutions can address emerging threats. Some still require updates to deal with new types of malware, for instance. These solutions mostly rely on their own internal threat sources. However, because third-party threat data feeds gather information from various sources, they may have what some security solutions lack.

One solution that can benefit from additional threat intelligence is security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR). Using well-structured datasets reduces manual processing and filtering, allowing SOCs to prioritize the most significant threats.

It’s important to note, however, that obtaining useful threat intelligence means more than just adding APIs and feeds to cybersecurity solutions. To truly provide value, threat data must provide context to already-existing internal data. As such, internally and externally sourced information must be comparable and, therefore, correlatable.

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It’s my belief that SOCs can significantly benefit from employing third-party threat intelligence, particularly if they want to put context to their network information. Integrating threat intelligence APIs and data feeds into their solutions is one way to streamline manual verification processes that take up a considerable chunk of staff members’ valuable time.

By Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP), Enterprise-Grade Threat Intelligence APIs, Tools, and Services

Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) offers easy to use threat intelligence tools, services, and APIs to get detailed information about hosts and the infrastructure behind them. Gathering data from different providers, utilizing our substantial internal databases (compiled for 10+ years), and also real-time host configuration analysis, our threat intelligence solutions provide an in-depth look at target hosts and are an essential addition to any threat detection toolkit.

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