Five questions on Threat Hunting
by Tina Siering
Every organization faces the challenge of making its own networks as immune as possible to the growing cyber threats. This requires a basic understanding of the various IT security techniques. Threat hunting is one of these effective methods. The following five questions come up particularly frequently in connection with threat hunting.
What is Threat Hunting?
Threat hunting uses modern software and artificial intelligence to continuously analyze a network for anomalies and IOCs (Indicators of Compromise). The aim is to identify conspicuous behavior patterns and thus to detect unauthorized intruders in the network at an early stage. In recent years, a completely new threat has emerged in the form of advanced persistent threats. Advanced Persistent Threats are characterized by their highly professional execution, in which cybercriminals manage to tap security data undetected by IT under the worst circumstances.
The key difference to basic preventive security measures, such as the firewall or antivirus software, is the active approach to "cyber threat hunting". Passive security tools are not suited to defend against common and known threats, much less advanced techniques over an extended period of time. Threat hunting uses security information and event management (SIEM) solutions or the MITRE & ATT&CK framework, for example. The more information and data sets IT Security has at its disposal, the more likely it is to succeed - especially when it comes to Advanced Persistent Threats.
What are the advantages of threat hunting?
The decisive advantage of active threat hunting is that intruders are detected in a network even before they can cause damage. Threat hunters basically assume that cybercriminals have already taken up residence in the IT infrastructure to be protected. They therefore look specifically for traces that can be traced back to criminal activities.
To do this, they check every IP address connected to the network to detect IoCs. Think of this as actively checking the security integrity of the system. In sprawling network environments, it can take a lot of work to check every system. However, it is the only way to know for sure if criminal actors are already on the network. So if your goal is to maintain the integrity of your network, Threat Hunting provides the ultimate verification that you are safe.
How does threat hunting improve an organization's IT security?
While the focus is on finding intruders, threat hunting also offers the opportunity to fundamentally review established security processes: If an attacker is detected in the system, the starting point of compromise can then be identified. With threat analysis, threat hunting thus provides solid data to identify and close vulnerabilities in IT security.The global IT security situation has changed so drastically in the recent past that threat hunting should become a standard requirement in cyber security.
Does Threat Hunting also protect IoT devices?
In principle, Threat Hunting is suitable for protecting all systems within a network. This also includes IoT devices. Threat hunting focuses on log data as well as traffic on the network. IoT devices do not always record log data, so controlling direct access is not always possible. However, this also prevents manual control of accesses via log data. However, the traffic on the network, which takes place via TCP/IP, is the same for all systems. This is where threat hunting solutions are particularly effective in protecting IoT devices, partly because other IT security solutions are not compatible with these end devices.
Is there a difference between Cyber Threat Hunting and Network Threat Hunting?
Cyber threat hunting is a general term that covers all types of attacker detection. This can be on the network or on each individual host itself. Network Threat Hunting, as the name suggests, specifically looks for attackers by analyzing network traffic.
Conclusion on Threat Hunting
Threat Hunting is the ultimate test of your enterprise network security by proactively and continuously analyzing a network for anomalies. This instantly identifies attacker communications to Command & Control Servers (C&Cs). A compromise can thus be detected the moment attackers enter the system - rather than the 200 days or so it takes on average to detect a security incident.
With the Active Cyber Defense (ACD) service, secion offers a threat hunting solution as a managed service with which companies can secure their network at the highest possible level. Special software is used that monitors all systems around the clock. Suspicious cases are reported in real time. If action is required, customers are immediately informed by the response team about the detected attack activities and receive concrete recommendations for action to prevent the cyber attack.