When contributing a Group to a Community or Source in ThreatConnect®, a copy of the Group is added to that Community or Source. This copy is a separate Group, and any modifications to it will not affect the original Group. When contributing a Group, copies of the Tags, Attributes, and associated Indicators and Groups are also created (depending on the security settings selected; see the “Group Hierarchy and Association Directionality” section at the end of this article for details on which associated Groups are copied with a contributed Group). Users may also contribute a Group to multiple Communities or Sources. Groups may be shared between Communities or contributed from an Organization to a Community. For data in an Organization, but not in a Community or Source, contribution of the data to a Community or Source is a prerequisite for sharing intelligence across ThreatConnect instances via the Publish feature. See The Publish Feature for more information.
Contributing a Group to a Community or Source
- From the top navigation bar (Figure 1), place the cursor over Browse and then over the Groups option. Click on one of the objects (E-mail in this example) to display a results table (Figure 2).
- Click on one of the entries, and the Details drawer for that entry will be displayed (Figure 3).
- Click the Details icon at the top right of the drawer, and the Overview tab of the Details screen will be displayed (Figure 4). Alternatively, hover over the object's entry in the table in Figure 2 and click on the Details icon that appears on the right side of its Summary cell to go straight to the Overview tab of the Details screen.
- Click the Sharing tab, and the Sharing screen will be displayed (Figure 5).
- Click the CONTRIBUTE TO COMMUNITY/SOURCE... button to contribute the Group to a single Community or Source. Click the CONTRIBUTE TO MULTIPLE... button to contribute the Group to multiple Communities or Sources at one time. The Contribute to Community/Source window will be displayed (Figure 6).
- Use the Select Community/Source dropdown menu to select the Community or Source with which to share the Group. If the CONTRIBUTE TO MULTIPLE... button was clicked in Figure 5, then this dropdown menu will be a multiselect list. If the Group is shared with the Common Community, then all Organizations will have access to the Group. If the Group is copied to any other Community or Source, then only Organizations with access to that Community or Source will be able to access the Group.
- If merging the contributed Group with an existing Group in the Community or Source, select the EXISTING GROUP radio button and begin to enter the name of the existing group in the Group Name text box, which will auto-populate with available possibilities after three characters have been entered. The EXISTING GROUP option will not be available if contributing to multiple Communities or Sources.
- If creating a new Group, select the NEW GROUP radio button. The name of the original Group will auto-populate in the Group Name text box. This name can be modified if desired.
- Click the Next button. The Data screen will be displayed (Figure 7).
- Copy Attributes?: Select Yes to copy the original Group's Attributes to the contributed Group.
- Include Tags?: Select Yes to associate all Tags from the original Group with those of the contributed Group.
- Create Tags That Don't Exist?: This option allows the user to determine whether Tags associated with the original Group that do not already exist in the Community or Source will be created and associated with the contributed Group or excluded from the contribute operation. This option is available only if Yes is selected for Include Tags?. Select Yes to create Tags that do not already exist in the Community or Source. Select No to include only Tags that already exist in the Community or Source.
- Copy Associated Groups?: Select Yes to copy Groups associated to the original Group to the Community or Source and associate them to the contributed Group. Select the Group types to copy from the checkboxes below this option. See the “Group Hierarchy and Association Directionality” section later in this article for more information about which Groups associated to associated Groups will be copied.
- The Suppress Notifications? radio button is set to No by default. Select Yes to disable notification messages about the contribution to members of the Community or Source.
- If desired, review the list of associated Groups that will be copied into the Community or Source and associated to the contributed Group.
- Select the Publish after Copy checkbox at the bottom left of the window to publish the data in a package so it may be shared across instances. See The Publish Feature for more information.
- Click the SAVE button.
Group Hierarchy and Association Directionality
Groups in ThreatConnect are related to each other according to the hierarchy in Figure 13, where the topmost Group (Report) is a superset that can contain all of the Groups “below” it, the next group down (Threat) is a superset that can contain all of the Groups “below” it (i.e., all of the Groups except itself and Report), and so on. Or, starting from the bottom of the list, a Document can contain only itself; a Signature can contain a Document; an Email can contain a Signature and a Document; an Event can contain an Email, a Signature, and a Document; and so on. The hierarchy is like a Russian nesting doll, where Document is the smallest doll and fits inside the Signature doll, which fits inside the Email doll, which fits inside the Event doll, and so on.
