As illustrated recently, APIs are already a crucial factor in stitching security intelligence together from the different systems of a security stack. Analysts need to know where to apply enforcement, and fast. Each minute matters when mitigating an attack. The problem is, because of the sheer volume of incoming alerts, combined with the amount of false positives, analysts are experiencing a frustrating amount of information overload.

The intelligence security professionals have at their disposal is what fuels the action to protect, prevent, and remediate attacks. But according to some industry analysts, intelligence enforcement is where the security industry is failing. John Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst at ESG, wrote about this topic in a recent Network World article. According to Oltsik, the immaturity of threat intelligence causes security professionals to share info using methods that are fairly manual and antiquated.

“Many [security] firms struggle with threat intelligence processing, correlation, and analytics, often depending upon homegrown tools in this area,” Oltsik said. “Security professionals complain that it is still quite difficult to operationalize threat intelligence programs so they can prioritize actions and measure success.”

Enforcement APIs are becoming a crucial enabler to making this possible. According to CTO Dan Hubbard, this lack of enforcement is why OpenDNS launched a new enforcement API. “Security efficacy has started going down,” Hubbard said in an interview. “The challenge is how do you take intelligence to an actionable enforcement? Without that, you have to get your duct tape, glue, stapler, and fit it into all your other systems.”

OpenDNS is expecting its new API to act as the missing enforcement arm of security intelligence. Since security teams are spending time aggregating their intelligence either through their own efforts or by using a product like a threat intelligence platform (TIP), those teams need a way of enforcing whatever intelligence they find actionable. According to OpenDNS Senior Product Manager Scott Cressman, security teams are currently relying on a very manual hodgepodge of systems to do this.

“Companies build up a team of security analysts and end up being product developers for the frankensystem of tools they’re forced to create by munging together a host of intelligence systems,” Cressman said. “What this API provides is a way to enforce all the different types of intelligence and cover your entire network in seconds.”

How It Works

The cloud security provider has already released other APIs that provide information about events or domains and can allow changes to policies. The new enforcement API is also RESTful, and can ingest events formatted in the existing API documentation. Using these events, security analysts can create a useful telemetry feedback loop, Cressman added.

Pictured is a diagram of what this feedback loop would look like.Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 12.51.51 PM

Rather than being yet another API that provides a source of intelligence, this new release is the plug that takes intelligence on one end, and pushes out enforcement on the other end. Depending on how it’s configured and what it finds, the API can then feed intelligence platforms and SIEMs logs and contextual information about malicious domains.

According to the API’s documentation, an event can be added to the API following the proper format either through a custom script, a direct call, or through a partner integration like ThreatConnect or ThreatQuotient. If it successfully finds a domain, it can be fed to Security Graph to verify whether or not it is malicious.

From there, it will either block that domain or allow it based on the security preferences already configured in the dashboard. This information can then be stored in Amazon S3 logs and fed back to a company’s SIEM for further analysis.

How to Get It
Announced today, OpenDNS customers on the Investigate or Platform packages can make use of the new API functionality right away. To get a plan that includes the API capability, contact OpenDNS sales.

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