Threat hunting is the active process of looking through a business’ endpoints, network segments, data, and other assets to identify cybersecurity threats that managed to evade detection by the network’s security tools. An IT consultant or senior IT team member will look at the behavior of network traffic and endpoints to identify potential threats on the network and methodically test areas of the network that may have malicious activity occurring. Threat hunting is an advanced service that many small businesses won’t have the network complexity to require, but the process of threat hunting can help SMBs keep in mind what suspicious activity looks like and reinforce strong cybersecurity habits.
Starting to Threat Hunt
After establishing a baseline for network activity, a cybersecurity expert that is threat hunting will gather as much information as possible about the types of attacks that are likely to occur on the network. They can use tools to gather information on IP hookups, meta data for encrypted traffic, and data buried deep in logs. The baseline information established for a network must be updated regularly to ensure new devices or expected network activity do not lead to false positives. Threat hunting at this stage will focus on understanding how the network functions regularly over time while looking for tell-tale signs of specific attacks that there is reason to believe targeted the network.
Threat Hunting Process
Once a baseline for the network has been established, threat hunting will focus on looking for signs of the most expected threats that could be attacking the network. To test for the threats an expert believes may be on the network, relevant data must be gathered from network activity and event records. Cybersecurity tools are then used to analyze the collected data and actively confirm whether or not the suspected threat is active on the network. If nothing is found, these steps can be repeated until a threat is confirmed or the threat hunting team believes there is no malicious activity present. If a threat is found, then the team will take the necessary steps to remediate it.
Benefits of Threat Hunting
Threat hunting provides a unique way to find threats that otherwise would go undetected on a network for long periods of time. Sometimes, threat hunting can reveal new tactics used by malicious actors, and this helps develop the information used by security solutions to detect and remediate threats for businesses. More frequently, threat hunting will improve the cybersecurity posture of a business because old vulnerabilities are fixed and previously successful cyberattacks can be prevented and monitored for in the future. Even when threat hunting does not find malicious activity, large businesses still gain a wealth of knowledge on how secure their network is and the kinds of threats they should look out for.
Most small businesses won’t require threat hunting, but it is never too early to begin monitoring your business’ regular activity so that suspicious events can be caught sooner. Small business owners can keep track of the devices on their network and work with an IT consultant to put in place the best security solutions that can alert your business to malicious activity. Your IT consultant can also perform any threat hunting that may be necessary, should it be required. If you think your business’ network has been compromised, then reach out to our team of experts today, so we can help you remediate any potential threats and get back to securely running your business!
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