September 23, 2015

NYTimes, WSJ Report on Growth in the Field of “Threat Intelligence”


In the article, “Intelligence Start-Up Goes Behind Enemy Lines to Get Ahead of Hackers,” Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times described the work of iSight Partners, a company that “provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops.”

She notes that employees at the Virginia-based firm “spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.”

Perlroth reports that the “threat intelligence” field is growing rapidly as companies are “paralyzed by the drumbeat of alarms that expensive security technologies are sounding on their networks.” She cites research firm Gartner, which estimates that the market for threat intelligence could grow to $1 billion in two years and predicts that by 2018, 60 percent of businesses will rely upon threat intelligence.

Another recent story, in the Wall Street Journal, also notes the expansion of the threat intelligence industry. In “Ex-Spies Join Cybersecurity Fight,” Orr Hirschauge details how Black Cube, an Israel-based intelligence firm that employs former Israeli spies, uses human intelligence, or “humint,” to ensnare hackers.

Hirschauge describes how the company recently asked one of its clients, a bank, to provide it with internal data “sensitive enough to look like the spoils of a real cyber theft, but not enough to affect operations.” Black Cube’s team then mimicked a cyberattack and “left a digital trail that made it look like it had broken into the bank’s networks and stolen the data,” which then enabled them to pose as hackers and “infiltrate a group of cyber thieves that had been circling the bank.” This tactic enabled the firm to learn about the breaches as they were being planned.

Photo Credit: Sean Ellis via Flickr

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