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In Security Last updated: August 14, 2023
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Learn the cyber threat intelligence and its lifecycle to prepare the cybersecurity team for future threats.

Digital computing increased productivity, efficiency, and communications in businesses. However, it has also invited cyber attacks. Businesses must defend data and online assets from hackers and cyber hijackers.

Thanks to cyber threat intelligence, your cyber protection team can analyze how, when, and in which direction a cyber threat may attack your business. And, accordingly, you can prepare your cyber defenses. Read on to know more.     

What Is Cyber Threat and Why Should you Care?

A cyber threat or cybersecurity threat is a malicious action from hackers. These bad actors want to damage data, steal business data, or disrupt digital systems in a business. Cyber threats usually include data breaches, computer viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, and phishing.

Businesses are not the only scope for cyber threats. You could also see it in your personal life if you become a target of a hacker group.

Hence, you should be concerned about cyber threats in your individual or business life to protect your offline and online assets. Also, a cyber attack on your systems will expose your security vulnerabilities. Thus, you may lose your reputation, and the customers will move to alternative brands. 

What Is Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)?

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Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) is proof-based data on cyber attacks that cybersecurity experts analyze and organize. Then, the CTI professionals issue feedback or advisory for the core cybersecurity team. The report generally includes the following:

  • The latest and most fearful mechanisms of cyber attack
  • Noticing an attack when it happens
  • How the prevalent cyber attacks can damage your business
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to tackle such cyber attacks

Today’s most common cyber attacks are zero-day exploits, phishing, malware, man-in-the-middle attacks, and DDoS or denial-of-service attacks. However, hackers research and develop new strategies and tools to attack a business or individual.

These bad actors are always snooping through your digital systems and tools to explore new vulnerabilities. Then using such exposed security loopholes, they will strike you and put ransomware in your systems. Or, worst, they could steal business data and then delete those from your servers.

CTI helps you stay updated about the new cyber threats to protect your personal or business data. CTI analysts collect huge amounts of data on cyber-attacks across the globe. Then they refine the data, sort it into categories, and finally analyze it to look for patterns.

A CTI report also outlines how the cybersecurity team should proceed to tackle the cyber threats successfully if the threat is unique.

CTI Tools

An indispensable part of CTI is advanced cybersecurity tools. Some of the popular CTI tools that you will see in this industry are the following: 

  • SIEM Tools: Security information and event management tool enables cybersecurity officers to monitor the network of cloud computing, intranet, internet, and servers silently. When they detect any anomaly, they can immediately trap the hacker.
  • Malware Disassemblers: Cybersecurity officials use such tools to reverse engineer malware. They find out how the malware works and create a defensive action against all the malware that works similarly.
  • Threat Intelligence Platforms: There are open-source CTI projects that collect data worldwide and compile them in a web portal. You can access such websites to collect information on the latest hacks and how to defeat such hacks.
  • Network Traffic Analysis Software: Such apps help collect network usage data. Then you can scrub through such massive data using big data and machine learning to find patterns in network snooping.
  • Deep and Dark Web Data Scrubbers: You can use these tools to collect data on what is regularly happening in the digital underworld, popularly known as the dark web.    

Now, let’s check out the importance of cyber threat intelligence.

Importance of Cyber Threat Intelligence


The primary importance of CTI is to create a situational awareness report on worldwide cyber-attacks. Also, the team needs to analyze the data and forecast any cyber attack mode that the hackers might use against your business.

Thus, you can prepare your digital security systems when a hacker attacks your IT infrastructure and business apps.

Other notable benefits are as below: 

  • A CTI team collects data on networks from internal and external sources and offers comprehensive cyber attack forecasts to businesses.
  • Analyze overwhelming data using big data and look for patterns to save the cybersecurity team from such delicate and time-consuming tasks.
  • Some CTI strategies aim to automate the cyber threat detection system to make the system more efficient against real-time hacking attempts.
  • Create a centralized pool of digital threat intelligence data and automatically distribute it across cybersecurity teams in the organization.
  • Create a knowledge base of cyber threats and their defense mechanisms so that cybersecurity teams can successfully repel incoming threats.

Let’s discuss who should care about cyber threat intelligence.

Who Should Value Cyber Threat Intelligence?

Any business that uses digital software and data for operations should value CTI. Thanks to highly advanced digital spying devices and algorithms, hackers can now hack your business machinery and systems on your intranet and be isolated from the internet.

Small to medium businesses should create a dedicated CTI team to stay ahead of the hackers because one cyber attack could seriously damage the organization. In some grave situations, SMBs may need to shut their doors if they face any ransomware threat.

Speaking of startups, they especially need to show interest in CTI because the business is in a nascent state of growth. Any cyber attack will damage investors’ trust in startup entrepreneurs and founders.

At professional levels, here are the job roles that can also benefit from CTI:

  • Security operations center (SOC) for one business or working as an agency
  • Information security technology analysts can learn novel cyber threats and develop defensive actions against the threats
  • Technology publishers and forums that want to attract a high-value audience to their web properties
  • Business stakeholders should value CTI to learn tactics to defeat internal and external data breach threats     

Let’s explore the various types of cyber threat intelligence.

Types of Cyber Threat Intelligence

#1. Tactical CTI

Tactical CTI is about getting the latest information on procedures, techniques, and tactics the hacker groups utilize to run a cyber attack against businesses. 

The CTI team enriches their sandboxed servers with the latest malware and analyzes their working principles. Their other tasks are to ingest behavioral, static, and atomic threat indicators in the cybersecurity tools. 

