FireEye Threat Intelligence is part of the overall FireEye suite of security products. It is, in fact, the primary intelligence component and is used to help drive other FireEye products providing active blocking at networks, endpoints and mobile devices. The service - available as a subscription - has three available levels: Dynamic Threat Intelligence (DTI), Advanced Threat Intelligence (ATI) and Advanced Threat Intelligence Plus (ATI+). The differences among these three services are largely based on the level of detail in the reports you receive and the number of included services. In addition to proactive notifications and alerts, there is a portal from which users can access significant threat intelligence and conduct their own research.
The FireEye resources are prodigious. The system conducts more than 50 billion virtual machine analyses per day, including 400,000 unique malware samples and more than one billion non-malware events. This all is possible due to FireEye's deep insertion into the global threatscape. One of the things we liked about the service is that it updates every hour. With the speed at which cybercrime is moving, that level of update frequency is not, by any means, overkill. And, although the threat intelligence is just part of the overall FireEye platform, that is all we are covering in this review. That said, it would be worthwhile to have a look at the whole package.
AT A GLANCE
Product FireEye Threat Intelligence
Price Depends on services ordered.
What it does Cyber threat intelligence and proactive threat-based management of FireEye network security tools.
The relationships of the three levels of service to each other is part of the strength of the threat intelligence suite. DTI largely is a machine-to-machine connection that enables detection and response when connected to the FireEye products. By adding ATI, you add context. Context may be the most important aspect of threat intelligence since the implication of threats often is not obvious without a context in which to conduct the analysis. ATI+ expands further with a repository of research that adds materially to the efficacy of threat analytics.
Users access the Threat Intelligence system through a portal called the FireEye Intel Center. This is a way to get direct intelligence from FireEye and gives users the ability to document, manage and share their own intelligence with other users. In the Intel Center users can look at current threats and drill down for more information. They can select a threat to research - whether it is a malware, a threat group or a particular attack pattern - and can drill down, pivot or both, to understand the potential impact on their environment.
The primary focus of the FireEye system is malware and that is, in today's threatscape, appropriate. However, the company does collect considerable data on non-malware-based attacks and exploits. By combining these two attack types users can get a comprehensive view of the threatscape as it applies to them. Tying the threatscape to the user's enterprise infrastructure is a powerful step in proactively protecting the enterprise data.
As users interact with the portal a lot of things go on under the covers. For example, as new threats, malwares and hostile addresses, URLs and domains are researched, the FireEye system creates encyclopedia entries. This adds to the knowledge base and gives the analyst more to work with. Malware that the user discovers can be submitted to the FireEye sandbox for analysis. The sandbox is among the most powerful we've seen and the output is quite detailed and complete.
OUR BOTTOM LINE
FireEye is a venerable player in the threat analysis and response space. With its acquisition of Mandiant they have added materially to their knowledge base, and users of the Threat Intelligence system benefit by that. The system also encourages users to document and share. As the analyst digs into threats that are applicable to their environment it is easy to create an entry into the system's documentation quickly. The result is a wiki on steroids that is specific to the customer's environment. Sharing with others involves a short series of mouse clicks and it is equally easy to redact sections to ensure that sharing does not equal compromising.
We had the impression that the availability of ATI and ATI+ depended on having the rest of the FireEye network protection system in place since those modules include DTI. If that is the case, it would be a good move to make those two services available as a standalone. The power of the intelligence alone is worthy of the highest needs of cyberthreat analysts.
So our bottom line is this is an extremely powerful system for gathering, analyzing and acting on cyberthreat intelligence. The wealth of available data is impressive and FireEye is an experienced player with a heavy recorded history of data going back 10 years or more. We do wish, however, that this wealth of analytical power was readily available as a standalone service for threat analysts who are not necessarily part of a network defense team.