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A Glimpse of Threat Hunting

Along with the expansion of discoveries in cyber-attacks, it has become much more complex to manage and protect, not only our systems, but also every personal asset that withholds some important information. These evolving threats demand organizations to employ different strategies to hunt them down simultaneously strengthening their security and ensuring the protection of data.

An effective way to do this is to perform proactive threat hunting. Let’s learn how most organizations keep themselves safe in a time of emerging cyber-attacks.

What is Threat Hunting?

Threat Hunting is a promising approach to proactively identify zero-day threats, meaning that this procedure allows organizations to detect malicious activity ongoing in their network that is previously unknown.                 

There is no doubt that the advancement of cyber security has gifted us with many security mechanisms, however, none of them is one hundred percent secure which is why threat hunting helps us identify malicious threat actors that have bypassed the basic defenses of a network.

Why is Threat Hunting Important?

As mentioned above, the automated cyber security tools or SOC analysts can reduce the attack rate up to 80%, nevertheless, we are going to ponder about the remaining 20% where threat hunting comes in. This dangerous chunk of statistics can prove to be more harmful which is why threat hunting comes as a savior and reduces attack time as well as the total damage done.

Ways to conduct Threat Hunting
1.      Hypothesis-driven Investigation

When a new threat is discovered along with its signatures, threat hunters carry out an investigation searching for similar signs that have been uncovered of the newly discovered threat.

2.      Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) Investigation

Once a new TTP is defined, threat hunters tend to use that to hunt threat actors with similar techniques as most of them adhere to the same tactics and procedures they have used once.

3.      Indicators of Compromise (IOC) or Indicators of Attack (IOA) Investigation

This involves the comparison of known IOCs and IOAs catalogued from cyber threat intelligence with new threats. This becomes an essential technique for threat hunters to expose ongoing malicious activity.

The Maturity Model
  • Level 0, initial: The organization does little to no data collection and relies on automated reporting.
  • Level 1, minimal: The organization performs moderate or high-level data collection simultaneously incorporating threat intelligence.
  • Level 2, procedural: The organization gathers high or extremely high amount of data while following an analysis procedure created by others.
  • Level 3, innovative: The organization gathers high or extremely high amount of data while following a new analysis procedure created by themselves.
  • Level 4, leading: The organization gathers high or extremely high amount of data along with automating a completely new and successful analysis procedures.
What are the requirements for Threat Hunting?
Human hunting expertise

The most valuable demand for threat hunting is human hunters with adequate knowledge of the said topic. Nonetheless, automated techniques have risen to the top standard, the human brain is much more advanced. Their intuitive thinking proves them to be a critical component of threat hunting.

Threat Intelligence

As the name suggests, threat intelligence is knowledge that provides answers to questions like who attacked you, what capabilities do they have, and what indicators of compromise should be looked for in the victim’s computer. By using threat intelligence, hunters can focus on high impact malicious activities first. This knowledge aims to prevent attacks which is why it is a core necessity for threat hunting.

Tools

Several tools aid in threat hunting. Some of them are:

  • SIEM
  • Managed Detection and Response (MDR)
  • Security Analytics
  • Threat Intelligence Providers (TIPS)