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What is Proactive Threat Hunting?

Proactive threat hunting is the process of probing lurked in threats that often goes undetected in a network. With the exponential rise in cyber threats in proportion to the complete digital shift of environments, initial endpoint security systems find it hard on the course.
Intrusions by expert cyber hackers stay long haul to the network, bedding them across valuable data and login credentials. Sooner, the path gets even more flexible for them to traverse through the entire infrastructure framework.

Once an intruder gets into the big picture of penetrating network defences, it requires advanced threat protections mechanisms to cease their path. Many organizations lack the needed capability to reverse or barricade the after backs. And here is where proactive threat hunting stiffens your defence model.


The Three Strategic Questions

While business enterprises lean on traditional defence strategies and security mechanisms, consider these three questions that reflect the importance of effective threat hunting. 

(1) Do you have skilled in-house human professionals for threat hunting ?

For a stat, three fourth of the organizations lack qualified hands for effective threat hunting. While deficiency stays on one end, the affordability factor coins the flip side. Threat hunters require deep knowledge of active threats on the surface, and at the same time, need to track various sprouting trends of attacks. In such situations, outsourced threat hunting services is the best option that gleams the required expertise. Additionally, organizations can avoid the affordability barrier of hiring full-time security professionals for the same. 

(2) Do you have adequate tools for threat hunting?

Consider the tools you go equipped with while conducting threat hunting mechanisms. Even if you take the aid of professional cyber security specialists, knowing the ideal array of tools is one significant factor. Here is where grabbing a proactive threat hunting service can benefit you out of the challenge. They come well-equipped with the right tools to actively hunt down the unknowns of your network. It can extend from AI-based behavioural identification tools, phishing catchers towards data plotting tools and many.

(3) Do you have a well-defined strategic plan for threat hunting?

A strategic plan is much needed to detect behavioural changes and patterns while connecting threat hunting techniques. Many large organizations still depend on legacy systems and networks, and automated alerts won’t be just enough to catch the intrudes. Proactive threat intelligence provides deeper insights on current and future threats, aiding better defence and mitigation strategies in cyberspace. Open-source intelligence, human intelligence, social media intelligence, etc., are some of the threat intelligence sources.

Stairways of Threat Hunting

(1) Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a statement that is a logical path of attackers involving their tactics, techniques, and procedures. It defines hunter ideas using methods of threat intelligence.

(2) Collect and process data

Threat hunting requires quality intelligence to gather, centralize and process data. Threat hunters use SIEM software to dive into an enterprise’s IT environment.

(3) Trigger

A hypothesis could be a trigger that aids threat hunters to investigate a specific area or system using advanced threat detection tools.

(4) Investigate

Threat hunting uses investigating technologies such as EDR (Endpoint Detection & Response) that helps them advance into the network and system anomalies.

(5) Response

All data responses from malicious activities get fed into automated security technologies, providing an effective response and threat mitigation at the earliest.


Threat Hunting Methodologies

  • Intel-based hunting:

Intel-based threat hunting technique uses input sources of intelligence(IoC, IP address, hash values, domain names) to hunt down the threats. The process correlates with your SIEM, aiding with real-time analysis of security threats.

  • Hypothesis-based hunting:

It involves three types of hypotheses for threat hunting

  1. Analytics-driven – Uses machine learning and entity behaviour to formulate a hypothesis.
  2. Intelligence-driven – Revolves around malware analysis, vulnerability scans and intelligence reports.
  3. Situational-awareness driven- Business risk assessments and spotting critical business assets.
  • Investigation using indicators:

It is the proactive threat hunting technique that identifies persistent threats and other malware attacks. It uses indicators of attacks and TTP to identify threat actors. The hunter walks through the environment and locates patterns through keen monitoring. The process lets them explore the malicious path, identify threats and isolate them more effectively.

  • Hybrid hunting:

The threat hunting technique is a blend of all the above. The industry-based hunting model uses situational awareness, other hunting requisites to customize the hunt. You can likewise utilize a theory/hypothesis as the trigger and influence the IoAs.

