Know Your Enemy: Creating Threat Profiles

If you know your enemy and their tactics, you not only can prevent more attacks, but also be better prepared to respond.

Cybersecurity maturity is a journey for MSPs and their customers. While it’s a share-risk relationship, you’re the one leading the way. It’s your job to build an assume breach mentality and understand what you need to do.

When we think about risk, we treat risk with mitigations controls and safeguards, but a safeguard has differing levels of effectiveness. Strength of control needs to be much different depending on the risk. Understanding their behavior and emulating it. Are your controls operating effectively? Strength of control needs to map the capability of your threat actor.

Using threat profiles is one of the top ways to figure out how your enemies operate. 

Above all, know your enemies. Cybercriminals are successful because they do their homework; in other words, they are prepared. They must be, in order to outsmart their adversaries and exploit vulnerabilities. They know what they are looking for and who has it. They also understand how to overcome hurdles and typically know more than their victims. If cybercriminals are doing their research to come out on top, why aren’t you?

Many MSPs tend to rely solely on their vendors to protect them and their customers. While there are tools you can use to better protect your clients’ IT infrastructures, you can’t rely entirely on technology to help you with understanding your enemies. You must be able to dig deeper to find out who your enemies are.

What are they doing? Who are they? Are they financially motivated?  Start at the end of the maze if you want to know how to defend against your enemies.  Then put processes in place to protect yourself. Understanding your enemies is informs you of how to put a defensive strategy in place.

Building threat profiles. Have you ever seen or built a threat profile? If I had to take a guess, probably not. Threat profiles are used by cybersecurity professionals to keep track of their enemies. Many MSPs don’t use them, but they should.

A threat profile outlines the very finite things that threat attackers do, threat vectors they use, where they’re from, etc. If you spent your day looking at the tactics, you wouldn’t necessarily know what to do in order to protect against threat actors, so threat profiles provide you with a quick overview of who they are.

It only takes about 30 minutes to develop a threat profile.

You have more than one enemy, but there are similarities among many of them. There is no need to double your efforts. Each threat actor is different, but if you compare a group of them, you’ll find similarities. For example, several actors may use to same threat vector to attack their victims. That information may help you with creating a defense strategy for your clients.

Building threat profiles are necessary to protect yourself and your clients from malicious actors. Using tools isn’t enough to prevent cyberattacks. You must get to know your enemy before creating a solid defense.

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TOPICS: cybersecuritycybersecurity risk managementincident response plan
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