Overview of STIX2.1: Cyber Threat Intelligence Modelling and Sharing Data Model

The Structured Threat Information Expression (STIX™) is a language and serialization format designed to facilitate the exchange of cyber threat intelligence (CTI). With the release of STIX2.1, significant enhancements have been made to address the evolving needs of cybersecurity professionals, including analysts, programmers, and risk management specialists. This self-directed training module explores the importance of understanding STIX2.1 in the context of cyber threat analysis, modeling, and sharing, focusing on how it serves the specific needs of these key stakeholders.

For analysts, STIX2.1 offers a robust framework for describing and exchanging information about cyber threats in a structured and standardized manner. The introduction of new objects and relationships in STIX2.1 enhances the ability of analysts to depict a more comprehensive picture of the threat landscape. This includes the ability to link different pieces of intelligence, such as indicators, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and threat actors, in a coherent manner that reflects real-world operations.

The addition of new objects like ‘Grouping’, ‘Infrastructure’, and ‘Malware Analysis’ in STIX2.1 allows analysts to associate related cyber threat information more explicitly and contextually. This capability is crucial for understanding complex threat activities and for developing more effective detection and response strategies. For instance, the ‘Malware Analysis’ object can store results of malware examinations, providing insights that are critical during incident responses and threat hunting operations.

Programmers benefit from STIX2.1 through its structured nature and adherence to JSON for serialization, which simplifies the integration and automation of CTI into security systems and tools[3]. The shift from XML to JSON in earlier versions of STIX to STIX2.1 reflects a broader industry move towards more lightweight, flexible, and web-friendly formats, making it easier for developers to work with CTI data programmatically.

Moreover, STIX2.1’s compatibility with the Trusted Automated Exchange of Intelligence Information (TAXII™) protocol allows for the automated exchange of information across different platforms and tools. This automation capability is vital for programmers who develop security applications that rely on timely and accurate threat data to function effectively.

Risk management specialists utilize STIX2.1 to assess and mitigate cyber risks more effectively. By providing a comprehensive and detailed representation of threat intelligence, STIX2.1 helps these professionals understand the specifics of threat actors and their methods, which is crucial for risk assessment and management.

The structured data model of STIX2.1 enables risk managers to map out the relationships between different cyber threats and assess their potential impact on organizational assets. This holistic view supports more informed decision-making regarding security policies, defense mechanisms, and risk mitigation strategies.

The context and purpose of STIX2.1 are centered around enhancing the capabilities of cybersecurity professionals to analyze, model, and share threat intelligence in an efficient and standardized manner. For analysts, the detailed and interconnected data model provides deep insights into threat activities. Programmers benefit from the standard’s adaptability and support for automation, while risk management specialists gain a powerful tool for understanding and mitigating cyber risks. As cyber threats continue to evolve in complexity and scale, the role of standards like STIX2.1 in promoting a more secure and resilient cyber environment becomes increasingly critical. Understanding and leveraging STIX2.1 effectively is essential for all cybersecurity stakeholders aiming to enhance their threat intelligence capabilities and organizational security posture.

Press the orange button below to launch the self-directed training session on STIX2.1.

Launch Presentation

Translate »