A group of researchers is trying to develop an automatic early warning system that should help defenders take preventative action before specific cyber attacks start unfolding. Their approach leverages the fact that preparation of cyber attacks often occurs in plain sight, discussed on online platforms and publicly accessible discussion forums.
“The system monitors social media feeds of prominent security researchers, analysts, and white-hat hackers, scanning for posts (tweets) related to exploits, vulnerabilities, and other relevant cyber-security topics. Afterwards, it applies text mining techniques to identify important terms and remove irrelevant ones. Then, the system verifies whether the terms that were identified during the filtering stage have ever been used in dark web hacking forums, and eventually reports the volume of mentions [and] the content of posts,” the researchers explained. During the system’s initial testing period (September 2016 – January 2017), 84% of the alerts it generated were relevant to current or imminent cyber threats.
Read more about the automatic early warning system being developed by researchers, who have discovered that some types of cyber attacks are more predictable than others, namely exploitation of vulnerabilities vs. data breaches, on Help Net Security.