The threat of cyber-attacks consistently grows higher when operating in the advanced and dynamic environment that is the modern century and more enterprises are at risk each day from a growing number of deadly malware. These threats do not stop to rest and neither should the threat hunting platform you choose to safeguard your business.
This may seem like a tall order for a threat hunting platform when most traditional techniques of threat hunting rely on the expertise of trained and experienced IT cyber security specialists - which are hard to find. In a cybersecurity landscape littered with tricks, traps, and pitfalls, - it is crucial to deploy only the best threat hunting tools and threat hunting platforms to protect your company.
While the term "threat hunting" itself might seem thrilling and provocative - most people actually don’t know that much about what it is - let alone what the most effective and proactive cyber threat hunting tools are for their enterprise.
What is Threat Hunting?
Threat hunting is the proactive search for cyber threats or weaknesses which could leave your IT infrastructure vulnerable to attack. Malicious software and viruses used by cyber-criminals these days can lay dormant within the network and go undetected for days by commonplace cybersecurity protocols - leaving your entire system open to ongoing insidious damage from the inside.
Traditionally, the idea of a threat hunting platform relied solely on the skills and time of analytical cybersecurity professionals but those skills are now in high demand due to a pronounced lack of qualified technicians with adequate experience, education, and instincts. This makes threat hunting much more difficult and time-consuming - not to mention the expected human error involved with outsourcing effective analysts.
These days, threat actors are just as sophisticated as those responsible for stopping them - which forces enterprises to evaluate hacker intentions and capabilities while monitoring for vulnerabilities without any of the necessary threat hunting tools or skills to effectively do so.
What Are the Threat Hunting Objectives?
The best way to determine which cyber threat hunting platform is suited to your business needs is to evaluate the potential attacker’s goals, capabilities, and opportunities:
- Goals: The type of data you collect and store, the size of your enterprise, and the amount of money that flows through your business daily are indicators of your level of risk and the types of threats your system is vulnerable to. Determining if a cyber-attack will target your customers, and your finances, or hold your business for ransom, will help you hone in on the methods of attack you will likely experience. A formative threat hunting platform solution will prioritize this detection.
- Capabilities: Staying up to date on the latest cybersecurity trends will help alert your threat-hunting platform in understanding what attacks might be launched against your network. For example, if you have determined that your most valuable company asset is customer PII, then researching the newest and most successful cyber-attacks aimed at the theft of customer information will give you a head start towards identifying any security gaps in your network.
- Opportunities: Closing the door on known and unknown vulnerabilities or threats before they can be used against you is an important way of proactively protecting your network from cyber threats - such as ransomware. Falling victim to the same exploits as other well-known companies imply a lack of awareness and professionalism to customers as well as a passive commitment to network security for your brand in general.
6 Steps of Threat Hunting
When threat hunting, there are specific steps that can be taken in order for the process to work and the actual threat to be found. These steps can be detailed into six simple steps as follows:
Step One: Form a Hypothesis
This is where threat hunters will establish what type of threat they’re looking for. The hypothesis will be informed by using analysis of previous malware attacks, trends in cybersecurity attacks and the existence of critical areas of attack. Threat hunters must make use of threat intelligent techniques to locate and develop a plan of action.
Step Two: Collection of Data
No adequate threat hunting can be done without a sufficient amount of data collection first. Information must be centralized and organized in order to critically analyze the data to determine if the hypothesis is benign or not.
Step Three: Critical Analysis
This phase of the threat hunting process is crucial and will provide the information necessary to mitigate any potential threats. Patterns and processes must be carefully monitored for anomalies and suspicious behaviors.
Step Four: Critical Response
Time is of the essence when working with threat hunting and a rapid response is necessary to ensure your network’s safety. This could include measures such as disabling users, implementing security patches, blocking IP addresses, updating authorization privileges, altering network configurations or introducing new identification requirements.
Step Five: Isolation and Elimination
This step sees the threat is appropriately dealt with in isolation. Using advanced threat detection sandboxing techniques will make sure that suspicious malware is quarantined away from other files - reducing the risk of damage to the server and automatically mitigating the threat.
Step Six: Evaluation
This is the last step of threat hunting that involves understanding the techniques and threat hunting practices that are vital to your business and implementing stricter controls over the areas in your network that run a higher risk of cyber-attacks. This allows your IT team to predict and proactively safeguard your network before any damage can be brought about. The best threat hunting tool is preventative measures.
Once these steps are involved, your threat hunting team will be ready to fight off malware but there are more threat hunting tools and techniques that can help with creating an elite cyber threat hunting platform.
What Tools and Techniques Are Used for Cyber Threat Hunting?
Cybersecurity experts use critical thinking, manual forensic investigation, and automated threat hunting tools in order to protect enterprises. Threat hunters are responsible for seeking out insider threats and outsider attack surfaces in order to hunt down potential attackers or vulnerabilities before they can become a problem - executing a well-rehearsed incident response (IR) plan. A few critical elements of any cyber threat hunting mission are:
- Data analytics & reporting
- OS & network knowledge
- Information security experience
Threat Hunting Platforms
Threat hunting platforms use different tools to fully analyze and detect a threat within the system. These are all specific in function and play vital roles in seeking out suspicious or anomalous behavior. Broadly, they are categorized into three sets of threat hunting tools:
- SIEM Solutions: These are the usual Security information and event management (SIEM) solutions available which provide real-time threat analysis and raw security data management capabilities.
- Security Monitoring Tools: These tools allow for the collection and monitoring of threats to your network’s cybersecurity through antivirus agents, firewalls, and endpoint security measures.
- Analytics Tools: Lastly, a good threat hunting platform will make use of elite analytics tools that can use statistical knowledge and provide clear and concise patterns created by network usage to indicate any potential threat.
These tools for threat hunting should be optimized with machine learning and AI technology to provide automated and advanced protection.
With all these critical threat hunting tools integrated, it would be difficult for any cyber-threat to gain access to your network, however, it is difficult to imagine any person, or even a team of people, who can keep up with the dynamic elements that make up elite threat hunting in an ever-changing IT system.
With the sheer volume of data flowing through enterprises daily, automation is vital to threat hunting processes and generating real-time threat intelligence. Enterprises of all sizes should invest in a threat hunting platform that is designed to perform all these necessary functions constantly.
Should I Choose Open Source Threat Hunting Platform or a Professional Threat Hunting Platform?
Open source threat hunting platforms do hold a higher level of accessibility to most people who think that deploying professional threat hunting tools might be too costly or include too much red tape. There’s a growing understanding that freely available and easily modified open source threat hunting gives you the comfort of cybersecurity without the hassle of admin.
Where Can I Find Open-source Cyber Threat Hunting Tools?
Most smaller enterprises choose to rely on open-source threat-hunting tools in order to maintain budget-friendly cybersecurity for their business. These options are usually freely available online but even choosing the correct one can be slightly tricky at times.
Some of the open source threat hunting tools we’ve rounded up include:
An Open Source Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that defines malicious activity and then generates alerts for users on any abnormal or suspicious activity. Snort is highly efficient for network traffic debugging and full-blown threat prevention. The tool can be downloaded and configured for personal use or for businesses.
The next open source tool is Suricata which is owned and supported by the Open Information Security Foundation (OISF), a non-profit that is committed to keeping Suricata open-sourced forever. Suricata can log HTTP requests, log and store TLS certificates, extract files from flows and store them to disk while the full pcap capture support allows easy analysis - making it a powerful engine for a threat hunting platform.
Lastly, Zeek is a threat hunting monitoring solution that interprets what it sees and creates compact, high-fidelity transaction logs, file content, and fully customized output that is suitable for manual review on disk or in a more analyst-friendly tool like a security and information event management (SIEM) system.
Without licensing fees, some enterprises seek out solutions like Snort and Suricata, both open-source, rules-based intrusion detection systems (IDS) or Zeek (formerly known as Bro) - an IDS system that focuses on network analysis but is also resource-intensive.
While open-source threat hunting tools are cheap, they are not always easy to work with and are often incorrectly configured and installed. They are also not powerful or comprehensive enough to protect an entire enterprise. Should the worst happen, and you suffer a cyber-attack, do you think your customers will congratulate you on your frugal approach to cyber security practices – or seek out a company that invests in protecting their data?
Why Professional Threat Hunting?
Professional threat hunting platforms and vendors are still the most reliant when it comes to protecting your business from cyber-threats. These expert threat hunting capabilities provide encompassing protection from stable and secure vendors who make it their priority to ensure your data is safe.
Sangfor’s Cyber Command is real-time threat intelligence, detection and response platform designed with the singular purpose of improving enterprise IT security and risk posture and presents several advantages when considering a threat hunting platform solution for your enterprise.
- Cyber Command is a fully integrative system. Having the capacity to integrate with your existing software and multiple cybersecurity and cloud compatible products allow Cyber Command to be accessible and easy to deploy within your network.
- Secure Access. While most open source threat hunting tools can be deemed sketchy and unstable, Cyber Command provides reliable and secure protection for your data from a professional perspective and gives you ease of mind knowing your cybersecurity is in good hands.
- Ease of Operation. The Cyber Command platform offers simplified operation and a holistic view of your entire network through an easily navigable dashboard as well as expert teams on-hand for every support need you might have.
- Cost Efficient. Lastly, we know that the main reason open source threat hunting is looked at before professional vendors are the implied cost of an expert threat hunting platform. Sangfor can easily mitigate those worries as they pride themselves on providing the most advanced and encompassing cybersecurity without breaking the bank.
Why Sangfor Cyber Command?
Sangfor Cyber Command addresses all of the elements critical to threat hunting, and goes well beyond any open-source tools available on the market, all with a reasonable price tag. Cyber Command is used by customers world-wide to significantly improve threat detection and response by automatically monitoring all internal network traffic, using artificial intelligence (AI), behaviour analysis. and global threat intelligence to identify and correlate all security events. Cyber Command can identify security breaches in real-time and uncover any hidden threats already lurking in your network that are waiting to attack. Integration with other network and endpoint security solutions means that Sangfor Cyber Command can automatically respond accurately and decisively when a threat is identified, giving IT experts a fighting chance at protecting their network.
See the Sangfor Cyber Command Platform and its encompassing threat hunting capabilities in action through the stories of our esteemed clients such as J&T Express, SmartCar Hardware Vendor and Zotye Auto, who have all experienced first-hand the advanced security capabilities that Sangfor is able to provide.
Watch this video about what the Sangfor Cyber Command Platform actually is and how it works to provide elite and advanced threat detection and cybersecurity for your enterprise.
Also, you can watch this live demo of Sangfor’s Cyber Command Platform detecting and attacking a threat in real-time.
About Sangfor Technologies
Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Sangfor Cyber Command was built to easily integrate with a wide range of Sangfor security and cloud solutions, and even many 3rd party solutions, making investment in Sangfor Cyber Command an investment in your future network security.
Visit us at www.sangfor.com or click to contact us to know more about Cyber Command and how it can effectively accomplish your cyber threat hunting goals.