Although an effective EDR system will safeguard your networks and endpoints from the majority of cybersecurity attacks, no security solution can ensure that every attack will be prevented. A dedicated hacker or threat agent who is especially targeting an organization will have spent a significant amount of time conducting study and reconnaissance on the target. Malware created via APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats), that has a history of seeping into the realm of cybercriminals, as well as zero-days collected and sold on to unknown entities by private security firms, can be exploited to defeat sophisticated protection technologies. Defenders must be alert and employ a layered defense architecture to maintain a sound security posture. Threat hunting is one of the layers of a defense-in-depth strategy. Through cybersecurity training in Hyderabad, you will learn more about cyber threat hunting.

What is Threat Hunting, and how does it work?

The process of proactively seeking for cyber risks that are hiding undiscovered in an organization’s surroundings is known as threat hunting. Threat hunting is a technique for locating enemies lurking in your system before they could even launch an attack or achieve their objectives. Threat hunting, unlike most security tactics, is a proactive method that integrates the information and abilities of a stringent security system with the high technical and analytical skills of a single or group of threat hunters. Threat hunting differs significantly from incident response and digital forensics. The goal of DF/IR approaches is to figure out what happened when a data breach has indeed been discovered. The goal of a threat hunting squad, on the other hand, is to look for attackers that might have otherwise snuck through your defensive lines. Penetration testing and vulnerability analysis are not the same as threat hunting. Threat hunters start with the assumption how an intruder is already within the network and search for vulnerabilities, lateral movement, and other tell-tale artifacts that may offer evidence of attack conduct.

A check for Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) or indicators that may be associated with Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) could be done on historical data (Logs, Events, Audit Logs) or live aggregated queries throughout Endpoints, Storage Resources, Cloud Environments, and other sources. When an event/signal comprising a potential indicator arrives, automated threat hunting initiates a search all over various data sources, incorporating the outcomes to define the extent of the impact, and effectively taking initiative for every recognized altered entity. Consider an email security system that has detected a potential attack via hostile attachments (file with such a certain signature) — automatically checking all terminals and storage media for documents with the same signing and isolating them is an automated threat hunting operation.

The Advantages of Threat Hunting Automation

  • Limit the “exposure window” for a possible threat by recognizing and isolating it without the intervention of analysts/operators as soon as an event/signal occurs.
  • Multiple danger hunting sessions can be handled simultaneously without the need for human intervention.
  • Develop consistently successful danger hunting processes that aren’t reliant on the involvement of certain experts.

Workflow for Threat Hunting

Is Cyber Threat Hunting With IoT Devices a Realistic Practice?

It is contingent on how you conduct your hunts. IoT devices usually log relatively little and give poor documentation upon the log entries they did generate, making it difficult to evaluate system logs. If you’re looking for something on the network, IoT devices are a perfect fit. Whether the endpoint is a Windows desktop, network equipment, a thermal sensor, or an HVAC system, TCP/IP is TCP/IP.

Take a look at the 2019 Verizon Breach Report, for example. Specifically, the section on POS (Point of Sale) device security breaches. Although PCI mandates firms to analyze these devices’ logs, 100 percent of them were found in Verizon’s report. In other words, log review was not used by any of the firms in the report to discover the POS device compromise! However, to operate the POS device, a C2 channel would be utilized, and also that C2 session might have been identified by a network threat hunt.

What Are the Requirements to Begin Threat Hunting?

The cyber threat hunting method, as we’ve seen, is all about constantly pursuing out disguised IOCs and covert behavior by presuming a breach has happened and then looking for unusual behavior. To do so, security analysts must distinguish the exceptional from the ordinary, sifting out the clutter of normal network data in search of previously undiscovered behavior. To do so effectively, you’ll need complete network visibility as well as rich information from your endpoints. Encrypted traffic, document hashes, systems and event logs, and also data on user behavior, refused links caught by firewall rules, and peripheral device activities all should be included in device telemetry. 

In an ideal world, solutions like SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) would provide a clear overview of all of this data, as well as sophisticated search features that can contextualize what you see, reducing the amount of time spent manually searching through raw logs. Functionality such as those that could detect uncontrolled endpoints, IoT devices, mobiles, and discover operating services on your network, as well as utilities that you can integrate into the browser to enable faster threat detection and research, are a huge help.

A threat hunting program necessitates the use of appropriate reporting technologies to supply analysts with high-quality data, but also necessitates complete trust in the security mechanisms defending their network. Threat hunting takes time, and your SOC analysts can’t afford to squander time proactively detecting threats that your EDR system should have detected automatically. The most difficult difficulty security teams confront is detecting advanced threats, especially if the firm is hampered by a cyber skills employee deficit or is trapped with an infosec team.

Threat intelligence is another important security tool for analysts. There are public or OSINT (open-source intelligence) feeds wherein hunters may keep up with the latest IOCs, such as malicious IP addresses, newly published CVEs, and sample hashes of the latest malware. The SANS Institute, for example, maintains a database of dubious domains. The MITRE ATT&CK methodology is also a useful tool for cyber threat hunters to learn about advanced threat actors’ tools, tactics, and procedures (TTP). For example, you can look up a group that is recognized to attack your market or industry in the MITRE ATT&CK database and learn about the strategies they’ve utilized. With this information, you may begin your threat hunt.

Conclusion

By proactively scanning for harmful activities, threat hunting helps us to stay ahead of the latest dangers. Advanced solutions, such as behavioral AI, would halt most cyberattacks in its trial and are required to give insight into threat hunting needs, but bad actors are constantly inventing and looking for ways to circumvent enterprise network security. Internal threats and extremely targeted attacks are examples of vectors that organizations must be aware of. Adding the knowledge of human analyzers can give your company an extra layer of protection.

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