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Cyber Threat Analysis: A Call for Clarity
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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
5/23/2015 | 11:08:10 PM
Respectful Disagreement
I disagree, respectfully.

I'm not convinced we're particularly overhyping cyber threats; I think we were *under*-hyping them for a really long time (although there have been points where they were overhyped, especially in the late '90s, when people believed that any teenager with a modem was a dangerous criminal who could do ANYTHING).  What's more, I think both private sector and public sector attitudes alike to cyber security until recently demonstrate, in their lackadaisical nature, just how under-hyped cyber threats have been.

As for calling these data breaches "attacks"...  An attack, strictly speaking, is merely an aggressive action against an entity.  I see no problem with calling things what they actually are.
andregironda
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andregironda,
User Rank: Strategist
5/22/2015 | 3:38:09 PM
Cyber COMs
Agree that we need to drive the conversation further and create tools and techniques that dig deeper. This should include technical attribution (e.g., those annoying and cheap DFIR and NSM IOCs) for current-running, active campaigns but also must include warning intelligence indicators (i.e., I&W).

We lack strategic thinkers and we fear strategic planning. The nature of cyber risk is understood by such a select few, it makes it difficult to open the conversation to both the global audience at the state level as well as at the Global 2k level. Someone just needs to drive a social science as complete as economics for information risk. We need to go way beyond what FAIR delivers to small markets today -- it needs to become heavily academic.

The cyber crime common operating picture can likely be explained using modern criminal studies theories. However, there are other moving pieces: as you mention, cyber espionage -- but I would add areas of cyber warfare and/or cyber terrorism which could include cyber sabotage and kinetic cyber.

I spoke recently on cyber common operating models, and I plan to iterate on my approach in order to make it more accessible. The model includes these four COPs: crime, espionage, sabotage, and kinetic cyber. There are other factors or variables to include and solve, but this is a purposeful simplification.

Nothing prevents TAXII (sub STIX, sub MAEC, etc) from communicating I&W indicators along with IOCs. The systems we are implementing today support the technology needs and can likely scale them. We are missing the analysts who can start writing and sharing I&W indicators. We are missing the process (N.B., it's close to standard tradecraft, though) and the governance.

The NIST CSF mentions predictive indicators. I could argue about word choice there, but we don't see a clear direction or implementation either way. I have yet to scope the problem using modern tools, but would likely start with SA-Splice for Splunk or STIXtego. I don't know enough Palantir to make something like this grow wings. Some of the research from RecordedFuture, SiloBreaker, Kapow, RiskIQ, and Packet Ninjas is moving in this direction, but it's very early stage in the game.
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