Back to blog results

8월 24, 2023 By Christopher Beier and Janet Alexander

Why your security analytics needs proactive threat hunting

Proactive threat hunting

Even the mightiest, most prestigious companies and enterprises are not exempt from the advanced threats of cyber attackers. In the ever-evolving cybersecurity threat landscape, an organization's security team like yours needs robust security measures for network security, endpoint security, threat detection, anomaly detection, data protection, security monitoring, application security and information security.

What is proactive threat hunting?

Proactive threat hunting is an advanced cybersecurity practice that involves actively searching for signs of suspicious activity, malicious activity or potential cyber threat within an organization's network and systems. Unlike traditional cybersecurity measures that rely on reactive security controls and incident response, threat-hunting identifies and neutralizes potential or emerging threats before they can cause significant damage.

Proactive threat hunting leverages data analytics, machine learning, and threat intelligence to identify anomalous activities that might escape automated threat detection.

This approach involves skilled security teams armed with an advanced security analytics platform, delving into security data, network traffic, user behavior, and other relevant sources to uncover hidden threats.

Why SOCs shouldn’t wait for an alert to start searching for breaches

The reality is most cyber threats outpace organizations. While security analytics solutions are instrumental in monitoring and analyzing vast amounts of security data, they still have limitations. Reactive analytics primarily rely on pre-defined rules and patterns to detect known security threats. As cyber threats become more sophisticated and constantly evolve, relying solely on reactive analytics can leave organizations vulnerable to new attack vectors and undetected threats.

And on top of that, when you consider that hackers are now using more stealthy means of infiltrating networks, it’s high time that organizations take proactive precautionary measures and act in a preemptive rather than reactive manner.

Cybercriminals can penetrate systems without being detected, so security threat awareness needs to be improved, with a specific emphasis on proactive threat hunting.

Adding extra layers of visibility is key

To anticipate the unknown and stay one step ahead of cybercriminals, SOC teams must be wary of every potential vulnerability in their system. With the move to cloud-based services and environments, organizations are more susceptible to an insider threat, cyber risk, MITRE ATT&CK®, or the potential threat of another variety of cyberattacks.

Plus, with the proliferation of remote work, more employees use their insecure personal networks instead of their considerably more protected workplace networks. As networks become more and more complex, SOC teams need more visibility.

That’s why it’s imperative to use visibility-enhancing technologies that instantly add much-needed security visibility across all endpoints. Increasing visibility across your network means knowing exactly:

  • Who has and should have access to your network

  • Which applications are being used

  • What data is being accessed

Proactive threat hunting uses security analytics to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities that are otherwise missed by traditional tools. Instead of waiting for security events to trigger alerts, proactive threat hunting actively seeks out potential threats and vulnerabilities before they can cause significant harm.

An example of advanced analytics

User entity and behavioral analytics (UEBA) is a great example of how advanced analytics can be used for threat hunting. Using SecOps data collected and categorized by a security information and event management (SIEM) tool, UEBA uses this data to perform essential analyses that help security professionals detect and respond to insider threats. UEBA solutions know the baseline activities of all users––any anomalous activity atypical of a user will be automatically flagged––helping the admin take corrective action.

Common insider threats include:

  • Departing employees

  • Malicious insiders

  • Negligent worker

  • Security evaders

  • Third-party partners

To ensure that security operations get more intelligent and actionable insights into these risks, UEBA capabilities provide additional context by correlating UEBA with an entity timeline to help security analysts understand what is happening and how it happened.

Combined with this timeline, first-seen and outlier rules also identify anomalous user activity outside the baseline. UEBA can tag users and entities based on group membership to add context, so SOC analysts can further prioritize and investigate behaviors leading to data exfiltration or unauthorized access.

How SOAR helps elevate your threat hunting

SOAR is a term coined by Gartner and stands for Security Orchestration, Automation and Response. In practice, SOAR comes in where a SIEM platform's capabilities end. After a SIEM identifies a threat, it sends an alert with a defined threat level based on predetermined rules. From there, SOAR automates incident investigations and remediation processes.

SOAR solutions integrate with security analytics platforms and threat intelligence feeds, consolidating relevant data and insights in a central dashboard. This empowers security analysts to conduct thorough investigations and respond promptly to potential threats. Automation also plays a significant role in threat hunting, allowing repetitive tasks to be handled swiftly and freeing up valuable time for security teams to focus on more complex analyses.

  • By proactively hunting for threats, security teams can respond quickly and effectively to potential incidents, mitigating their impact and preventing big data breaches.

  • Threat hunting provides deeper insights with enhanced visibility into the organization's security posture, identifying vulnerabilities and weak points that need attention and strengthening.

  • Proactively verifying suspicious activities reduces the false positives generated by reactive security analytics, allowing security teams to focus on real threats.

These benefits stem from SOAR's unique progressive automation and orchestration that uses machine learning to optimize your conventional workflow processes. SOAR learns from its experience with certain alerts, distinguishes false alerts, and deploys a recommended set of actions when a similar alert is detected in the system.

Get proactive about threat hunting before it's too late

Without proactive hunting, companies put their threat hunting team at a disadvantage in uncovering an unknown threat or other hidden threats, like an insider threat, to prevent a cyber attack. Proactive threat hunting enables security teams to seek out potential threats and vulnerabilities before they become critical incidents. By incorporating advanced cybersecurity analytics, threat intelligence, and SOAR capabilities, organizations can enhance their cybersecurity posture and better protect their valuable data, applications, and networks from cyber threats. Embrace proactive threat hunting today to stay ahead in the relentless battle against cyber attackers.

Read this deep dive into how you can threat hunt in your command line.

Complete visibility for DevSecOps

Reduce downtime and move from reactive to proactive monitoring.

Sumo Logic cloud-native SaaS analytics

Build, run, and secure modern applications and cloud infrastructures.

Start free trial

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Beier and Janet Alexander

Principal Product Marketing Manager | Copywriter and content strategist

More posts by Christopher Beier and Janet Alexander.

More posts by Christopher Alexander.

People who read this also enjoyed