Are Open-Source Threat Intelligence Solutions Still Competitive?

Andrei Pisau

October 10, 2022

Are Open-Source Threat Intelligence Solutions Still Competitive?

Nobody wants to play the losing game. But when it comes to cybersecurity, thinking on your feet and trying (emphasis on “trying”) to keep up with all the requirements is no longer enough. In an ever-changing and increasingly challenging threat landscape, you, as a security professional, should be losing a lot of sleep unless you have solid programs in place to annihilate threats before they cost you money, time and your partners’ trust.

Who benefits from threat intelligence solutions and how?

It is getting harder to deny the need to take actions to protect your business environment, regardless of company size. The risk of cyberattacks inevitably comes up. You need to properly assess your own needs. Larger companies may have Security Operations Centers with skilled personnel, while smaller businesses may handle obstacles as they come and strive more to be functional, rather than performing. The good news is that threat intelligence is a highly adaptable and customizable business solution.

Threat Intelligence solutions fuel the efforts of security analysts to prevent attacks, not only to detect and respond to them once they have breached the system. As time goes by, attacks grow more sophisticated, and attackers are more empowered. They have access to a lot of information and plenty of vulnerabilities to bring to fruition.

A competitive TI solution gives your security professionals information, which is curated and updated, increasing its relevance. A breach associated with a malicious attack is detected and notifications are raised within five minutes. Immediate actions will limit damages, but they are only possible based on permanently updated information, within the solutions already used by the SOC analysts of the organization.

Opting for an Open-Source Threat Intelligence solution

The best way to use open-source intelligence is to keep your protection system up to date and try to find vulnerabilities, by enriching your internal telemetry with actionable intelligence. It can also give you an idea of external threats such as planned attacks on your industry. These endeavors are better when they are double-checked with data extracted from the dark web, intelligence sharing communities and other platforms.

Having a team of analysts go through millions of data feeds by themselves is a first step, and it beats doing nothing to gain threat intelligence, but, at the end of the day, the method is simply not that effective. Unless you have a genius (or 10) working in your security department, the job will never be completely done, and your employees will approach burnout without having much to show for it. And not from a lack of effort or skills. But because it’s humanly impossible to scan through the existing information, filter the noise, then know exactly how to incorporate it and interpret every alert at its proper relevance level.

A healthy way of looking at it would be to see open-source threat intelligence as a great start. See how it works, identify a few vulnerabilities and fix them. But as your company evolves, so does the security system in the background. Every log, every download leaves a trace and could hide an action you are unaware of, a possible vulnerability. As time passes, you should work your way toward combining the open source with the commercial option for threat intelligence and cover your back, your front, and your middle operations as best you can.

Opting for a Commercial Threat Intelligence (CTI) solution

When you opt for a commercial threat intelligence program, you opt for value at a cost, as opposed to putting all your company’s security resources, plus extra time on everyone’s part, into keeping an eye on the potential threats. A failed endeavor may result.

At some point, the number alerts and updates is overwhelming, the information in your open-source data feed may not be reliable enough and taking and checking everything by hand is simply not doable. This is where automation fits best.

The commercial option offers you curated and fresh information, delivered in a consistent format, with analysis and rich context. The data is no longer raw and simply logged in, but it is analyzed and enriched, and you know where you stand.

What’s more, commercial threat intelligence is delivered to the client in the form best suited to their needs.

It can be tactical, operational or strategic, depending on how the provided information is supposed to help.

Tactical threat intelligence gives you an outline of tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) as well as specific information about threat actors, the tools they use and the vulnerabilities they target, as well as their means of avoiding detection. Used properly, tactical threat intelligence should help your team speed up incident response and improve your security protocols.

Operational threat intelligence is aimed more at understanding the logic behind the attacks. For a team of cybersecurity professionals, this information is golden as it is meant to be highly actionable and time sensitive. The type of information refers to the timing, nature and motivation of a potential attack.

Strategic threat intelligence is meant for less-technical decision-makers. The delivered content is consolidated on criteria relevant to your organization, but still very valuable for providing context when managers need to make decisions. In broad terms, it means geopolitical events and trends, specific lines of action and their risks, general intent of threat actors targeting your exact industry or region.

The commercial version of such a solution will give you in-depth research across multiple languages, which would otherwise prove challenging even for the most skilled professionals. And even if the issue of threat intelligence is described in broader terms in this case, it doesn’t make it any easier to go through massive volumes of data in different languages.

Opting for the Bitdefender solution

To bring you comprehensive and highly actionable threat intelligence, the Bitdefender solution collects data from a wide variety of sources such as its global install base of hundreds of million endpoints, deep web and dark web monitoring, content analysis, information collected from its own award-winning technologies aimed at spam, phishing and fraud, email traps, honeypots, web crawling systems, all backed by active and extensive collaborations with law enforcement agencies and international cybersecurity organizations.

The technology is constantly updated to remain relevant to the customer and ready to counter the increasing number and diversity of cyberattacks. We employ more than 800 researchers and developers to approach the collection, analysis and delivery of threat intelligence through a wide variety of automated and manual processes.


While we’re not saying that a team of very dedicated security analysts couldn’t keep your company relatively safe using only open-source threat intelligence, there is always the issue of it being a field too vast to scan, with too many false positives and too much outdated data. In other words, if you forego a professional solution, you may sometimes feel like you’re bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Learn more about Bitdefender's Advanced Threat Intelligence solution.


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Andrei Pisau

Andrei, as Bitdefender’s Senior Director of Product Management for Enterprise Solutions, leverages over 15 years of experience in software engineering and product management to build security solutions that speak to customer needs. A leader of the B2B2B line of business, he spearheads efforts to deliver superior technologies such as Advanced Threat Intelligence and early breach detection solutions to Technology Partners and enterprises worldwide.

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