Cyber threat hunting is a proactive approach to internet security in which threat hunters look for security hazards hidden within an organization’s network. Cyber hunting, as opposed to more passive cyber security hunting tactics such as automated threat detection systems, actively seeks out previously undetected, unknown, or unremediated dangers that may have evaded the network’s automated defense mechanisms. This article covers detailed knowledge of Cyber Threat Hunting.
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Threat Hunting Investigation Types
There are three core threat-hunting investigation types:
A structured hunt is based on an Indicator of Attack (IoA) and an attacker’s tactics, methods, and procedures. All hunts are coordinated and based on the threat actors. As a result, the hunter can usually detect a threat actor before the attacker does environmental damage.
An unstructured hunt is launched in response to a trigger, one of many symptoms of compromise. This trigger frequently prompts a hunter to search for pre- and post-detection patterns. The hunter can guide their approach by researching as far back as data retention and prior linked offenses allow.
Situational or Entity Driven
A situational hypothesis is derived from an enterprise’s internal risk assessment or analysis of trends and vulnerabilities specific to its IT environment. Entity-oriented leads are derived from crowd-sourced attack data, which, when analyzed, reveal the most recent TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) of contemporary cyberthreats. A threat hunter can then search the environment for these specific behaviors.
The 4 Steps of Cyber Threat Hunting
There are four steps your security personnel should take to effectively launch a cyber threat-hunting program:
Develop a Hypothesis
Developing a threat hypothesis is the first step in cyber security hunting. This hypothesis could be based on potential risks or vulnerabilities in the organization’s infrastructure, current threat information, suspicious activity, or a trigger that deviates from regular baseline activity. A threat hunter can also use their knowledge, expertise, and creative problem-solving abilities to develop a danger hypothesis and decide on a course of action to test it.
Begin the Investigation
A threat hunter can rely on sophisticated and historical datasets obtained by threat-hunting technologies like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) throughout an investigation. The inquiry will continue until the hypothesis is confirmed and abnormalities are discovered or until the hypothesis is shown to be benign.
Discover New Patterns
When anomalies or malicious behavior are discovered, the next step is to deploy a swift and efficient response. Disabling users, blocking IP addresses, deploying security patches, changing network configurations, modifying authorization privileges, or establishing new identification criteria could all fall under this category. As the security teams attempt to proactively handle network attacks, they will inadvertently learn the strategies, techniques, and processes of threat actors and how to mitigate similar risks in the future.
Respond, Enrich & Automate
Threat hunting is a never-ending task since cybercriminals are always evolving and inventing new network dangers. Cyber threat hunting should become a routine practice within the organization, working with automated threat detection technology and the security team’s existing threat identification and response processes.
How Does Cyber Threat Hunting Work?
Cyber threat hunting works by integrating the human aspect with a software solution’s massive data processing capability. Human threat hunters rely on data from complex security monitoring and analytics tools to help them proactively identify and neutralize threats.
Threat Hunting Tools
Hunters build their hunts on data from Managed detection, and response (MDR), SIEM, and security analytics technologies. Other tools, such as packer analyzers, can also carry out network-based hunts. However, integrating SIEM and MDR solutions necessitates the integration of all critical sources and tools in an environment. This connection ensures that IoA and IoC clues give enough hunting guidance.
Benefits of Cyber Security Hunting
- Cyber threat hunting has numerous advantages, including early detection of attacks, decreased false positives, and faster incident reaction times. Cyber threat hunting can also assist firms in better understanding their attack surface and identifying security holes.
- One of the most important advantages of cyber threat hunting is the early discovery of threats. Organizations can discover attacks before they cause significant damage by proactively searching for evidence of malicious activity. This enables organizations to take measures to mitigate the attack and reduce its damage.
- Another significant advantage of cyber threat hunting is the reduction of false positives. Traditional security technologies, such as Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), are prone to false positives. IDSs produce many warnings, the majority of which are false alarms. This can overburden security teams, causing them to miss legitimate threats.
- Organizations can also benefit from cyber threat hunting by better understanding their attack surface. Organizations can limit their exposure to possible threats by detecting gaps in their security posture. This can assist enterprises in improving their entire security posture and protecting their assets.
Challenges of Cyber Security Hunting
As the world of Cybersecurity becomes more complex, so do the issues that threat hunters face. The following are a few of the difficulties that threat hunters may face:
Ensuring Complete Coverage
Threat hunters must have insight into all aspects of the organization’s environment to be effective. This cannot be easy, especially in large firms with numerous networks and systems.
Keeping up with the Latest Threats
The cyber threat landscape is continuously evolving, and to be effective, threat hunters must be able to keep up with the latest threats. This can be difficult because new dangers emerge regularly.
Staying Ahead of the Attackers
Threat hunters must constantly innovate and create new ways to detect and respond to threats to stay ahead of the attackers. This can be difficult because attackers’ strategies are always developing.
Collaboration with Other Teams
To be effective, threat-hunting teams must collaborate with other teams inside the organization, such as the SOC and incident response team. This cannot be easy because it necessitates coordination and communication between multiple teams.
Threat hunters must be able to convey their findings clearly and effectively. This cannot be easy because clear writing and presenting abilities are required.
Cyber threat hunting is the proactive search for cyber threats or harmful activity indicators. It can supplement standard security measures like intrusion detection and prevention systems.
When done correctly, threat hunting can assist businesses in identifying and responding to attacks more rapidly. It can also provide useful intelligence about an organization’s opponents.
Threat hunting necessitates a major time and financial investment, but it can be a vital complement to a company’s security operation.