Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>

Gary Audin | April 28, 2017 |


Hunting for Security Threats

Hunting for Security Threats Threat hunting, a human-centric approach to cyber security, can detect threats where automated machine-centric approaches fail.

Threat hunting, a human-centric approach to cyber security, can detect threats where automated machine-centric approaches fail.

You need to protect your information resources. You install firewalls and session border controllers to block intrusions. You perform analysis of the behavior of people and systems to determine if breaches have occurred. These are all important measures to take, but have you ever considered hunting for threats rather than trying to deal with them as they occur?

The global median time for a security breach to be discovered has reduced from 146 days in 2015 to 99 days 2016 -- a major improvement. But this still leaves 99 days of vulnerability. A recent report on cyber attack trends from Mandiant, a FireEye company, covers threats to various industries on a global scale. One portion of the report that I found particularly interesting is a discussion of threat intelligence.

Threat Intelligence
Defensive detection and incident response are necessary for security. A business has to assume that a breach will occur in its infrastructure and/or the organization itself. Businesses need to focus on hunting threats and developing accurate and factual answers to whether a breach as occurred. Threat intelligence is another element that provides a proactive security condition that supports threat hunting. Threat intelligence offers organizations a means to develop and maintain a baseline of threat profiles. A threat profile is a data-driven technique that alerts organizations and their security teams to who, what, where, when, and how attacks will most likely occur.

Migrating from Reactive to Proactive Defenses
Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) is starting to emerge and take a prominent role within security operations. CTI is being leveraged through analysis of malicious network trends, analysis of threats affecting an organization's vertical market, organizations operating in similar global locations and/or carrying similar assets, or a hybrid of all of these. The threat analysis enables more efficient tactical operations in terms of hunting, identifying, prioritizing, and responding to threats. The graphic below from the report outlines the intelligence flow.


Threat Profile -- This is the baseline of the relevant threats received by an organization, which includes what activities are occurring, the access targeted, and visibility into the operations.

Threat Modeling -- This is understanding the attacker's capabilities relative to your organization. The idea is to increase the measures that can be taken to improve the defensive posture as it is linked to the organization's concerns. This leads into the defense planning.

Tactical Prioritization Schemes -- The threat profile provides a clear picture of the threats with the highest impact. This leads into three areas: automated workflows, responsive efficiency, and hunt planning.

Threat Hunting
At this time, threat hunting is a human-focused process where security staff searches through data to locate evidence of a breach. Threat hunting is different than alert-driven investigations. A human, not an automated system, generates the breach leads to pursue.

The Mandiant report attributes the increase in hunting operations taking place at organizations to three things: the evolution of opportunistic attacks, enhanced security operation center visibility, and a collective experience increase amongst practitioners.

Threat actors are humans and exhibit behavioral patterns that can be used to identify the origin of the breach, identify the attacker, and determine the motivations, methods, or toolset used. Through these correlations, actionable data that can be used to identify, respond to, and prevent future attacks.

Attacker Evolution
Attacker techniques can be hard to identify because of their reliance on compromising legitimate user accounts. These techniques are focused on gaining entry and avoiding the use of malware. Traditional detection mechanisms that are typically performed by computers can easily fail at detecting these techniques. Unfortunately there can be a number of false positive alerts, so a human-centric approach is required.

Threat hunting offers the capability to detect these scenarios. Threat analysts can perform manual searches and aggregations comparing data to known normal activities in order to locate intruders based on attributes such as the time of day or the expected user behavior -- for example, if the user logs into multiple machines at an unusual hour. Advanced security organizations should invest in threat hunting. Traditional machine-centric detection tools don't work effectively when these scenarios occur.

Increasing Skills
Threat hunting has become accessible to less experienced analysts as training and tools have become available. The report observed "an increase in the number of talent acquisition requests for threat hunting expertise from security mature organizations." More resumes now claim to have threat hunting experience. Threat hunting is a skill where the training and education markets are meeting this demand.


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.