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Unveiling Hidden Intel: Why Leveraging Phishing Emails for Intelligence is Essential

The evolution of threats is constant in today’s digital landscape. Organizations need to harness the data they have to garner insights to better combat emerging threats and risks. To accomplish this, there’s a powerful asset hiding in plain sight: phishing emails. In this blog post, we’ll uncover the importance of leveraging phishing emails for intelligence and how it can give your security posture a distinct edge. 

Intelligence Enabled: Understanding the Threat 

To effectively counter cyber threats, it’s crucial to think like an attacker. Phishing emails are one of the most popular and effective methods that Threat Actors leverage to deliver their attacks. According to a Cofense report, 2022 saw a 569% increase in malicious phishing emails with credential phishing as the top attack vector with a 478% increase compared to 2021. By leveraging phishing emails for intelligence, businesses can unmask these malicious attempts. Through careful analysis, you can uncover the patterns that Threat Actors leverage, gain an understanding of their intent, identify targeted employees, and build new detections and policy rules to detect and counter new threats. By understanding the actors and how to counter them, you bolster your organization’s resilience against emerging threats. 

Reinforced Protection: Optimizing Detections and Controls  

Phishing emails provide an invaluable source of real-time threat intelligence. By carefully responding to and analyzing phishing campaigns, businesses can detect emerging trends and identify potential targets. This enables swift action to be taken, such as blocking malicious attachments and URLs, educating employees about new phishing techniques, or building new detections on the weaponization, installation, and command and control (C2) gained from the analysis. By fully exploiting intelligence gained from analysis, you can transform a potential security risk into an opportunity to reinforce your defenses and protect your sensitive information. 

Unleashing the Power of the Attackers’ Mindset  

As cyber threats continue to evolve in sophistication, businesses face significant challenges in detecting and mitigating potential risks. Threat actors employ deceptive tactics to manipulate employees, gain illicit entry, and exploit sensitive data. Merely relying on traditional email firewalls and out-of-the-box phishing tools leaves gaps for enterprises looking to address the security risks they face today. That’s why we have designed and implemented a comprehensive Phishing Response service that is built on unleashing the power of attacker’s mindset by conducting thorough investigation and analysis of phishing attacks to develop robust security controls beyond email filtering and monitoring that bolster your overall security posture.  

How Phishing Response Works:  

Investigation & Analysis  

Our dedicated phishing analysts investigate submitted phishing emails from your users or email protection platforms. Throughout the course of the investigation our analysts identify the tactics, techniques, and procedures leveraged in the attempted attack while documenting their investigative process and findings.  

Intelligence Correlation 

The intelligence gathered by the investigation is actioned by our analysts through a hunting exercise in your environment. The analysts take the indicators of compromise identified through the analysis of the phishing email, as well as any additional indicators identified through intelligence correlation, and hunt through your environment to detect other potentially successful attacks.  

Tactical and Strategic Actions 

When the investigation and intelligence correlation is complete, our analysts provide both tactical and strategic recommendations designed to help you reduce risk and improve your email security controls. You can expect new or tuned detections, mitigation suggestions, and remediation guidance.  

Reporting and Analysis  

Reports are customized to meet your needs, providing insights into the most targeted users in your organization, the types of attacks you’re being targeted by, where attacks align on the Cyber Kill Chain and MITRE ATT&CK® frameworks, and trends over time. Our team of experts analyzes the data to identify trends and patterns and provides actionable recommendations to help you improve your email security.  

Final Thoughts 

Phishing emails have long been considered a menace to organizations. However, by shifting our perspective, we can uncover their hidden potential. Leveraging phishing emails for intelligence not only strengthens your cybersecurity measures but also empowers your security team with valuable insights. So, why wait? Embrace these powerful insights to think like an attacker and unlock the untapped potential of phishing emails. Stay ahead, stay secure, and strengthen your security posture with the Binary Defense Phishing Response service.  

Sources: 

Cofense