The Power of Threat Intelligence Platforms for Faster Threat Investigations Checklist

In cybersecurity, information is what ultimately makes it possible to respond to threats effectively and proactively. One of the most efficient ways to collect it is by using threat intelligence platforms. By providing threat context and enrichment, they enable analysts to make informed decisions with confidence, allowing them to shift from reactive defense to proactive threat hunting.

What are Threat Intelligence Platforms?

A threat intelligence platform (TIP) is a searchable hub of threat intelligence offering real-time updates on new and existing malware, vulnerabilities, and attacker tactics, obtained through security researchers and industry collaborations. This information comes from various sources, including threat intelligence feeds, open-source intelligence (OSINT), sandboxes, etc.

The information available on TIPs encompasses network indicators (IP addresses, domain names, URLs) and malware data (file hashes and names, domains, tactics, techniques, and procedures). 

For threat intelligence platforms (TIPs) that leverage malware analysis sandboxes data, the searchable elements extend beyond basic indicators of compromise (IOCs) to include detailed system information such as command lines, registry activity, and running processes.

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To demonstrate how a TIP can be used, imagine you receive an alert about an unusual URL. With a TIP, you can quickly run a search query to retrieve threat information associated with this URL, such as its threat level, the malware associated with it and even its samples. This comprehensive view lets you take informed actions like further investigation, escalation, or blocking the threat.

Value of Threat Intelligence Platforms

1. Contextualizing Security Alerts for Informed Prioritization

Threat Intelligence Platforms (TIPs) enhance raw security alerts by providing contextual data. TIPs empower analysts to prioritize and focus their efforts on the most critical issues by enriching alerts with malicious signatures and artifacts associated with threats. They can assess a threat’s severity and potential impact based on its malicious activities and thus optimize their investigation time and resources.

2. Enabling Proactive Threat Hunting for Early Detection and Mitigation

Shifting from reactive to proactive security is crucial in the face of evolving cyber threats. TIPs empower analysts to move beyond just reacting to alerts by providing tools for proactive threat hunting. 

For instance, TIPs’ advanced search capabilities allow analysts to query diverse data sources using specific indicators, patterns, and behaviors to identify potential threats.

TIPs also contain fresh information about emerging threats, attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and vulnerabilities, allowing analysts to stay ahead of potential attacks and anticipate them.

3. Gaining Broader Threat Landscape Visibility for Informed Security Decisions

To make informed security decisions, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the evolving threat landscape. TIPs function as a central hub, aggregating data from various sources. This gives analysts a holistic view of the threat landscape, allowing them to identify connections and patterns between seemingly disparate events. 

Advanced Search with Threat Intelligence Lookup

Let’s now see how TIPs operate and can be used in real-world scenarios. Threat Intelligence Lookup (TI Lookup) is a TIP that runs on the information extracted from ANY.RUN sandbox’s extensive database of millions of interactive malware analysis sessions (tasks). As a result, it lets you go beyond basic keyword searches and craft sophisticated queries using over 30 fields, including registry paths and Suricata rules. Here are some of these:

1. Wildcards and Combined Requests

The MITRE ATT&CK framework provides a standardized language for describing attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). TI Lookup leverages the power of MITRE ATT&CK by enabling you to search for specific techniques or combinations of techniques within your threat intelligence data.

Let’s submit the following request: MITRE:”^T108″ AND ThreatName:”remcos”.

TI Lookup returns one hundred relevant samples 

The platform provides a hundred different samples of Remcos, as well as related events where MITRE techniques starting with “T108” were used.

One of the tasks provided by the platform

We can explore each of these samples in detail by going over to the ANY.RUN sandbox to view the network and registry activity, study the processes launched during the malware execution, as well as to collect valuable IOCs and comprehensive threat reports. 

Try Threat Intelligence Lookup from the ANY.RUN sandbox. Get the first 50 requests for free.

2. Searching for Specific Registry Keys

TI Lookup allows you to search for specific registry keys, even those containing backslashes. However, it’s important to escape the backslash character by doubling it within your query.

Example: RegistryKey:”HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Run”

TI Lookup returns 467 events that can be explored further

This request searches for any instances of programs or processes configured to run automatically at startup. The platform finds over 400 different events that meet the search criteria.

3. Exploring File Hashes

TI Lookup offers comprehensive search capabilities using various file hashes, including SHA256, SHA1, and MD5. This allows you to quickly identify potential threats based on known malicious file signatures.

Example: SHA-256:”7c2cf95543435f55cf814477874ba460fc6efc39438c15fb5bf49ffeb4142c2e”

The platform presents the file and a link to the task

This query searches for all instances where the file with the specific SHA256 hash has been analyzed within the platform. The result shows that this hash belongs to a file associated with the RisePro malware.

4. Targeting Specific Process Paths

Similar to registry keys, you can search for instances where a specific process path has been observed. Remember to double the backslash character within your query to escape it.

Example: ImagePath:”C:\\Windows\\Microsoft.NET\\Framework64\\v4.0.30319\\csc.exe”

TI Lookup finds several tasks launched over the past 30 days

This query searches for instances where the C# compiler is being executed. The platform returns 13 tasks, as well as events and files related to the query.

5. Leveraging IP Addresses

Finally, you can incorporate IP addresses into your search queries. This allows you to investigate specific endpoints or identify potential geographical trends associated with threats.

The platform shares results over the past seven days

The query in the screenshot above searches for all incidents involving the IP address in question. The platform quickly identifies it as malicious, links to the Asyncrat malware, and provides relevant URLs, files, events, and tasks.


You can explore advanced search options of Threat Intelligence Lookup take advantage of its power to improve your organization’s cybersecurity posture. Request a service trial and get 50 free requests to test its capabilities.

Kaaviya is a Security Editor and fellow reporter with Cyber Security News. She is covering various cyber security incidents happening in the Cyber Space.