Merely reacting to cyberattacks gives the attacker the upper hand. You are better off managing attacks from a place of power and authority with the best threat-hunting practices.
Top 6 Best Practices for Threat Hunting
A proactive security strategy, threat hunting gives you an edge over cybercriminals. Instead of sitting still and allowing attackers to invade your network, you stay vigilant to keep them off.
To get the most out of threat hunting, you must do it well. Here are some of the best threat-hunting practices.
1. Get to Know Your Digital Environment
The surest way to detect when something is amiss within your network is to know what your network looks like in its normal condition. You can only have that information when you familiarize yourself with your network’s operations.
For instance, knowing the traffic rates to your network at different times of the day informs you that something is off if traffic is very low at a time when it’s usually high. If you probe further, you could discover a threat.
It also helps to know the sources and IP addresses of your traffic. If you suddenly begin to get traffic from unfamiliar sources, you can verify the authenticity of those sources.
2. Stay Up-to-Date
Cyberattackers are constantly coming up with new strategies to execute attacks. Nowadays, they don’t operate in isolation. They are very much present on the dark web—a place where they interact with one another and share their latest techniques.
Since their motive is to attack networks like yours, you’d be doing yourself a lot of good by being in their presence and getting information about their attacks. By interacting with these hackers, you get a first-hand opportunity to know their antics. You can use that information to strengthen your defenses.
3. Wear the Attacker’s Shoes
Being on the inside of your network prevents you from seeing things that people on the outside, especially hackers, would see. Some threats may be in blind spots you can’t see from your position.
It’s about time you took yourself out of your position as the network owner or operator and stepped into the attacker’s shoes. Forget what you know about your system and approach it like a hacker. If you were an attacker targeting your system, how would you strike? You might discover vulnerabilities that you ordinarily wouldn’t see.
4. Gain All-Round Visibility
Your ability to prevent attacks depends on how much visibility you have on your network. An attack can be brewing right in front of you and you won’t have a clue about it if you lack visibility. You might even be focusing on the wrong areas, neglecting the most vulnerable parts of your system.
Implementing effective network monitoring tools will give you maximum visibility of the activities within your network. Some of these tools are advanced, giving you real-time reports of the operations in and around your system.
5. Leverage Automation Tools
There’s only so much you can do yourself. If you are still trying to secure your system manually, you should be lucky if attackers haven’t targeted your system yet. Some automated cybersecurity tools are no match for the sophisticated machines hackers deploy for their attacks, let alone manual efforts.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can enhance your threat-hunting strategies if you deploy them effectively. They can collect and process operational data to give you 360-visibility and help you make well-informed security decisions.
6. Be Alert
Threat hunting isn’t a one-off activity. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in networks, so you must always be alerted to catch them. These criminals are aware of the best ways to hack systems. So, if you don’t acquaint yourself with the latest cybersecurity methods, the old strategies you know won’t be able to stop them. Task yourself to learn the latest cybersecurity techniques.
5 Key Tools for Threat Hunting
There are several threat-hunting tools on the market to help you secure your system. These tools offer automation features that take most of the manual work off your shoulders. You just need to ensure that you set them up properly and monitor their performances.
1. Phishing Catcher
Attackers trick unsuspecting victims into revealing their sensitive information via Phishing. It’s a common kind of attack because these hackers present the websites, email, and text messages they use as legitimate content.
An anti-fishing threat hunting tool, Phishing Catcher flags down domains with malicious Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates in near real time. It uses a Yet Another Markup Language (YAML) configuration file to distribute numbers for strings in a TLS certificate’s domain name.
CyberChef is your go-to threat-hunting software for encoding, decoding, encrypting, decrypting, and formatting data. A web application, it allows you to process basic encodings such as Base64 or XOR and complex encodings such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Data Encryption Standard (DES).
DNSTwist pays attention to the tiniest details of domains trying to access networks to identify malicious or suspicious activities. Its algorithm has the capacity to detect anomalies such as typosquatters, brand impersonations, and phishing attacks.
Once you enter a domain name into the system, it creates a list of possible permutations and checks if any name on the list is active.
YARA is a malware-focused threat-hunting tool that allows you to group various malware families into specific categories. You can use it by programming a set of strings to perform specified functions.
YARA is compatible with multiple operating systems. It also offers a python extension that allows you to create a custom python script.
AttackerKB is a threat-hunting tool that you can use to detect vulnerabilities within your system and build up a defense based on the data it generates. Its modes of operations include exploitation, technical analysis and defensive suggestions. You can prioritize vulnerabilities based on their impact for maximum results.
Staying Ahead of Cybercriminals With Threat Hunting
Cyber threats have come to stay. Attackers are more than happy to prey on their victims. Thankfully, they don’t have a monopoly on power. You can change the dynamics by hunting for these attackers instead of waiting for them to come to attack you.
With threat hunting, you can make your network a no-go area for cybercriminals by identifying possible threats and resolving them before they become significant.
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