Boosting SOC Capacity: Tackling Real Threats, Ignoring False Shadows

24 July 2023 | by Xavier Bellekens

Welcome to the digital battlefield, a realm where tech warriors stand at the frontlines every single day, defending against a deluge of cyber threats. Once upon a time, these threats were the brainchild of specialized tech wizards, operating from shadowy corners of the world, their minds lost in the intricate complexities of code and strategy. Ah, simpler times!

Fast forward to now, and the landscape is vastly different. Cyber threats no longer require a degree in rocket science – with the advent of automation and increasingly user-friendly tools, even less tech-savvy individuals can pose significant challenges. While this democratization of tools, one problem emerged in particular, the false positive dilemma.

For security teams, it’s like trying to find a real criminal in a crowd where everyone is wearing a bandit’s mask. You’re surrounded by potential threats, but only a fraction of these are genuine. The rest? Merely shadows and illusions.

But in this high-stakes game of cyber cat and mouse, how can we shift our focus to the actual threats while gracefully sidestepping the distracting dance of false positives? That, dear reader, is the million-dollar question we’re about to dive into in this blog post. Get ready to explore the powerful trifecta of contextual threat intelligence, deception technology, and AI – a winning combination that could well be the secret to boosting your SOC capacity and metrics and sharpening your focus on what truly matters. Buckle up!

Understanding the False Positive Dilemma

Picture this: a smoke alarm that goes off every few minutes. Sure, it’s designed to alert you to potential fire hazards. But when it screams out warnings at the slightest hint of burnt toast or a smoky stove, you’d probably start ignoring it. And that’s the crux of the issue we’re dealing with in cybersecurity – the persistent and pervasive problem of false positives.

A false positive in cybersecurity is essentially an alarm that wrongly indicates a threat. It’s like crying wolf when there’s no wolf in sight. This phenomenon occurs when your cyber defenses identify normal or harmless activity as malicious, raising an alarm and causing unnecessary concern and action.

While false positives might seem like a minor inconvenience on the surface, they can create a considerable burden for Security Operations Centers (SOCs). According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, in 2020, over half of the alerts that SOCs investigated were false positives. That’s a staggering amount of wasted time, resources, and energy that could have been focused on genuine threats.

The impact of these false alarms on security teams is twofold. First, there’s a direct resource drain as each alert, false or not, requires investigation to determine its validity. This means time and energy are spent chasing shadows, causing a significant decrease in efficiency and an increase in operational costs.

Second, there’s the “boy who cried wolf” effect. An overabundance of false positives can lead to alert fatigue, causing security teams to potentially ignore or overlook genuine threats. It’s a dangerous predicament that can lead to serious security breaches if a real threat slips through unnoticed.

Not only do these false positives detract from proactive threat hunting, but they also contribute to a reactive security posture. A reactive posture is akin to constantly defending and patching holes rather than actively looking for potential threats and strategizing effective measures to counter them. According to Ponemon Institute’s research, a staggering 79% of respondents believe their organizations are more effective at achieving a strong cybersecurity posture when they’re proactive.

In essence, false positives create an environment of continuous firefighting, leaving security teams with little time or capacity for proactive threat intelligence and strategic planning.

The challenge is clear: we need a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, to focus on the real threats while letting the false shadows fade into the background. But how? The answer lies in the integration of contextual threat intelligence, deception technology, and AI.

Embracing Contextual Threat Intelligence

Have you ever found yourself lost in a sea of data, struggling to connect the dots and understand what all this information means for you? Welcome to the world of cyber threat intelligence, a space that can be overwhelmingly global and often not tailored to your unique situation.

Enter contextual threat intelligence – your personalized compass in this vast and often confusing landscape.

Contextual threat intelligence is the process of generating security insights that are specifically relevant to your environment. It transcends the limitations of global threat feeds by focusing on data that directly correlates to your organization, your systems, your vulnerabilities. It’s about transforming raw data into meaningful, actionable insights, with the end goal of fortifying your unique cyber defense strategy.

