SOCRadar® Cyber Intelligence Inc. | What is the Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis?


Feb 09, 2022
4 Mins Read

What is the Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis?

The Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis is predicated on the idea that every cyber attack results from an adversary using some capacity to attack its victim over infrastructure. The diamond’s vertices that lend this model its name are the four essential features of an attack (adversary, capability, infrastructure, and victim). 

Illustration of the Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis

The edges between them describe the relationships between the four vertices. Because the adversary uses their infrastructure to attack the victim, there are direct linkages between an opponent’s infrastructure and the victim. However, because an adversary and a victim rarely engage directly, these vertices are not linked in most circumstances. 

Beyond the four core qualities, six meta-features should be included in every cyber attack that occurs on a victim’s system. These provide further background and details about a particular occurrence. Certain features and meta-features may be unknown at the start of an inquiry, and the attempt to fill these gaps is what motivates and directs the investigation

The purpose of the Diamond Model is to assist analysts in identifying a group of events that occurred on their systems. These occurrences can then be grouped together in time to form “activity threads,” which can be compared to detect attacker campaigns. 

The Theory of Diamond Model

Some information security experts use the diamond model of intrusion analysis to authenticate and trace cyber threats. Every incidence can be represented as a diamond using this method. 

The relationships and features of four diamond components — adversary, capacity, infrastructure, and victim — are highlighted by this methodology. These four main elements are linked together to define their relationship, which may be analyzed to gain further insights and knowledge about malicious behaviors

  • Adversary: An adversary is an organization or threat actor that uses a capacity against a victim to achieve its objectives. 
  • Capability: The tools and strategies utilized by an opponent in an event are referred to as capabilities. 
  • Infrastructure: The infrastructure refers to the physical or logical communication structures used by an adversary to supply a capability, such as IP or e-mail addresses, domain names, etc. 
  • Victim: A victim is someone who has been attacked, has vulnerabilities exploited, or has capabilities utilized against them. Organizations, people, or assets, e-mail or IP addresses, domain names, and so on can all be targets. 

The diamond model of intrusion analysis explains how an “adversary” exploits a “capability” over an “infrastructure” against a “victim” in simple terms. This approach claims that adversaries use their infrastructure capabilities against victims to make an impact on each intrusion. This hypothesis states that an act of intrusion describes how an attacker displays and deploys various capabilities and tactics against a victim over infrastructure. 

How Useful is it for the Security Professionals?

The diamond model of intrusion analysis is a cognitive model as well as a set of mathematical approaches developed by some well-known security analysts and academics. The cognitive model helps security experts to organize large amounts of interconnected logic. At the same time, a set of mathematical tools enables them to enhance strategic decision-making and analytical workflow in the face of an adversary. 

In the threat intelligence sector, the diamond model of intrusion analysis enables security analysts to respond quickly to large amounts of incoming data and establish clear linkages between existing threat information pieces. Eventually, security analysts will better understand adversary intents and targeting strategies, allowing them to develop proactive countermeasures to new cyber threats. 

Contextual indicators are enabled by the diamond model, which improves threat information sharing and allows for easy integration with other planning frameworks to support the creation of a course of action, planning, and mitigation plans. It identifies intelligence gaps and establishes the groundwork for cyber taxonomies, ontologies, threat intelligence exchange protocols, and knowledge management. 

Furthermore, it enables security teams to improve analytic precision by enabling hypothesis formulation, testing, and documentation, making the analytical process more precise.