29. August 2023 12:30
As businesses, governments, and individuals continue to rely on digital systems and networks, the threat landscape has evolved into a complex and dynamic arena. In response to this ever-evolving landscape, cybersecurity professionals have developed a proactive approach known as "threat hunting."
What Is Threat Hunting
Threat hunting is an approach that involves the diligent pursuit of malicious activities and potential security breaches that have either evaded or may evade conventional security protocols. In contrast to reactive methods that rely on recognizing familiar threats, threat hunting entails a proactive tactic centered around uncovering both previously undiscovered and highly sophisticated threats. It requires the skill of navigating the expansive digital landscape while carefully surveying for signs of compromise before they escalate into fully matured and disruptive cyber incidents.
Significance Of Threat Hunting
- Proactive Detection: Threat hunting allows organizations to identify threats before they escalate into full-blown incidents, preventing potential damage.
- Uncover Hidden Threats: It helps in finding threats that evade traditional security measures, including advanced and sophisticated attacks.
- Early Incident Response: By detecting threats early, organizations can respond swiftly, reducing the time adversaries have to operate undetected.
- Understanding Attack Patterns: Organizations gain insights into attackers' tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), enabling better defenses against similar attacks in the future.
- Customized Defense Strategies: Threat hunting identifies specific weaknesses in an organization's environment, leading to targeted and more effective security measures.
- Improving Security Posture: Consistent threat hunting enhances overall security readiness and resilience, bolstering the organization's cybersecurity posture.
- Security Knowledge Enrichment: Security teams continuously learn about new attack vectors and techniques through threat hunting, keeping their skills up-to-date.
- Timely Threat Intelligence: Threat hunting provides actionable intelligence that organizations can use to update their threat models and improve threat detection systems.
- Regulatory Compliance: Effective threat hunting can assist in meeting compliance requirements by ensuring thorough monitoring and response to potential threats.
- Confidence Building: Identifying and neutralizing threats proactively instills confidence in stakeholders, customers, and partners, demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity.
- Hypothesis-Driven Hunting: This approach involves formulating hypotheses about potential threats based on intelligence and data. Security analysts then proactively search for evidence to confirm or refute these hypotheses.
- Behavioral Analytics: By establishing a baseline of normal behavior, threat hunters can identify anomalies that may indicate a breach. Deviations from the norm could be indicative of malicious activity.
- Threat Intelligence-Driven Hunting: Threat intelligence provides valuable insights into emerging threats, attack vectors, and hacker techniques. Threat hunters leverage this intelligence to search for signs of these threats within their networks proactively.
- Anomaly Detection: This entails the utilization of machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies that human analysts might overlook due to the immense volume of data at hand.
Tools of Threat Hunting
- SIEM (Security Information and Event Management): SIEM solutions collect and analyze data from various sources to identify potential security incidents.
- EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response): EDR tools focus on monitoring and responding to threats at the endpoint level, providing visibility into activities on individual devices.
- Network Traffic Analysis Tools: These tools scrutinize network traffic to identify suspicious patterns or behaviors that might indicate a compromise.
- Threat Intelligence Platforms: These platforms aggregate threat intelligence from various sources, aiding threat hunters in staying informed about emerging threats.
For information on cybersecurity solutions, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.
Cyber-attacks have become sophisticated and are now capable of causing long-term effects on organizations. Thus, businesses need to prepare comprehensive cybersecurity policies. The first step to drafting a cybersecurity policy is to be aware of the threats.
Here are the types of cyber-attacks that an organization is most likely to face:
- Brute Force Attack: Under this type of attack, the attackers adopt a trial and error approach to guess the password to a system or user account. They try every possible combination of passwords or passphrases until the account is unlocked. Brute force attacks are expedited by using software or tools that can push many possible passwords in a short time. Some of the tools used by cybercriminals include Aircrack-ng, Crack, Hashcat, Hydra, etc.
- Use complex passwords and change them regularly
- Set a limit on number of login attempts
- Enable captchas
- Employ multi-factor authentication
- Credential Stuffing: Credential stuffing cyber-attack is based on the assumption that users tend to keep the same password across multiple accounts. Attackers use a database of compromised credentials (password breach database available on the dark web containing stolen credentials from data breaches) to gain unauthorized access to an account. The attackers use bots for automating and scaling up the attack. The hacked accounts can be used for financial theft, fraudulent transactions, misuse of stored data, etc.
- Employ multi-step login process throughout the organization
- Blacklist suspicious IP addresses
- Use techniques such as device fingerprinting
- Phishing & Spear Phishing: Phishing is one of the most common cyber-attack types. Attackers frame an email that looks legitimate with a seemingly trusted source to trick targets into providing personal details. The emails generally include matters that would require a user to act in a hurry; for example, the email may mention that the user needs to verify his details within a few minutes to avoid being charged a penalty or account suspension by his financial institution. The attackers use technical knowledge in conjunction with social engineering to design a successful phishing attack. Spear phishing is a more targeted attack where the attackers research the target to prepare a more personalized message or email.
- Be wary of emails from unknown sources
- Before clicking on a link, hover over it to see the destination
- Pay close attention to email headers
- Malware Attacks: Malware is a broad term representing attacks where malicious software is downloaded on the target device to steal, encrypt, or delete sensitive data for business or financial benefits. Majorly known forms of malware include adware, bots, ransomware, and Trojans.
- Use a dedicated tool for adware removal
- Install firewall and keep the system up-to-date
- Perform frequent backup
- Avoid downloads from unknown sources
Centex Technologies is committed to helping clients understand cyber-attacks and formulate an effective strategy to stay protected. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.