Threat Intelligence
11/3/2016
01:25 PM
Connect Directly
Facebook
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Surveys: Security Pros Overwhelmed, Not Communicating, Threat Intel Data

Two new studies underscore the challenges of making threat intelligence part of the enterprise arsenal.

Two new surveys released in the last week revealed troubling but telling trends in enterprise security: 70 percent of infosec professionals are overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of threat intelligence data, according to a report from security vendor Anomali and the Ponemon Institute; a separate survey from consultancy BDO USA found that only 27% of respondents share security information externally, with an almost equal number (24%) saying they don't share information at all.

The Anomali survey also identified information sharing challenges. Barely one-third (31%) of organizations share threat intel with board and C-level leaders.

The two surveys' datasets feed off each other. The more overwhelmed that security pros are by data volumes, the less likely they are to share what they're seeing; the less they share, the more data that floods their desktops and management consoles.

Unraveling this knot is widely viewed as critical to helping enterprises and government get ahead of the constant stream of threats they face. That means improving the way threat intel is used and managed on a day-to-day basis, whether through devoting personnel to the tasks or automating more of the functions. It also means opening up the channels of communication around threat intel, both internally and externally, according to the surveys. 

Anomali further uncovered that 56% don't use standardized communication protocols; more alarming, 43% said the data isn’t used to drive decisions within the security operations center. And just to pound the nail in, 49% reported their IT security team doesn’t receive or read threat intelligence reports.

The Anomali survey also pointed up a pitfall with threat intelligence. Many organizations think they can set up intelligence feeds and essentially ignore them until trouble starts. But threat intelligence requires someone devoted to monitoring feeds, and more importantly, analyzing and watching for patterns, according to Travis Farral, director of security strategy at Anomali. Correlating disparate data, applying analytics, and reporting out the insights will keep at least one infosec pro busy, added Farral, who handled threat intelligence for ExxonMobil prior to joining Anomali a month ago.

There's also a security evolution as institutions go from broad-based protection to detection, understanding breaches, and handling remediation, said Michael Stiglianese, managing director in BDO Consulting’s technology advisory services practice. "The next step is how to bring in threat intelligence," he told Dark Reading. Analytics tools can help organizations sift through all that raw data and find what's relative and useful to the organization, he added.

BDO also reported that 74 percent of respondents said their board is more involved with security than they were a year ago. While that's an uptick from the previous year, Stiglianese said there would be more alarm and calls for action if similar results emerged about boards' attention to other essentials like credit-worthiness, for example. "We're moving in the right direction. But when you consider how important security is to organizations, it's disappointing," he said.

Other key points from the BDO survey:

--Among the respondents who do share security information, 88% are sharing with federal agencies, followed by 28% with Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs). Only 19% share with competitors.

 --88% of directors get briefed on security at least once a year, including 34% that are briefed quarterly and 37% that are briefed annually; 9% are briefed twice a year and 8% more often than quarterly (8%).  Some 12% get no security briefings at all.

--Almost half (45%) of directors have documented their business’s critical digital assets along with solutions to protect them, up from 34% in 2015 had completed this task. Another 25% have identified critical digital assets but still lack a protection strategy.

--43% have initiated cyber-risk requirements that their third-party vendors must meet, up from 35% last year.

Related Content:

 

Terry Sweeney is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered technology, networking, and security for more than 20 years. He was part of the team that started Dark Reading and has been a contributor to The Washington Post, Crain's New York Business, Red Herring, ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
T Sweeney
100%
0%
T Sweeney,
User Rank: Moderator
11/7/2016 | 2:11:11 PM
Re: Overwhelmed
Thanks for weighing in, Kiarko. We hear some version of your story regularly among the businesses and government organizations we talk to about infosec. I imagine there's only so much comfort in the fact you're not alone.

If there were a better way, what would that be? Hire more people? Automate the monitoring and prioritization? Go to the cloud? Something else?
Kiarko
50%
50%
Kiarko,
User Rank: Strategist
11/7/2016 | 1:49:53 PM
Overwhelmed
I couldnt agree more. my organization recently signed up for the FS-ISAC alerts, i get about 70 emails a day total from them and it is just too much to go through. I scroll through them looking at the threat type. It is too much to go through and to still do my other tasks.
Printers: The Weak Link in Enterprise Security
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  10/16/2017
20 Questions to Ask Yourself before Giving a Security Conference Talk
Joshua Goldfarb, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, IDDRA,  10/16/2017
Why Security Leaders Can't Afford to Be Just 'Left-Brained'
Bill Bradley, SVP, Cyber Engineering and Technical Services, CenturyLink,  10/17/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Problem
[Strategic Security Report] How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Problem
Enterprises are spending more of their IT budgets on cybersecurity technology. How do your organization's security plans and strategies compare to what others are doing? Here's an in-depth look.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.