Finished Intelligence: A Cornerstone for Effective Decision-Making
By Matthew Howell
Producing timely, relevant, and actionable intelligence at scale is integral to the success of an intelligence program, but it simply isn’t feasible for many organizations due to the extensive resources, bandwidth, and subject-matter expertise it requires. That’s why finished intelligence is a core component of Flashpoint’s Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) offerings.
Unlike automated threat feeds or keyword alerts, finished intelligence is actionable reporting primed for stakeholder decision-making. And at Flashpoint, our finished intelligence is the product of our analysts’ specialized subject-matter expertise and our comprehensive collection strategy that spans illicit communities across the deep and dark web (DDW), encrypted chat services, and open-web sources. Based on their latest observations from within these communities—and in alignment with our customers’ intelligence requirements—our analysts publish dozens of finished intelligence reports each week, directly within the Flashpoint Intelligence Platform.
Report topics and categories generally include, but are not limited to, the following:
Tactics, Techniques, and Procedure (TTP) Insights
Since threat actors operate around the world and in a number of languages, producing comprehensive intelligence requires a team of specialized analysts who understand the native language and underground slang of adversaries in key regions in order to identify significant developments. Moreover, since many threat-actor communities are fraught with spam, false claims, and other noise, analysts must have a discerning eye and nuanced understanding of these communities’ inner workings and cultural dynamics in order to assess which information is credible, timely, and relevant.
Flashpoint’s analyst team has the specialized expertise needed to elicit these insights. By leveraging our collections across the underground communities where adversaries exchange advice, tutorials, compromised datasets, malicious tools, and other resources, our analysts provide customers with unique insights into evolving cybercrime TTPs. They help describe trends such as shifting attack methods and marketplace pricing trends in order to help teams anticipate and defend against evolving threats.
Indicators of compromise (IOCs) are still an essential tool to combat evolving malware threats, but on their own, they present an incomplete picture. That’s why Flashpoint analysts supplement IOCs (provided in CSV, MISP JSON formats via the Flashpoint API) with insight into the behavior of emerging malware, along with an assessment of the risk it presents and recommended mitigations for defenders.
In addition to publishing in-depth analyses of high-profile malware strains, Flashpoint also summarizes the week’s most-discussed families of malware—indicating which threat actors are selling them on which marketplaces and any recent updates to their functionality, features, or pricing—in a weekly report shared with customers.
Trending Vulnerabilities Reports
When it comes to risk-based vulnerability prioritization, one of the most important factors to consider is the extent to which threat actors are discussing a vulnerability. In addition to delivering nearly real-time visibility into these discussions through Flashpoint’s CVE Dashboard, we also provide customers with monthly Trending Vulnerabilities Reports that detail the most-discussed vulnerabilities of the past month, along with commentary on related threat-actor activities and an assessment of the potential impact of these vulnerabilities.
Whether you’re dealing with high-profile cybercriminals, state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) actors, or ideologically motivated extremist groups, understanding the adversary is critical. Our Threat-Actor Profile reports share analyst insight on prominent actors’ history, preferred tactics, targeting methods, underground presence, and known ties to other adversaries.
Volatile relations involving nation states and extremist groups can have profound implications for governments and private-sector businesses alike. Flashpoint analysts leverage their geopolitical expertise, linguistic capabilities, and visibility into the underground operations of politically motivated cyber and physical threat actors to deliver ongoing reporting on developments of interest to our customers.
Finished intelligence comprises the core of Flashpoint’s business risk intelligence reporting. But these reports take time to curate and produce, and in the minutes and hours following an alleged breach, physical security incident, or other significant event, defenders need answers right away. That’s why Flashpoint supplements its finished intelligence reporting with timely flash assessments, which provide customers with relevant details as soon as they’re available, along with analyst commentary. As more information about a threat is discovered, Flashpoint analysts (and customers) share updates through Flashpoint’s FPCollab information-sharing community.
Open-source news sites are a valuable resource for keeping up with which threats are making headlines, but digging around for articles relevant to your organization can be a time-consuming distraction. That’s why Flashpoint provides customers with Daily Standup briefings that provide concise summaries of the latest headlines, supplemented by insightful analyst commentary and links to dig further into a story.
As an integral component of our BRI offerings, Flashpoint’s finished intelligence library works in tandem with our other offerings—including our community and marketplace datasets, Flashpoint Professional Services, API, curated analyst alerts, and our request for information (RFI) service—to provide defenders with the nuanced knowledge they need to make smart decisions.
To learn how Business Risk Intelligence can help your team address its own unique needs and challenges, contact us here.
Senior Director of Product
Matthew Howell is the Senior Director of Product for Flashpoint, where he brings a passion for new ideas, outcome-based prioritization, continuous process improvement, and metrics-driven development. Matthew has experience launching commercial products, building integration ecosystems, supporting five 9s SLAs, and leading distributed teams.