The sheer volume of threat data generated daily is staggering. From security alerts and incident reports to vulnerability feeds, open-source intelligence, and commercial threat feeds, organizations are inundated with a deluge of information. While having access to such vast quantities of threat data may seem advantageous, it actually creates significant challenges for security teams. The constant influx of alerts, logs, and notifications can overwhelm even the most skilled analysts, making it difficult to differentiate between genuine threats and noise. It is in this environment of information overload that the need for a shift from quantity-focused approaches to quality-centric strategies becomes apparent. Curation, the process of turning raw data into actionable and reliable threat intelligence data, plays a pivotal role in mitigating these risks and enhancing the overall effectiveness of cybersecurity solutions. A strong argument can be made that curated threat data is essential to any effective security solution.
Eliminating Redundant Data: Security solutions generate thousands of alerts on a daily basis. However, despite generating a high volume of alerts, it is essential to recognize that a significant number of these alerts often converge and consolidate into only a handful of genuine risks. Curation eliminates redundant threat data to significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio, enabling security teams to accelerate security outcomes and improve incident response capabilities.
Validating Active Threats: Security teams spend a significant amount of time and effort to analyze and investigate threats, only to discover that a small percentage — as few as 10% — are actually critical and require immediate attention. Despite the majority of threats being low priority, redundant, offline or inactive, the data still has to be processed, analyzed and investigated which wastes valuable time and resources. Ingesting curated threat intelligence with threat data that has already been validated and confirmed helps to curtail threat fatigue, reduce infrastructure and operating costs, and enables security teams to work more effectively.
Eliminating False Positives: False positives, or alerts generated by benign activities mistaken as malicious, can create unnecessary noise and false alerts, leading to increased alert fatigue, customer support costs, and customer dissatisfaction. A curated threat intelligence feed uses careful analysis and validation processes to filter out this noise, minimizing the occurrence of false positives. The result is a cleaner, more accurate feed that allows for comprehensive security protection and enables security teams to focus on true threats.
Reducing False Negatives: False negatives represent an even more dangerous scenario – real threats that go undetected. This can lead to gaps in an organization’s defense, making it vulnerable to cyberattacks. By incorporating multiple sources and leveraging expert analysis, curated threat intelligence feeds can minimize the chance of overlooking genuine threats. This increases detection rates and provides a more comprehensive view of the threat landscape.
Quality Over Quantity: Curation emphasizes the importance of quality over quantity. It is a vital process that involves de-duplicating threat data, verifying its accuracy, removing inactive threats, and performing numerous other checks to ensure the reliability of the provided threat data. Therefore, while a curated threat intelligence feed may offer a lower volume of data compared to a raw data feed, it presents highly relevant and precise information. Such accuracy ultimately fosters a more effective threat detection and response strategy.
Contextual Insights: A key part of curation is providing context to threat data. By understanding the who, what, why, and how of a threat, false positives and negatives can be reduced. Context allows for better differentiation between benign and malicious activities, improving the overall accuracy of the threat intelligence feed.
Efficient Resource Utilization: By reducing false positives and negatives, curated feeds allow security teams to focus their resources more effectively. This not only saves time and effort but also enables faster response times to real threats.
Continuous Improvement: The process of curation is not a one-time event. It is a continuous process that learns and improves over time. This ongoing refinement further enhances the accuracy of the threat intelligence feed, reducing false positives and negatives in the long run.
Through the reduction of false positives and negatives, the value of curated threat intelligence feeds is that they significantly enhance the reliability and effectiveness of cybersecurity strategies. With curated threat data, security teams can better concentrate their efforts on active threats, and fortify their cybersecurity posture with precision and foresight. However, the intricacy and expense of curating threat data should not be underestimated. It demands substantial resources, such as a global infrastructure to circumvent IP-based or geography-based filtering, automated browsers capable of emulating realistic interactions with web servers fortified with antibot detection techniques, and AI-based algorithms that can automatically detect and analyze threats amidst complex scenarios.
Whether curation is done intentionally, or happens organically through a fragmented approach as threat data gets processed and analyzed at various points along the way, curation occurs one way or another. It can be performed by the threat feed vendor on the front end, done internally by an organization using a variety of different security tools and platforms, or left up to customers and end users to validate active threats by learning they have been compromised.
Remember, when it comes to effective threat protection, the goal should not be to amass as much data as possible. The true essence lies in having the right data, accurately interpreted, and actionably presented — hence the need for curated threat intelligence data. Investing in curated threat intelligence feeds is not just a nice-to-have, but essential to robust and proactive threat protection.