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Threat Intelligence Empowering SIEM

Organizations start to integrate threat intelligence systems with their security information and event management(SIEM) system in order to prioritize threat alerts by adding more efficiency to their security system.

SIEM collects log data using the user behaviour analysis and identifies suspicious activities on user behaviour analysis. The SIEM generates alerts if any suspicious activity(any threat intrusions or lateral movement made by the user) occurs in the user behaviour.

The major problem with SIEM is that it acts very sensitive and generates too many alerts and it results in lethargic response to the threats.

As a solution to this problem, Modern SIEM platform providers offer the platform with built-in threat intelligence that fine tunes the threat alert generating process.

Modern SIEM platforms have built-in threat intelligence capabilities that can enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of your cybersecurity defense. 

Key Features Present in the Modern SIEM:

SIEM – Security Information and Event Management System came into existence to fulfill the need to collect, store, and analyze information/data from multiple sources of organization’s network.

This system helps the SOC(Security Operation Center) to analyse and respond to the threat/malicious activities happening in the organization’s network.

Fundamentally, SIEM performs two functions:

  • Detecting security incidents in real-time(SEM)
  • Organizing and managing security logs in one place(SIM)

The above mentioned fundamental functions are originally called Security Event Management(SEM) and Security Information Management(SIM). The SEM and SIM have now evolved together as Security Information and Event Management(SIEM).

SIEM platforms are way better in monitoring your internal network than any other manual process can do. But detecting threat intrusions in your network just by merely monitoring is not as efficient as it seems.

  • User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) — The SIEM platform uses the behavioral analysis to detect the abnormal user behavior that may occur during an cyberattack. It correlates the data, matches the data with the threat database and identifies the threat along with the severity. The SIEM analyst receives alerts for every threat identified.  
  • Security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) — SIEM can identify the low-level threats and incidents by comparing it with existing threat intelligence data and automatically responds to the threat affecting the network. With this automation, SIEM analysts will have more time to focus on high-level threats/attacks.

We’ll take a closer look here at some characteristics of SIEMs and explore how the external context provided by threat intelligence is essential for getting the most out of them.

Traditional SIEM Platform

The main goal of SIEM is to gather log and event data from various sources within the organization’s network, including the network security layer components routers and switches, security devices like firewalls, web servers, application, etc…

All the data are correlated and analysed with the help of existing threat databases.

This helps the SOC team to discover the threats and respond immediately according to the threat and incident severity. They also strongly monitor vulnerability holes and also the user access points.

Why Integrate Threat Intelligence:

The main problem with SIEMs is that they are very complex due to overwhelming alerts. This confuses the security analyst and makes the decision making process complicated.

They are also expensive in cost and They are complicated enough to integrate with the rest of the security environment. An expert person is required to perfectly configure them with the organization’s network security.

The administrator or the team present in the organization must know what to do with the data that the SIEM chucks out or it will be a massacre to the network administrator.

Recent Statistics from Cisco study:

44% of the threat alerts received from SIEM are being ignored by the SOC team.

From the remaining 56% of threat alerts they look at, 28% are considered to be legitimate threats that can cause severe damage to the network.

46% of the threats are responded to and taken action.

Why only a few percent of threat alerts are being responded to?

The reasons are found to be overwhelming information, overwhelming alerts, Weak response strategy, lack of timely response, lack of expertise.

A single line of malicious code entering your network can totally bring down an organization. All the above reasons are major weaknesses towards the organization’s cybersecurity.

The perfect solution is by transforming the reactive approach into a proactive approach.

Moving to a Proactive Approach With Threat Intelligence

Merely monitoring the security incidents happening within the network will not stop you from being cyber-attacked. Being aware of the evolving new threats and finding ways to stop them from entering your network is what security analysts should perform. 

Modern SIEM platforms have the capability to respond to low-risk threats by mitigating them with sequential actions.

Integrating with threat intelligence gives you the potential to access the external sources of threat databases which can be used to configure your cybersecurity system. The threat intelligence helps you see the threat evolving outside your network along with the severity and take necessary measures to stop it from entering your network.

How proactive is the Threat Intelligence integration:

Threat intelligence is the knowledge that allows you to prevent or mitigate cyberattacks, helping you make informed decisions about your security by answering questions like:

Threat intelligence is the spy person that shares the information about the evolving threats and helps you to prevent being subjected to them. The threat intelligence can provide more detailed information like:

Who is attacking you?

Why are they doing it? What are their motivations? What are they looking for?

The tactics, techniques, and procedures they use.

What indicators of compromise in my systems should you look for?

What should you do to respond to the attack?

All this information can be extremely valuable when the threat intelligence is integrated with SIEM and can enhance your security measures even more when they are properly correlated with SIEM.

Without proper knowledge or expertise, some organizations integrate the intelligence data and end up being useless with their security system. This creates a negative perception that the data provided with the intelligence feed adds no value to the security system of the organization.

Such organizations don’t realize how much threat intelligence can enhance their cybersecurity plans and strategies.

How can any organization approach threat intelligence integration?

Given that simply enabling threat intelligence within a SIEM can lead to more issues, how does one go about adding the promised efficiency and prioritization? Often it’s down to understanding the overall security goals for the organization and where the SIEM fits to best achieve those goals. This means understanding the log sources, types of data, and where they exist within the organization.

Firstly, the vast majority of intelligence data is focused around external data types, such as IP addresses, domains, and URLs. If a SIEM is only ingesting logs with limited external data there will be very few matches. The organization needs to consider what data it is collecting, focusing on logs that originate from devices positioned with visibility into ingress and egress traffic.

From there, it is the intelligence data that needs careful consideration. Where does it come from, and does it meet the organization’s particular profile and situation? While it might be great to obtain any data, it really should be optimized to the organization’s functions, locations, and relevant threats. For example, is phishing a key threat for the organization? If so, consider the integration of data that focuses on this and the surrounding infrastructure.

Finally, the organization must consider the context around their threat intelligence. Data on its own is usually of extremely limited value, and it’s almost impossible for any SIEM analyst to understand what the real threat is without context. This means that any integrated data should be backed up with additional contexts such as confidence scores, severity information, and its history and associated threats.

Threat Intelligence when fused with SIEM can:

  • Validate correlation rules and improve baselining alerts by upping the priority of rules that also point at TI-reported “bad” sources
  • Detect owned boxes, bots, etc. that call home when on your network
  • Qualify entities related to an incident based on collected TI data (what’s the history of this IP?)
  • Historical matching of past, historical log data to current TI data
  • Review past TI history as key context for reviewed events, alerts, incidents, etc.
  • Enable automatic action due to better context available from high-quality TI feeds
  • Run TI effectiveness reports in a SIEM (how much TI leads to useful alerts and incidents?)
  • Validate web server logs source IP to profile visitors and reduce service to those appearing on bad lists (uncommon) and the beat goes on…


Organizations now are quickly adapting to threat intelligence integrations with their SIEM systems. Since threat intelligence adds more value and strength to the cybersecurity of an organization, every organization that contains potential data online and wants to secure them tight must adapt to threat intelligence.

Know more about SIEM and Threat-Intelligence Integration

Also download and read our whitepaper: Click Here

DIMA uses threat intelligence as the core and provides ultimate data security as well as protection from cyberattacks. DIMA proactively responds by stopping the threats striking your organization’s network at the entry level.

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