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Threat Hunting

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Topic Security

What is Threat Hunting?

When it comes to cyber security, a dynamic rather than a reactive approach is always better. Threat actors are constantly evolving their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and the malware they use to evade security software. Chances are, eventually, an attacker will get through. Once threat actors are within a network, they can sit undetected for months, quietly harvesting all the data they need to sell on the cyber underground or move laterally through your networks to conduct further damage.

Threat hunters proactively seek out the threats that have snuck past defenses and are lurking undetected within their networks. By reducing the time between intrusion and discovery, threat hunters can mitigate the risk of impact from a cyber attack. And when the cost of a data breach goes beyond the bottom line, impairing reputation and even public safety, it is a key part of any security strategy.

How is Threat Hunting Done?

The systematic search for potential cyber threats within an organization’s systems begins with a hypothesis. The threat hunters will then confirm, refine, or disprove their hypothesis through the analysis of data. There are three main types of threat hunting:

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A structure hunt uses Indicators of Attack (IOA) and the TTPs of an attacker as a framework for the hunt. By approaching the search through the methodologies previously used by an attacker, the hunter aims to identify the threat actor as early as possible within their attack.

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An Indicator of Compromise (IOC) triggers an unstructured threat hunt. The hunter can perform an unstructured search of the network as far before and after the appearance of the IoC data retention allows, to look for patterns that indicate a breach.

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This type of threat hunting is driven in response to internal circumstances of the organization, such as a risk assessment. It uses a customized strategy to identify threats to high-risk targets within the organization.

What Can You Do?

Threat hunters must have a solid understanding of their organization’s baseline in order to easily single out atypical behavior. It also helps for hunters to keep their finger on the pulse of their organizations, understanding how business activities, such as new acquisitions or staff, may present an attractive target.

Without data, threat hunters are blinded. Provide threat hunting teams with a wealth of both current and historic data from enough sources to provide visibility across the entire network. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software could be utilized to provide a structured insight into an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Automating manual tasks within threat hunting can greatly help speed up investigations and free up the threat hunting team for more complex tasks. For example, orchestrating search processes with workflows to identify further evidence can reduce the amount of manual investigation required.

Threat actors are employing more sophisticated methods of bypassing existing cyber security. Ensure you are continually updating your knowledge of TTPs and IOCs with up to the minute intelligence to give threat hunters the information they need to recognise and track threats.

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How Can Intel 471 help?

Our analysts have native understanding of both the language and culture of the ecosystems they are infiltrating. This provides you with a level of insight into the ever-evolving TTPs of threat actors that other CTI providers cannot match. Use our intelligence reports to inform and focus your threat hunters’ detection of unknown threats as quickly as possible.

We track malware families and threat actors to create intelligence reports and a live feed of high fidelity, file- and network-based IOCs. These can be operationalized by your threat hunting teams within searches and quickly detect and quarantine suspicious behavior in the future.

Threat hunters need to look at their organization as an attacker would. Intel 471’s Attack Surface Protection not only maps your digital facing assets and highlights vulnerabilities within it, but it extends the monitoring of your attack surface into the underground, alerting you to any threat that is found to your organization here. The discovery of an exposed cloud database, or the sale of compromised credentials on the cyber underground to a forgotten asset can direct hunters where to begin the search for an attacker.

We are your window into the cyber underground. Use our unrivaled Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) products to act as a powerful extension to your threat hunting team. Overtake the threat actors, so you can identify and disrupt advanced persistent threats (APTs) before they strike. Intel 471 can help in the following ways: