What is Threat Hunting?

27.09.2019 Read

If you are involved in the cyber security processes, you must have heard of the term threat hunting. In this article, we discussed this rather popular concept in detail. Being one of the buzzing concepts of cyber security, threat hunting has been increasingly popular, but what does it refer to? Do you need it? Should you be doing it? We will answer all these questions in detail.

What is threat hunting?

The practice of threat hunting refers to the proactive search for malicious actors and contents in your system. At any given time, there might be malware or even cyber attackers sneaking around in your network. They can go unnoticed for an extended period of time, meanwhile stealing valuable and sensitive information, tapping into your confidential communications, or even worse, stealthily making their way to acquiring credentials that will allow them to seize the control of your whole network. With threat hunting practices, you specifically focus on the undetected threats in your network. When doing the ‘hunt, your cyber security professionals dig deep into your organization’s network in order to find any malicious actor that might have slipped through your initial defences and concealed itself in the darkness.

What is the difference between threat management and threat hunting?

In threat management, your cyber security team takes action in the light of evidence-based data, or in other words, after there has been a warning or a notification of a security event.

For this practice, various tools are used, such as IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems), malware detection software, firewalls or SIEM solutions. On the other hand, cyber threat hunting happens before any notification or alert of a security incident. There are three different approaches to this practice:

  1. Hypothesis-driven cyber threat hunt: This approach involves the identification of a TTP. Once it is identified with the help of a massive pool of attack data, your security team takes action.
  2. IOC or IOA based cyber threat hunt: This approach involves the utilization of information provided by IOC and IOAs. Your security team uses known IOC and IOAs as the triggers that notify them on potential threats, stealthy attacks and/or malicious activity.
  3. Investigations based on machine learning: With this approach, the impressive power of machine learning and data analysis tools are combined. Such tools are used to comb through massive amounts of data gathered from all around your systems and network in order to detect potential malicious behaviour, suspicious activity, irregularities and trends.

Why do you need threat hunting?

With threat hunting practices, you adopt a proactive approach to security incident. You take necessary precautions before security threats turn into irreversible catastrophes. Threat hunting practices are indispensable to keep your organization safe because cyber threats and methods of hackers keep evolving in a way that allows them to go undetected by even most advanced threat management tools.

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