To be as effective as possible, fraud detection and prevention strategies should be supported with cyber threat intelligence. This guide breaks down cyber threat intelligence, shows how it works, and explains why it needs to be part of your financial institution’s fraud fighting measures.
What Is Cyber Threat Intelligence?
Cyber threat intelligence is evidence-based, contextualized information about your adversary’s motives, intents, capabilities, environments, and operations, and it helps you make well informed, effective decisions about threats to your financial institution.
What Is the Difference Between Information and Intelligence?
Information simply refers to data. It lacks context and is typically not useful on its own. For instance, the IP address of someone trying to sign into a bank account is a piece of information. Without any context, the IP address doesn’t tell you anything about the user or the risk of fraud.
Intelligence, in contrast, is data with analysis and context. To continue with the above example, say the IP address is the account holder’s usual IP address or imagine that the IP address has been used for fraud in the past. In both of these situations, the context helps you make a decision.
In the first situation, you know the account access request is likely to be legitimate, and in the second scenario, you have the information you need to flag the account for possible fraud.
To develop context, cyber intelligence analysts learn about the past, present, and future tactics, techniques, and products (TTP) used by thieves. They look at the techniques used in various types of fraud and by different cyber terrorists to develop insight on the signs of dangerous behavior.
How Does Cyber Threat Intelligence Work?
To collect cyber intelligence, analysts constantly monitor data sources for relevant TTPs and other details. Then, they organize and analyze the data to create actionable intelligence that can guide financial institutions in their fraud detection and prevention efforts.
Some of the data collected by cyber intelligence analysts includes compromised credit and debit card numbers, stolen sign-in details from account holders and employees, information on network and web vulnerabilities, the existence of malware customized for certain attacks, and the development of rogue applications for social engineering attacks.
Where Do Cyber Intelligence Analysts Collect Data?
Cyber threat intelligence analysts monitor private and public sites to learn what criminals are doing. Just as an FBI agent may send someone to physically infiltrate a criminal gang, cyber intelligence analysts “hang out” in the digital underground, getting to know criminal tactics.
The digital underground consists of many online sites, marketplaces, and forums where criminals share information and tactics. This includes the darknet, the deep web, hacker forums, social media sites, and text sharing sites such as Pastebin and Pastie.
For instance, if a cyber intelligence analyst sees that someone is selling your customer’s Social Security Numbers, your employees’ log-in credentials, or countless other details online, they can warn you, and you can take action before the fraud occurs. At the same time, these analysts also learn about the newest tactics and techniques used by criminals, and this information is leveraged to improve your position against fighting fraud.
What Are the Steps in Cyber Intelligence?
Cyber intelligence can be broken down into five major steps:
- Planning — Outlining the goals that you want to meet with your cyber intelligence. For instance, if your goal is to reduce check fraud, you will collect data that reduces that risk.
- Collections and processing — Developing your data acquisition strategy and implementing processes and automated collection tools.
- Analysis — Evaluating the data you have collected.
- Production — Ensuring the data the cyber analysts are collecting meets your goals and addresses the threats to your organization.
- Dissemination and feedback — Using the data to make actionable decisions and providing feedback on its usefulness.
Cyber intelligence is not a static process. It needs to be constantly refined to be effective, and once these five steps have been completed, the process starts over again based on the usefulness of the data and the feedback of the organization using the data in its fight against crime and bank fraud.
What Are the Types of Cyber Threat Intelligence?
There are three types of cyber threat intelligence:
- Strategic cyber threat intelligence looks at future and emerging threats to guide long-term decisions.
- Operational cyber threat intelligence analyzes the historic capabilities and motivations of fraud artists and helps you decide how to allocate resources against real and perceived threats.
- Tactical cyber threat intelligence looks at interactions between an active attack and an imminent threat and helps you determine which tactics to use right now.
What Are the Benefits of Cyber Threat Intelligence?
Cyber threat intelligence helps with early detection — in many cases, cyber intelligence spots attacks before they occur and helps financial institutions engage in proactive responses. If an attack occurs, cyber threat intelligence provides a rapid breach response, which is critical for minimizing the damage and recovering compromised data as quickly as possible.
Cyber threat intelligence helps you more easily discover what info has been compromised, the source and scope of the breach, the attack instigator, and the steps you can take to minimize the damage.
Finally, cyber threat intelligence can keep all the stakeholders in your financial institution apprised of the risks. When decision makers understand the potential threats and repercussions of bank fraud, they become more willing to invest in solutions.
At SQN Banking Systems, we provide anti-fraud solutions backed by cyber threat intelligence. We have partnered with Q6 Intelligence to provide proactive, intelligence-based cybersecurity that detects and reacts to cyber threats quickly, accurately, and effectively.
Ready to learn more about how our services and solutions can help your financial institution? Then, contact us today.