This hierarchy is based on the definition of each Group and the way each Group can contain or be contained by other Groups. For example, a Document can be included in a Signature, but a Signature cannot be included inside a Document. An Adversary can be a component of an Intrusion Set, but an Intrusion Set is a “greater” structure and thus cannot be part of an Adversary. A Campaign is a collection of Incidents, and therefore it can contain Incidents, but an Incident cannot contain a Campaign. An Email can contain a Signature and a Document inside of it, but neither a Signature or a Document could have an Email as a component. An Email can be one of the components that are grouped together into an Event, but it would not make sense to say that an Event is a part of an Email.
When contributing a Group to a Community or Source, Groups that are associated directly to that Group (i.e., one degree of association from the original Group) also get contributed if the Yes button for the Copy Associated Groups? question in Figure 7 has been selected and if the checkbox for the type of Group has been selected. However, Groups that are associated to the associated Groups (i.e., two or more degrees of association from the original Group) get contributed only if the association traverses up or down the hierarchy in the same direction as the association between the original Group and the associated Group. Also, a horizontal traversal (i.e., from one kind of Group to the same kind of Group, such as a Signature associated with another Signature) would get contributed regardless of the prior direction of traversal.
For example, say the Group being contributed is an Event that is associated to an Incident. The Incident, being directly associated to the Event (one degree), will be contributed along with the Incident. If the Incident is associated with an Adversary, the Adversary will also get contributed, because the chain of association began by traveling “up” the hierarchy (i.e., from Event to Incident) and continued “up” the hierarchy (i.e., from Incident to Adversary). However, if the Incident is also associated with a Signature, that Signature will not be contributed with the Email, because the initial association traveled “up” the hierarchy (i.e., from Event to Incident), but then traveled “down” the hierarchy (from Incident to Signature). This situation is illustrated in Figure 14, where the dashed arrow indicates a contribution that will not happen.
As another example, if the Group being contributed is a Campaign that is associated with an Adversary, a Threat that is associated with the Adversary will be contributed as well, because the chain of association from Campaign to Adversary to Threat is uniformly in the “up” direction. However, a different Campaign associated with the Adversary will not be contributed, because the chain of association from Campaign to Adversary to Campaign goes “up” and then “down.” Similarly, if a Signature is associated with the original Campaign, both the Signature and a Document associated to the Signature will be contributed with the Campaign, because the chain of association from Campaign to Signature to Document goes uniformly “down,” whereas an Email associated to the Signature will not be contributed, because the chain of association from Campaign to Signature to Email goes “down” and then “up.” This situation is illustrated in Figure 15.
As a final example, consider a Signature that is associated with a Campaign. If the Campaign (“Campaign 1”) is associated with another Campaign (“Campaign 2”), which is associated with an Adversary and an Incident, then when the Signature is contributed to a Community or Source, Campaign 1, Campaign 2, and the Adversary will be contributed as well, because the directionality of association is universally “up” or, in the case of the two Campaigns, horizontal, but the Incident would not be contributed, because the directionality initially goes “up” (from the Signature to the first Campaign), horizontal (from Campaign 1 to Campaign 2), and then “down” (from Campaign 2 to the Incident). This situation is illustrated in Figure 16.
NOTE: The reason for this methodology is that traversal along the hierarchy in one direction and then in the other direction means that you are likely to encounter a separate chain of association not related to the original Group. For example, consider the scenario in Figure 14. The Email is a part of the Incident, which in turn is a component of the Adversary. But the Signature associated with the Incident may have nothing to do with the Email. The Signature may be associated with an Email, but there is no evidence that it is associated with the Email being contributed, and so including it as part of the contribution would mean that extraneous, unrelated data are being passed with the contribution. In the Russian nesting doll analogy, it is as if the Incident doll has two separate dolls—Email and Signature—rattling around inside of it. The presence of both of them inside the Incident doll does not mean they are related to each other.