Harnessing Threat Intelligence: The key to effective Use Case Design in a data-driven world

Harnessing Threat Intelligence: The key to effective Use Case Design in a data-driven world

Oct 26, 2023
Written by Bryan Schelstraete

In today's data-driven world, organizations must stay ahead of threats to protect their assets, users and sensitive information. An essential part of a company's security strategy is threat detection, a process that is made significantly more robust and reliable when driven by threat intelligence. This is where threat-driven use case design comes into play. When implemented properly, it can help organizations not only detect and respond to threats but also proactively defend their systems and data.


Understanding Threat-Driven Use Case Design

Threat-driven use case design is a proactive approach to cybersecurity that involves developing detection rules based on a thorough understanding of the current threat landscape. It begins with collecting and analyzing threat intelligence, often provided by external sources or generated in-house. This intelligence serves as the foundation for designing use cases aimed at detecting specific threats and vulnerabilities.

A key component of this process is the exploration of potential threats. Threat exploration involves identifying, analyzing, and assessing different threats that could target an organization. Putting yourself in the shoes of a potential attacker to evaluate how they might strategise to target your assets or users. Adopting an attacker's perspective deepens your understanding of potential vulnerabilities, enabling you to pinpoint weak points and tailor your defenses more effectively.

Attack vectors, or the specific methods threat actors use to exploit vulnerabilities, play a crucial role in understanding and addressing cybersecurity threats. These attack vectors are derived from the threats and are used as a base on which the use case is created upon to effectively detect an incoming attack.


Key Components of Threat-Driven Use Case Design

  • Collecting Comprehensive Threat Intelligence: To build effective use cases, organizations must gather relevant, up-to-date threat intelligence, including information on emerging threats and specific vulnerabilities.
  • Customizing Detection Rules: This customization ensures that resources are focused on what matters most and reduces false positives by covering (all) potential attack vectors. Read more on false positives in our previous TL;DR
  • Regular Testing and Validation: Continuously test and validate your use cases against real-world scenarios and historical attack data to stay relevant.
  • Incident Response Integration: Use cases should seamlessly lead to predefined incident response plans and and trigger automated responses via a SOAR tool. Specific playbooks for each use case play a pivotal role in freeing up first and second line analysts, enabling them to engage in more targeted investigations and responses.


Benefits of Threat-Driven Use Case Design

  • Proactive Defense: By staying on top of emerging threats and vulnerabilities, organizations can proactively defend their systems.
  • Reduction of False Positives: Tailored use cases enhance fidelity by reducing false positives, enabling security teams to concentrate their efforts on genuine threats.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Resources are focused on the most relevant threats to your organization.
  • Compliance and Reporting: Threat-driven use case design is essential for regulatory compliance as it ensures organizations proactively address evolving threats, aligning with regulatory requirements for data and system protection.


Data-Driven Design VS Threat-Based Design

Data-Driven Use Case Design relies on historical data and patterns for threat detection, while Threat-Based Use Case Design focuses on real-time threat intelligence to detect emerging threats. Data-Driven emphasizes recognizing established and potentially outdated attack patterns, while Threat-Based excels in staying on top of new threats, regardless of the data available to your organization.

In conclusion, a proactive approach to threat-driven use case design is essential. By exploring threats and harnessing threat intelligence we can create use cases that stay relevant to your organization and it allows you to create a more resilient and responsive security strategy. Ultimately protecting your assets, users and data from evolving threats.

To dive deeper into how a threat driven design works, read the paper written by Lockheed Martin and take a look at the Center of Threat-Informed Defense, developed by MITRE Engenuity.

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