Lessons from Using the I-Corps Methodology to Understand Cyber Threat Intelligence Sharing


Josiah Dykstra, Matt Fante, Paul Donahue, Dawn Varva, Linda Wilk, and Amanda Johnson, U.S. Department of Defense

Long Experience Paper


Cybersecurity researchers and practitioners continually propose products and services to secure and protect against cyberthreats. Even when backed by solid cybersecurity science, these offerings are sometimes misaligned with customers’ practical needs. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) methodology attempts to help innovators, researchers, and practitioners maximize their success through deliberate customer discovery. The National Security Agency (NSA) has adopted I-Corps for internal innovation and optimization. In February 2019, NSA Cybersecurity Operations embarked on a study using this methodology to explore cyber threat intelligence sharing. Information sharing is a foundational practice in cybersecurity. The NSA also shares cyber indicators with authorized partners, and sought to understand how partners consumed and valued the information to better tailor it to their needs. After more than 60 customer discovery problem interviews with over 20 partners, six primary themes emerged. We describe our experiences using the I-Corps methodology to study and optimize internal processes, and lessons learned from applying it to information sharing. These insights may inform future applications of I-Corps to other areas of cybersecurity research, practice, and commercialization.

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@inproceedings {238228,
author = {Josiah Dykstra and Matt Fante and Paul Donahue and Dawn Varva and Linda Wilk and Amanda Johnson},
title = {Lessons from Using the {I-Corps} Methodology to Understand Cyber Threat Intelligence Sharing},
booktitle = {12th USENIX Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET 19)},
year = {2019},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/cset19/presentation/dykstra},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug