Threat Hunting as a Tool for Tackling an Increased Volume of Cyber Attacks

9. September 19

Cyber attacks continue to pose one of the biggest threats to countless organizations around the globe, disrupting their operations and inflicting long-lasting damages, and threat actors keep coming up with new ways to breach systems that are getting increasingly difficult to detect and protect against. A recent Ponemon study shows exactly how big of a challenge the detection of data breaches has become and the rising costs resulting from them. According to the institute’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach is USD 3.9 million, with the average time of detection just slightly below 200 days, noting an increase over previous years, which means attackers’ techniques are becoming more sophisticated and advanced and security teams are having hard time keeping up with them.

Incident Response Challenges

Faced with such a huge volume of attacks and working in circumstances that are continuously plagued by a lack of experienced professionals and an overwhelming number of tools and systems they need to control and monitor, security teams often have the impossible task of having to stave off attackers and preventing data breaches.

In this kind of environment, ensuring an effective incident response plan that would help detect and mitigate all threats in a timely manner and minimize the impact of an attack is really difficult, with threat actors taking advantage of the situation and exploiting these gaps in the security strategy of organizations for huge financial gains.

That is why organizations need to continue to reinvent and improve their security systems and adapt to attackers’ techniques and tactics. One of the ways to do that is by implementing new tools and solutions that allow security teams to stay one step ahead of threat actors and be more prepared for future threats. Threat hunting is one of those solutions, as its goal is to provide security teams with crucial information about attackers’ techniques so that they can adjust their strategy and address the potential gaps in their systems.

Threat Hunting for a More Effective Incident Response

Threat hunting is the process of searching for cyber threats, which may include both trying to pinpoint existing vulnerabilities in your own defense system, as well as actively looking for advanced persistent threats that have already breached your security perimeter and have gone unnoticed for prolonged periods of time.

It is basically a set of actions that are aimed at discovering threats that have somehow managed to find their way into an organization’s network and stay there for a while as attackers try to find a way to do some serious damage and maximize the potential gain from their exploit. To be able to track down these advanced persistent threats (APTs) and discover the vulnerabilities in their security system in the process, security operations center (SOC) analysts rely on threat intelligence data, which helps them find the indicators of compromise (IoCs) as one of the firsts steps towards detecting a threat and determining the attack vector.

Threat intelligence involves gathering data from past attacks and information related to current threat actor activities and analyzing it in order to get a complete picture about the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP) that attackers employ, which enables security teams to find advanced persistent threats in their systems more easily and react accordingly so that they can prevent the damages these threats can cause.

Using various external sources and frameworks like MITRE ATT@CK, which collects, stores and shares information related to tactics and procedures of threat actors around the globe, threat intelligence operations are a crucial element of a successful threat hunting effort that is ultimately aimed at getting the upper hand on attackers and reducing the risk of falling victim to a malware, ransomware or spearphishing campaign.

If you want to learn more about how threat hunting and threat intelligence operations can help you improve your security of your organization’s network, please contact us at sales@quoscient.io.

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