MISP vs. OpenCTI

Which threat intel platform should you choose?
Both MISP and OpenCTI are powerful open source threat intelligence platforms. You may be comparing MISP vs. OpenCTI because you'd like to use an open source platform to handle your threat intelligence, but aren’t sure which one is the best fit for your use case. We're here to help.

The good news is that both platforms share the benefits of being open source software

Both MISP and OpenCTI are scrutinised and patched by the security community

Being open source, many people have the chance to spot and patch potential vulnerabilities before they make it into a production release. With open source software, you can inspect the code to be sure there are no exploitable flaws. With closed source software, you must simply trust that the company behind the software follows secure development practices.

Both MISP and OpenCTI are free to use, provided you are prepared to host the platforms on your own infrastructure

The downside of free is that these platforms don’t come with any guarantee of support if things go wrong. You’ll need to rely on volunteers in the open source community for whom you are not a #1 priority. That’s why some folks have opted for managed and supported versions of these platforms, like CloudMISP MISP, or OpenCTI’s enterprise support plan, which provide a guaranteed support SLA.

While both platforms share these similarities, they also come with some major differences.

MISP uses the MISP data model, whereas OpenCTI uses STIX 2.1

In simple terms, the two tools speak two different languages (MISP vs. STIX).

STIX is more aimed at describing Tools, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs), whereas MISP is more about sharing Indicators of Compromise and Indicators of Attack.

Therefore, it may make sense to choose your data model based on whether you’ll mainly be dealing with TTPs or IoCs.

Both MISP and OpenCTI have converters that allow STIX to be converted to MISP data format and vice versa, although the quality of these varies.

OpenCTI and MISP have different system architectures

OpenCTI architecture diagram (source: OpenCTI Public Knowledgebase).

OpenCTI is a stack of components (React frontend, GraphQL, Elasticsearch, Redis, Minio, RabbitMQ, python workers and connectors) that run as separate applications as part of a broader system. Because of this, it is a good fit for container orchestration, and most people install OpenCTI using Docker and run one container for each connector it has enabled.

Meanwhile, MISP has a shorter list of dependencies (namely Redis and MySQL) and therefore fewer moving parts compared to OpenCTI. Even so, MISP’s architecture also has Redis, a database, workers, a web app, and an API.

Overall, MISP’s architecture incorporates fewer different technologies compared to OpenCTI.

MISP is a more established tool with a larger community of users and contributors

When comparing OpenCTI vs. MISP, one of the main differences is the size of the community around each tool. MISP launched in 2012, more than a decade ago, while OpenCTI launched in 2019. Since MISP is a much older and more established tool, its community of users and contributors is larger.

In practical terms, a larger community typically means a richer ecosystem of tools, extensions, tutorials, and integrations, and more places to turn to for help if you get stuck.

That being said, both MISP and OpenCTI benefit from a thriving (and growing) community of users and contributors.

MISP offers a broader range of integrations

While OpenCTI has integrations with various security tools and platforms, its main focus is on integrating with other threat intelligence tools and platforms (TIPs).

MISP integrates with a broad range of security tools and platforms, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. MISP’s extensive list of integrations is one if its greatest strengths.

If MISP seems like the best fit for your organisation, we recommend CloudMISP, our managed MISP service.