Importance of Threat Hunting

Let us dig from the root. Attackers might intrude on your network and systems for many possible reasons. They might be stealing valid login credentials, misusing sensitive data or even can turn your entire IT architecture upside down through a single vulnerable point. Intruders can go unknown for a long time using advanced attacking mechanisms and could cause damages to your intellectual properties.

Threat hunting is the mechanism that raises a countermeasure to these advanced attacks by exploiting and hunting down the threats before an attacker feed those points. Today’s malware could get across antivirus software protections with advancement and evolving attacking patterns and trends. Attackers usually get in and flourish their roots, and it is a matter of time they require to cause hefty after backs. The cost, impact and the verge of damage grow with every tick of an attacker presence in your network.

Proactive Threat Hunting helps enterprises discover the unknown zone of threats that can sooner change into something worst. It helps to reduce the overall risk element and time spend on incident response and action plans against any recorded issue. The hunting process help in lowering the impacts of an attacker being able to cause damage to the organization’s system and data. It is also an element of assurance that your sensitive information won’t get compromised or misused with a proper threat hunting model.

While networks grow complex and enterprise working patterns far-flung, the SOC teams face lesser visibility, allowing attackers to infiltrate and swim flexibly. Proactive threat hunting techniques add the much-needed visibility options at endpoints, ensuring needed security. Visibility for your network incorporates.

  • Access privileges and controls
  • Data access permissions
  • Application usability


Benefits of Proactive Threat Hunting

1. Unknown threat discovery

Proactive threat hunting helps to uncover hidden security threats that hide in system networks and environs. It also aids in finding out perpetrators who have already penetrated your security line of defence. It also makes you aware of your vulnerable sights that can offer future bread to attackers. Proactive threat detection safe exploits all possible breach points and helps in malware discoveries that are not possible by traditional tools.

2. Increased threat coverage

Threat discovery maturity gets improved as proactive threat detection penetrates deeper vulnerable points and explores the complete threat factors hanging in your IT environment. This infiltration process uncovers known vulnerabilities, unknown threats, security concerns, issues and other vulnerable points that may connect to a breach in the near future.

3. Improved security posture

The hunting process can strengthen organizations security defence by proactively catching the threats and proposing action plans for immediate mitigation. The experience garnered by security professionals in implementing the same could make them more erect and solid for future security threats. It not only addresses the lurked in threats but provides the required resilience, improving your cyber security posture.

4. Beyond alerts and IoCs

SIEM alerts or IoCs are required and provide a good deal of incident response for enterprises, but most threat hunts are open-ended searches and not filtered by alerts and IoCs. Proactive threat hunting is a next-level technique that can aid enterprises to knock down even advanced intrusion activities, staying one step ahead of traditional alert mechanisms.

5. Swift incident response

The threat hunting process accelerates the incident response time by effectively searching through abnormal behaviours, identifying malicious threats and transferring the patch to the IR team within no time. There are ad-hoc hunts that identify attack patterns more promptly and quickly, which is the most needed. The swift incident response trait for proactive threat hunting makes it a tool that best bids the security of your enterprise.

6. Improving SOC efficiency

Proactive threat hunting is an iterative, human-driven, and analytical technique to probe lurked in threats. It wraps the best resource tools, skilled professionalism, repetitive monitoring, and behavioural pattern searching mechanisms that could automatically escalate the efficiency of the security operation centre. It also means lowering false positives and time-wasting, fostering the SOC team to focus on the accurate areas that need improvement.

Summing Up

Threat hunting aids you to detect and pop out advanced threats or malicious activities that intrude in your network or system premises. Malicious actors will continue to look around business environs with newer and innovative intrusion mechanisms. While technology will keep advancing, risk factors also rise to the occasion, making it hard for organizations lacking security bounding. Enterprises need to be mindful of insider threats and the need to safeguard their business infrastructure. Proactive threat hunting is one efficient technique that can effectively scale your business maturity, and at the same time, helps you correct your security posture on the go.




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