Role of Threat Intelligence and Risk Analysis in achieving Effective Vulnerability Management

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Vulnerability management is a top priority for most security organizations today – and for good reason. Of all the attack surfaces monitored and evaluated at most organizations, networks and associated vulnerabilities present some of the most lucrative opportunities for attackers. The spate of highly publicized Zero-Day vulnerabilities in the past couple of years has highlighted what industry professionals must have suspected for some time – that the nature of vulnerabilities being used to affect compromises is evolving, that attackers are re-focusing on vulnerability research, and that vendors are not moving nearly fast enough to plug the holes in their products (There is an excellent article by Tim Gallo called “The Vulnerability Rises” in the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Vol 20 from April 2015 that analyzes some of these trends).

However, there is a silver lining – the network and vulnerability monitoring space is well-evolved and mature, most of the products available do an excellent job of identifying and reporting vulnerabilities and the boundaries of what can/should be scanned are consistently being pushed to reflect the increasingly-fluid and ever-expanding borders of corporate infrastructure. With organizations frequently reporting millions of vulnerabilities on a daily or weekly basis, the data overload problem is very real and the challenge now is to identify and remediate those vulnerabilities that pose the biggest and most urgent threats to an organization, while maximizing returns on remediation efforts. To address this challenge, we must confront an ever-changing attack landscape — where new vulnerabilities are discovered daily, malwares and toolkits are developed at an alarming rate, and attackers frequently change their strategies.

Jayson Jean, Director of Vulnerability and Exploit Intelligence at Verisign and I will be discussing some of these challenges and talking about how threat intelligence and risk analysis can be incorporated into the vulnerability prioritization process to focus on the most imminent and detrimental threats in a joint webinar on March 15. We will also talk about the importance of streamlining and automating the post-prioritization processes of remediation and reporting and how this can greatly improve the efficiency of a vulnerability management program.

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