Cyber security has become one of the most talked-about topics in recent years, and for good reason. With data breaches becoming more common and sophisticated, organizations need to be proactive about protecting their assets. One way to do this is through threat hunting. But what is threat hunting, exactly? In this blog post, we will explore what threat hunting is and how it can help your organization stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
What is threat hunting?
Threat hunting is a proactive cyber security tactic that involves looking for indicators of compromise (IOCs) within an organization’s network. The goal of threat hunting is to find malicious activity that has evaded detection by traditional security defenses.
Threat hunting requires a security team with in-depth knowledge of the organization’s network and how it operates. This team needs to have access to data sources that can be used to look for IOCs. These data sources may include system logs, Intrusion Detection System (IDS) alerts, and firewall data.
Once potential IOCs have been identified, the threat hunting team will need to conduct further investigation to determine if there is indeed malicious activity taking place. This investigation may involve looking at web browser history, application logs, and user activity logs.
If malicious activity is found, the threat hunting team will work with the organization’s IT department to contain the threat and prevent it from causing further damage.
Why is threat hunting important?
Threat hunting is a process of proactively and incrementally searching for indications of compromise (IOCs) on systems within an organization’s network. The goal of threat hunting is to detect threats that have bypassed traditional security defenses, such as firewalls and antivirus software.
While traditional security defenses are important, they can only do so much to protect a network. Firewalls, for example, can only block known bad traffic – they cannot detect or stop new or unknown threats. This is where threat hunting comes in. By proactively looking for IOCs on systems within a network, threat hunters can detect and stop threats that would otherwise go undetected.
Threat hunting is important because it helps to close the gap between when a intrusion occurs and when it is detected. In many cases, intrusions go undetected for weeks or even months – during which time data can be stolen, copied, or deleted without being noticed. By regularly conducting threat hunts, organizations can reduce the amount of time that an intrusion goes undetected, and minimize the damage caused by the intrusion.
What are the steps of threat hunting?
- Identify what you’re looking for: The first step of threat hunting is to identify what you’re looking for. This includes understanding your organization’s vulnerabilities and the type of threats that could exploit them.
- Collect data: Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is to collect data from various sources. This data can come from security tools, such as intrusion detection systems or firewall logs, as well as other sources, like user activity logs.
- Analyze data: After collecting data, the next step is to analyze it to look for signs of malicious activity. This includes identifying anomalous behavior that could indicate an ongoing attack or indicators of compromise that suggest a past breach.
- Take action: If you find evidence of an active attack or indications that your system has been compromised, the next step is to take action to mitigate the threat and limit the damage. This may involve anything from blocking malicious traffic to disinfecting infected systems.
Who should be involved in threat hunting?
In general, threat hunting should be a team effort that includes cyber security analysts, incident responders, and forensics experts. However, depending on the size and scope of your organization, you may also want to involve other departments such as IT, Legal, and HR.
The most important thing is to make sure that everyone who is involved in threat hunting understands their role and is properly trained. This will help ensure that the process runs smoothly and that everyone knows what to do in case of a potential threat.
How to get started with threat hunting?
If you’re interested in becoming a threat hunter, there are a few things you need to know. First and foremost, threat hunting requires a strong understanding of cyber security. This includes an in-depth knowledge of how attacks are carried out, as well as the tools and techniques used by attackers.
In addition to having a strong technical foundation, threat hunters must also be able to think like an attacker. This means being able to understand their mindset and motivations. Only then can you truly anticipate their next move and stay one step ahead.
Finally, threat hunting is not a solo activity. It’s important to have a team of experienced hunters that you can rely on for support and advice. Together, you can share information and resources, which will help make your hunt more effective.
The benefits of threat hunting
Threat hunting is a proactive approach to cyber security that involves proactively searching for signs of malicious activity on a company’s network. By taking a proactive approach, companies can better protect themselves against cyber threats.
There are many benefits to threat hunting, including:
- Improved detection of malware and other threats: By looking for signs of malicious activity, threat hunters can more effectively detect malware and other threats. This improved detection can help companies to better protect themselves against attacks.
- Faster response to incidents: By proactively searching for signs of malicious activity, threat hunters can quickly identify incidents and take steps to mitigate the damage. This faster response can help to minimize the impact of an attack.
- Reduced false positives: By proactively searching for signs of malicious activity, threat hunters can reduce the number of false positives (incorrectly identified threats). This can help companies to focus their resources on more serious threats.
- Improved visibility into the network: Threat hunting provides security teams with improved visibility into the network, which can help them to identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to mitigate them.
- Increased intelligence gathering: Through threat hunting, security teams can gather intelligence about new threats and learn more about existing ones. This intelligence can help companies to better protect themselves against future attacks.
The difference between threat hunting and incident response
Threat hunting and incident response may seem similar, but they are actually quite different. Here’s a look at the key differences between these two important cybersecurity disciplines:
Threat hunting is a proactive approach to security that involves proactively searching for signs of malicious activity. Incident response, on the other hand, is a reactive approach that only kicks in after an incident has occurred.
Threat hunting requires a lot of manual effort and expertise, as it involves sifting through large amounts of data to look for patterns of suspicious behavior. Incident response, on the other hand, can be automated to some extent and is often more straightforward, as it simply involves following a predetermined set of steps to contain and resolve an incident.
Threat hunting is typically only done by experienced security professionals, while incident response can be handled by anyone with basic training.
In short, threat hunting is a more sophisticated and difficult process than incident response, but it can be very effective in stopping attacks before they happen.
Tools for threat hunting
There are many different tools that can be used for threat hunting. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Splunk: Splunk is a powerful tool that can be used to search through large data sets for signs of malicious activity.
- Elasticsearch: Elasticsearch is another tool that can be used to search through data sets for signs of malicious activity.
- LogRhythm: LogRhythm is a tool that can be used to monitor and analyze log files for signs of malicious activity.
- Hunchly: Hunchly is a tool that can be used to create and track investigative cases.
- Maltego: Maltego is a tool that can be used to perform link analysis.
In conclusion, threat hunting is an important process in the field of cyber security. By proactively searching for indicators of compromise,security analysts can prevent attacks before they happen. While it requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to be effective, threat hunting can be a valuable tool in the fight against cyber crime.