What are Threat Hunting and the use of threat hunting tools?
Getting to know threat hunting tools get more important when we recognize that cybercrime groups are now building hard-to-detect tools and deploying techniques making it quite difficult for organizations to tell if they are being intruded.
Passive methods of detecting signs of intrusion are becoming less practical as environments are complicated. no systems or technologies can absolutely find out malicious activities. thus, humans must “go for a hunt.”
Threats are conducted by humans; threat actors are persistent, and they often manage to dodge network defense. For instance, the actors behind an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) manipulate to gain unauthorized access to a network. They operate for along duration. Persistent and funded threat actors will not be caught by the security measures taken on the plexus.
Threat hunting tools make you capable to implement a proactive method with a focus on the pursuit of attacks. They found the evidence that attackers leave behind when they are conducting reconnaissance, malware, or data exfiltration attacks. Instead of waiting for technological methods to detect an attack and alert us, we can employ man analytical skills and knowledge of environment context to detect unauthorized activities much faster and more efficiently.
Threat hunting tools make the premature discovery of an attack possible. It aims to stop the attack before it is carried out successfully.
Using threat hunting tools is not a new concept, but it has been a trending topic in the cybersecurity industry lately. As the name suggests, threat hunting is about proactively looking for intruders and signs of potential future intrusions instead of using passive methods of detecting Threats, and waiting for clear signs of an intrusion as these methods are becoming outdated.
Why Cyber-Attacks Happen?
Threat actors such as cybercrime organizations, nation-state hackers, and hackers for hire have various motivations to attack an organization:
- Financial gain: Threat actors steal information for direct or indirect financial gain; for instance, hackers steal credit card data to financially profit from them. Hackers can also compromise a corporate database to gain access to personal information and sell it on the dark web.
- Theft of intellectual property: Hackers steal information on military or industrial secrets, trade secrets, and infringements on products such as aircraft, car, weapon, and electronic parts, sometimes intending to spy on adversaries.
- Disruption of critical infrastructure: Hackers disrupt or sabotage systems such as electric power generation and distribution, water supplies, and transportation systems to create chaos.
- Political statement: Hackers and “hacktivists” attack sites to make a political statement; back in 2016, the hacktivist group, known as “Anonymous,” threatened to attack Donald Trump’s website that was, at the time, a United States presidential candidate.
- Revenge: Revenge hacking sometimes happens when companies dismiss employees who have confidential information that can be used to cause massive damage to the company.
- Fame: In the hacker community, hackers are respected and recognized for compromising sites with a high-security level. However, the purpose remains the same; compromising sensitive data or disruption of business operations or sometimes both.
- Everyone nowadays is aware of the fact that security breaches happen regularly, and they cause massive damage. Security breaches have become so ordinary that they are now being ignored, and this growing number of data breaches makes us question whether we can avoid or prevent them at all.
So, what are Threat Hunting tools exactly?
Threat hunting tools are, quite simply, the pursuit of abnormal activity on servers and endpoints. That may be signs of compromise, intrusion, or exfiltration of data.
The concept of threat hunting tools is not something new. However, for many organizations, the very idea of threat hunting is fresh. The Common mindset regarding intrusion is to wait until you discover that threat actors have intruded. With this approach, you will have to wait for approximately 220 days between the intrusion. The first time you would be notified of it, and the notification often comes from a third-party such as law enforcement.
By the use of threat hunting tools, threats can be detected by relying on human expertise to find evidence instead of sitting back and waiting for technological methods to alert you. Threat hunters do not just sit and wait for an alert or indicators of compromise (IOCs); they are actively looking for threats to prevent them and minimize their damage. By the use of threat hunting tools, we must look for anomalies — something that deviates from what is usual.
To conduct this procedure effectively, we require tools that give us a granular vision in this procedure. Especially in the operating systems of every endpoint and server. Things such as launched processes opened files, and network communications can be a good source of insight.
Why Organizations Should Include Threat Hunting tools while setting their Security Strategy?
Threat hunting tools are used in organizations with security awareness by some means, usually based on analysts’ hunches. The challenging matter for organizations is to make usage of threat hunting tools accessible, continuous, and consistent processes. Threat Hunting in the workflow in a way that could complement the current security measures.
Security measures of organizations with sufficient security awareness are often seen to be accompanied by threat hunting tools. However, to thoroughly turn using the threat hunting tools to their advantage, organizations require to invest in the security infrastructure. It allows threat hunters to execute and deploy threat hunting practices and tools efficiently. The type of security structure that is required to fully develop threat hunting includes tools, experts and support, and approval from decision-makers.
The threat hunting team should not be regarded as the measure that comes and fixes everything only when threats happen, instead they should be a permanent part of the security strategy.
Everyone can include threat hunting in their security strategy. But, there is a certain acumen required to get a good return on investment from it. We have to turn it into a continuous and consistent process. There are various security maturity models available for organizations to audit their security measures.
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