#2. Strategic CTI

The CTI team analyzes and understands the potential cyber attack threats and explains those in simple language to the non-technical business stakeholders. These reports could be in the form of presentations, whitepapers, cybersecurity performance reports, etc. 

It also involves understanding the motives behind recent cyber attacks against businesses. Then leverage those motives to create a cybersecurity strategy. 

#3. Operational CTI

CTI teams work 24*7 by shadowing hacker groups, dark web chat rooms, dark web forums, surface web forums on malware research, and more to collect comprehensive research data on cybersecurity. Operational CTI might involve big data, AI, and ML for efficient data mining. 

#4. Technical CTI

Technical CTI offers information on real-time cyber attacks on a business server or cloud infrastructure. They continuously monitor communications channels for phishing attacks, social engineering, and more. 

Lifecycle of Cyber Threat Intelligence

Source: Crowdstrike

CTI lifecycle is the process of converting raw information on cyber attacks and trends into polished intelligence that benefits the cybersecurity teams of organizations. Find below the CTI lifecycle: 

Requirements for CTI

The Requirement step creates the roadmap for any cyber threat intelligence project. In this phase, the team members gather to agree on the objectives, goals, and methodologies. Then the team discovers the following:

  • The hacker groups
  • cyber attack motivations
  • The surface of a cyber attack
  • Actions must be taken to fortify the cybersecurity teams 

Data Collection

Now, the CTI team must collect holistic data on cyber attacks, cyber threat trends, the latest tools that hackers use, and so on. 

A CTI team can hang around in social media groups, Telegram channels, Discord groups, Darkweb Discord groups, and so on. 

Other reliable sources for CTI are corporate conferences, open-source forums, technology websites, etc. Moreover, for internal data, CTI teams can monitor the intranet, internet, and business servers.  

Data Processing

Once you gather extensive data on cyber intelligence, you must establish the validity of external and third-party data. Then, input the data into a spreadsheet tool or use business intelligence apps to process the data into a suitable tabular format for further analysis. 

Data Analysis

Once you process the dataset, perform a thorough analysis to discover answers to the questions created in the Requirements step of CTI operation. 

Your main task is to create recommendations and action items, so business stakeholders and cybersecurity managers can make decisions. 

Circulating Findings

In this phase, the CTI team must create easy-to-understand reports in a language that business people understand. There should not be any technical jargon that will produce more confusion on the discussion table. Some CTI teams prefer to create a one-page report. 

Working on Feedback

The CTI team must also include any feedback from the business managers in their next planned CTI lifecycle. Sometimes business direction changes; accordingly, new metrics must be added to the report. 

Career Options in Cyber Threat Intelligence

You can become a cyber threat intelligence analyst (CTIA) by completing certification courses and examinations. Being a CTIA, you must show proficiency in the followings: 

  • Define cyber threat intelligence
  • Know the data sources
  • Understand Cyber Kill Chain methodology
  • Collecting CTI data and processing them
  • Analyzing and visualizing CTI data
  • Report CTI to the cybersecurity teams  

According to ZipRecruiter, you can earn an average salary of $85,353 as a CTIA. However, your salary could go up to $119,500 if you bring proven experience and demonstrated skills. 


Mastering Cyber Intelligence

You can become a proficient threat intelligence professional by studying Mastering Cyber Intelligence diligently.

It covers many updated and real-world concepts of cyber threat intelligence, and some notable topics that you will learn are as below: 

  • The life cycle of CTI
  • Requirements to form a CTI team
  • CTI frameworks, tradecrafts, and standards
  • Where to get threat CTI data
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in cyber threat intelligence 
  • CTI adversary analysis and modeling

If you know computer networking and the basics of cybersecurity, this book is perfect for learning the topics of CTI that enterprises use to protect business data from hackers. 

Cyber Threat Intelligence (The No-Nonsense Guide)

If you are a chief information security officer (CISO), security manager, or working as a cybersecurity analyst, you must study this book on cyber threat intelligence.

It is available in digital format for Kindle devices. Alternatively, you can order a paperback copy if you like physical books.  

Cyber Threat Intelligence (Advances in Information Security)

If you are looking for the latest cyber attack industry tricks, you must read the cyber threat intelligence book. You will explore various latest research trends and defensive actions against emerging cyber-attacks.

The book also covers topics related to cyber attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile applications, mobile devices, cloud computing, etc. That’s not all!

The book also explains how your team can develop an automated system to deal with incoming cyber attacks in niches like digital forensics, business server security, mainframe security, etc.      

Collaborative Cyber Threat Intelligence

Most cybersecurity learning resources focus on processes and concepts that can only help one organization. However, the cyber attack ecosystem is changing rapidly. Now, adversary countries are targeting opponents by hiring cyber terrorists. 

The main target is to cripple the national-level digital systems like oil pipelines, gas supplies, water supplies, electrical grids, banking systems, stock exchanges, postal service, etc.

To defeat threats, the nation must collaborate on cyber threat intelligence at public and private levels. The collaborative cyber threat intelligence book can help you learn such strategies.  

It helps practitioners to understand upcoming trends and decision-makers to prepare for future developments.

Final Words

Cyber threat intelligence gives your brand or business a competitive edge against hackers. You know what comes at you. Also, you got the tools to prevent a cyber attack.

So, now you know what threat intelligence is and its life cycle. You have also discovered some learning resources, use cases, etc., that you can apply in your business or cyber threat intelligence career.

Next, you can check out cyber attack simulation tools.

  • Tamal Das
    Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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