As the world evolves and technologies become more advanced and prolific, the face of the battlefields are changing. No longer are wars fought in the physical sense, soldiers crouched in trenches or huddled behind machine guns. Instead, attacks on governments, businesses and even individuals are being launched in a virtual way. Malicious software, commonly known as malware has been around for decades and works to thwart IT security systems. Only recently however has it begun to be used by terrorist groups, opposing countries, and other international threats. Cyber attacks are becoming more and more common and governmental defence budgets are increasingly including funds for cyber threat intelligence branches, dedicated to identifying and patching vulnerabilities in their systems to protect state secrets. But how do they do this and what does this mean for us as individuals and business owners?
Cyber threat intelligence is a vague term which changes its meaning regularly. In a fluctuating, advancing and constantly evolving world such as IT security, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what this term means but fundamentally it refers to the data collected both on the open web and dark web involving certain keywords or identifying features of software. Of course, the innate vastness of the web makes it all but impossible to monitor traffic, conversations and identify all potential cyber attack threats. But governments and businesses are doing their hardest to protect themselves, citizens, and users from malware.
For most governments and organisations, investment in cyber threat intelligence allows them to develop their own defences against identified malware and strengthen their virtual position. This requires the work of highly trained and dutiful IT security experts, able to navigate their way through the deep, dark web, avoiding the dangers this mysterious and vast space contains and analysing the data collected. It’s an endless job but one which must be constantly undertaken as cyber attacks become both more prolific, malicious, and devastating.
Much like traditional combat fields, there are tactics and operational strategies which are developed to maximise the efficiency of cyber threat intelligence. Working in large teams, network and IT security defenders collect and classify all knowledge about a specific subject, whether searching for a code-word, traces of malware or other signs of a potential cyber attack. The more information collected and understood, the better chance of defence a government or organisation has. Therefore, cyber threat intelligence is now seeing vast funding increases as the realisation dawns upon the world that spilling blood is no longer the most effective way to cripple a nation. Wars are old-fashioned compared to what technology now allows the human race to do.
As individuals, businesses and governments, we must defend ourselves against cyber attacks and the virtual threat of malware. Our lives have become so embroiled in technology that a successful breach of one’s home computer can be personally devastating with banking information, emails, and social media accounts all attacked and manipulated at the hacker’s will. More worryingly, this happens on a larger scale too, with more wide-reaching consequences. Companies and even governments have suffered data breaches although much of it is covered up and not reported. What is evident, however, is the huge investment in cyber threat intelligence in an attempt to improve IT security and virtually defend our civil right to privacy and security. At home and in our places of business, it is vital you too invest in your own IT security system to avoid falling victim to one of these cyber attacks.