With the growing technological world, cyberattacks are evolving to be more sophisticated than ever; furthermore, a lack of attention given to cyber threats—due to budget, technology, processes, and above all, the team of experts—has led to an increase in the number of successful malware attacks. Therefore, companies strive to implement rapid response to mitigate potential damage resulting from them. Many attacks today are stealthy, targeted, and data-focused and may go unnoticed by traditional incident response methods. This is where threat hunters enter the scene.
What is Threat Hunting?
Organizations can adopt two cybersecurity stances to strengthen and improve their cybersecurity posture; the first (reactive), is to acquire traditional detection and prevention methods such as IDS, IPS, firewalls, and SIEM whereas the second (proactive) is to use offensive tactics, i.e. those found in threat-hunting programs.
Threat hunting is a process of proactively searching through networks in pursuit of attacks and evidence that attackers leave behind when they are conducting reconnaissance, malware, or data exfiltration attacks. Instead of waiting for traditional methods to detect an attack and alert us, we can employ human analytical skills and knowledge of environment context to detect unauthorized activities much faster and more efficiently— or simply, threat hunters.
Who is a Cyber Threat Hunter?
Threat hunters, or cybersecurity threat analysts, are information security professionals who proactively and iteratively detect, isolate, and neutralize advanced threats that elude automated security solutions. They aim to uncover incidents that would otherwise be undiscovered to organizations and report them to chief information security officers (CISOs) and chief information officers (CIOs), and if working in a security operations center (SOC), to the SOC manager. Threat hunters look for attackers that get in under the radar, through vulnerabilities a company may not even know exists.
The proactivity of threat hunters and their work is what sets it apart from traditional threat detection methods. Rather than just waiting for an attack to trip an alarm, threat hunters takes a comprehensive, holistic approach to proactively monitor for and identify suspicious activity, so organizations can take action earlier and avoid, or minimize the damage.
Threat Hunting before Threat detection
Threat detection refers to the set of activities and processes of analyzing data in a security ecosystem to find any malicious activity in a network. It aims to analyze a network’s threat level and search for any indicator of a threat as well as determine required mitigations in response.
Threat hunting is the root of threat detection that identifies threats at the earliest possible phase of an attack before it can be executed.
Threat Hunter Responsibilities and skills
Some skills for a good threat hunter include:
Data analytics: a threat hunter is expected to monitor an environment and analyze it comprehensively. By relying on technology and understanding data science methodologies and data analytics, tools, and techniques, threat hunters should be able to do pattern recognition, technical writing, data science, problem-solving, and more.
Forensics: threat hunters need the skill to be able to investigate the root cause for deployment and capabilities and the extent of the damage and exposure of any malware or attacks.
Network knowledge: including a deep understanding of how systems work together in an environment, contextual knowledge and awareness of an IT environment, and understanding what normal behavior and patterns look like on a network.
Today’s highly advanced threats cannot be detected solely with programmatic solutions. A threat hunter is responsible for hunting for insider threats, such as an employee of the organization, or outside attackers, such as an organized crime group, as well as searching for hidden threats to prevent the attack from happening and protecting the company and personal information from disclosure. Threat hunters have to use a wide variety of Threat Intelligence tools and websites and to state findings in written reports.
Threat Hunter’s Maturity Model
Threat hunters are required to use software and tools to find suspicious activities. With the help of security monitoring tools, SIEM solutions, and analytics tools, threat hunters can search for unknown threats, combining evidence, and chase anomalies, build a comprehensive map of all hacker activities.
SANS Threat Hunting Course
Ec-Council Threat Hunting Course
Why Organizations need Threat Hunters
Threat hunting has developed into a dedicated security component of organizations in recent years. Threat hunters will present several major advantages to companies that choose a proactive approach; this includes reducing exposure to external threats, improving the speed and accuracy of threat response, and reducing the number of breaches and infections.
There is ample available data on cyber security salaries in addition to cyber security careers being lucrative; however, the average global salary for Cyber Threat Hunter is estimated to be $74,000. In the United States, the average ranges from $80,000 to $90,000 a year. In Sweden, threat hunters earn an average of $3,500-5,000, in Norway $10,000-12,000, and Denmark 5,000-7,000 US dollars. Finding and hiring a skilled threat hunter is extremely hard and expensive, especially with the growth in demand for experts; above all, there has been a lack of expertise in most European countries which has lead to a drastic leap in the frequency and size of targeted cyberattacks.
SecureMind will help you find experts who fit your organizations’ needs by minimizing the time and expenditure. SecureMind will directly connecting you to threat hunters and SOC analysts from all around the world through our Securedetction platform.
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