Global threat feeds undoubtedly provide a wealth of information. They alert you to the myriad threats in the cyber ecosystem, yet they often fail to prioritize these threats based on their relevance to your particular environment. Imagine trying to pick out your name in a crowded room where everyone is talking at once – that’s what relying solely on global threat feeds can feel like.

To navigate this issue, let’s turn to the power of contemporary cybersecurity: Real-world threat intelligence. This is where contextualization comes into play. Real-world threat intelligence helps you understand your adversaries and your vulnerabilities in context, allowing you to prioritize them adversaries and vulnerabilities on actual risk. It’s a dynamic, ever-updating process, keeping you one step ahead of potential threats.

In a nutshell, embracing contextual threat intelligence is about adopting a laser-focused, relevance-based approach to security. It’s about tuning out the chatter at the border of your network to listen to the threats that are singing your name, allowing you to distinguish between real threats and false positives effectively.

How Does Contextual Intelligence Help With False Positives?

You might be wondering: “That’s all well and good, but how does contextual intelligence specifically help me deal with the nagging issue of false positives?” Good question!

Imagine for a moment that your network is a fortress. You’ve got walls and guards, but you’ve also left a few doors open, baiting potential intruders to reveal themselves. By deploying sensors both inside and outside your network, you invite adversaries to interact with what appears to them as low-hanging fruits. It’s a game of deception, and you’re the mastermind, pulling the strings and observing the adversary’s moves.

This is where tools like Lupovis AI step in, turning the tide in your favour. Lupovis AI not only identifies the activity on these ‘open doors’ but also discerns whether the player on the other side is a human or an automated tool. It helps differentiate between a real attack (true positive) and an automated, less relevant activity (false positive).

Reducing false positives in this way significantly boosts your SOC capacity. It’s like having a personal assistant who filters out all the unnecessary noise, allowing you to focus on the essential tasks at hand. You’re no longer wasting valuable time, energy, and resources on phantom threats. Instead, you’re tuned into the real dangers, ready to respond effectively.

Moreover, the data collected in this process isn’t just useful for warding off attacks. It can also fuel other parts of your cybersecurity efforts, like threat hunting and vulnerability management. For instance, if a particular vulnerability is repeatedly targeted, that data can be used to increase its prioritization. This provides a more dynamic and responsive approach to vulnerability management, moving beyond the often rigid CVE and CVSS scores.

In essence, contextual intelligence isn’t just about staying one step ahead of the threats. It’s about strategically leveraging every interaction, every data point, to enhance your overall security posture. It’s about turning the tables on the adversaries, inviting them into your game, a game you control, and ultimately making them play by your rules.

Conclusion: Maximizing SOC Capacity by Embracing Contextual Intelligence

Cybersecurity has never been a walk in the park, but the exponential growth of threats, coupled with the overwhelming prevalence of false positives, has made it an increasingly daunting field. But there’s light at the end of this digital tunnel. By embracing contextual threat intelligence and deception technology, powered by smart solutions like Lupovis AI, we can turn the tables on the adversaries and regain control of the game.

The power of contextual intelligence lies in its precision and relevance. It provides a laser-focused approach that cuts through the noise of global threat feeds, allowing us to hone in on the threats that matter most to our unique environment. This approach not only reduces the burden of false positives but also empowers us to proactively identify and prioritize our vulnerabilities.

As we move forward in this age of digital warfare, it’s time to stop getting lost in a sea of false positives. It’s time to start harnessing the power of our data, to draw in our adversaries and make them play by our rules. It’s time to shift our focus from continuous firefighting to strategic planning and proactive threat hunting.

Through the integration of contextual threat intelligence, deception technology, and AI, we can reclaim our SOC capacity, effectively counter genuine threats, and ultimately build a more robust, resilient cybersecurity posture. The path to a safer digital future may be complex, but with the right tools and strategies, we can navigate it confidently, one step at a time.

24 July 2023 | by Xavier Bellekens

Speak to an Expert

Whether you have a specific security issue or are looking for more information on our Deception as a Service platform, simply request a call back with one of our security experts, at a time that suits you.