Threat Hunting: Unmasking the Shadows: Mastering the Art of Threat Hunting

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Threat hunting is a proactive cybersecurity method that entails actively searching for threats or suspicious activities that may have evaded existing security safeguards. It is an iterative process that involves identifying, investigating, and responding to possible dangers before they cause harm to an organization using a combination of automated technologies and human skills. 

 There are three core threat-hunting investigation types : 

  • Structured: Cyber security hunting is based on an indication of attack (IoA) as well as an attacker’s tactics, methods, and procedures (TTPs). Structured hunting, which employs the MITRE Adversary Tactics Techniques and Common Knowledge (ATT & CK®) paradigm, enables threat hunters to detect a hostile actor before they cause harm to the network. 
  • Unstructured: Based on a trigger or indicator of compromise (IoC), threat hunters use unstructured hunting to search for any noticeable patterns throughout the network both before and after a trigger or IoC was found. 
  • Situational or Threat Intelligence Based: Hypotheses are derived from situational circumstances, such as vulnerabilities discovered during a network risk assessment. The latest threat intelligence can also lead to cyber threat hunting, as threat hunters can reference internal or crowdsourced data on cyberattack trends or TTPs of attackers when analyzing their network. 

Threat hunters sift through events for abnormalities, vulnerabilities, or suspect activities outside of expected or authorized occurrences in all three categories of investigations. If security flaws or strange activities are discovered, hunters can repair the network before a hack happens or reoccurs.  

Threat hunting may employ a variety of methodologies and technologies, including network traffic analysis, log analysis, endpoint monitoring, and vulnerability scanning. It necessitates qualified security specialists who are well familiar with the organization’s infrastructure, security posture, and potential attack vectors. When danger is identified, threat hunters must act rapidly to investigate, contain, and reduce any possible damage. 

Threat Hunting Steps 

The process of proactive cyber threat hunting typically involves three steps: a trigger, an investigation, and a resolution. 

Step 1: The Trigger 

When sophisticated detection systems notice odd activities that may suggest a malicious activity, a trigger directs threat hunters to a specific system or region of the network for additional study. A notion about a new threat is frequently the catalyst for proactive hunting. A security team, for example, may look for sophisticated threats that employ techniques like file-less malware to circumvent existing defenses. 

Step 2: Investigation 

During the investigation phase, the threat hunter uses technologies like EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) to conduct a thorough examination of a system’s possible hostile intrusion. The inquiry will continue until either the activity is determined to be benign or a comprehensive picture of the harmful behavior is developed. 

Step 3: Resolution 

The resolution step entails conveying pertinent malicious activity intelligence to operations and security teams so that they may respond to the event and minimize dangers. The information obtained regarding both harmful and benign activities may be fed into automated systems to increase their efficacy without the need for additional human intervention. 

Threat Hunting Typically Involves The Following Steps: 

  • Define The Scope: The first stage is to establish the scope of the hunt, which includes the assets and systems that will be watched, the period for the search, and the sorts of risks that will be explored.   
  • Collect Data: The next stage is to collect data from multiple sources, such as logs, network traffic, and endpoint data.  
  • Analyse Data: The acquired data is then analyzed to discover any abnormalities or unusual activities that may suggest a possible danger.  
  • Investigate: Once a possible danger has been detected, the following step is to examine it further to identify the nature and degree of the threat.  
  • Remediate: Finally, the danger must be managed and remediated in order to prevent future harm to the organization.  

Threat hunting necessitates a mix of technical knowledge, analytical abilities, and a thorough awareness of the organization’s IT architecture and security posture. It is an essential component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and can help organizations stay ahead of emerging threats and protect their critical assets. 

There Are A Few Benefits To Threat Hunting: 

  • Improved threat detection: It can help organizations to identify and respond to threats that may not be detected by traditional security controls. 
  • Reduced risk: It can help organizations to reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack. 
  • Improved security posture: Threat hunting can help organizations to improve their security posture by identifying and remediating vulnerabilities. 
  • Increased visibility: Threat hunting can help organizations to gain greater visibility into their security posture and identify areas where improvements can be made. 

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