Cybercriminal tactics continue to grow in number and advance in ability; in response, many organisations have seen the need to reach a security posture where their teams can proactively combat threats.
Threat hunting plays a pivotal role in modern organisations’ cybersecurity strategies. It involves actively searching for signs of advanced threats and vulnerabilities beyond passive defence mechanisms. The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is an industry-standard threat hunters can use to proactively ensure they have protection against new and evolving attacks. Automating these processes for threat hunting can advance any security team’s capabilities.
However, it can be challenging to integrate or collect security data for effective threat hunting. The number of security technologies often results in fragmented data and hinders a comprehensive threat-hunting approach. Automated threat hunting has become a solution that can advance the capabilities of any security team.
Understanding Disparate Security Technologies
Modern organisations employ a variety of security technologies to safeguard their digital assets. These include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software, and endpoint protection. While effective, the sheer number of disparate security technologies poses challenges in centralising security data. Each solution generates logs and alerts, creating data silos.
The Problem of Non-integrated Security Data
Scattered security data creates several difficulties. Security teams grapple with a deluge of data from diverse sources, making identifying relevant threat indicators and patterns challenging. The absence of comprehensive visibility into potential threats leaves organisations vulnerable to increasingly advanced adversaries, who will exploit these data gaps. Inefficiencies plague threat-hunting processes because analysts must manually correlate data from various sources, slowing response times and increasing the likelihood of missing critical threats.
The Concept of Automated Threat Hunting
Automated threat hunting remediates the challenges inherent in integrating disparate security data. Security systems use advanced algorithms to streamline and enhance the threat hunting process. Automated threat hunting empowers security teams to pull security data from different technologies on demand, ensuring they have the right data.
Automating the MITRE ATT&CK Framework for Threat Hunting
Organisations should enhance the use of MITRE ATT&CK Frameworks in their threat hunting processes and techniques with automation to free up time and improve detection.
Automation #1: Pre-Built Response Playbooks
MITRE ATT&CK provides updated data sets of indicators of compromise (IOC) and techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) that adversaries use. Threat hunters use this data to create procedures and processes around known threats to properly respond. Automation can save this set of procedures as a pre-defined playbook, which can be applied in the future for the same threat. It will also search across all data sources in your security environment for a comprehensive visibility into threats.
Automation #2: Collecting the Right Hunt Data
When collecting security data during a hunt, it’s common to collect too much or too little information. Pinpointing the right data saves time and increases hunt accuracy. MITRE ATT&CK frameworks ensure you have the correct data sources by telling you which to collect from logs, security systems, and threat intelligence. Automation allows you to save parameters for data collection of the right sources to apply for future hunts.
Automation #3: Penetration Testing/Red Teaming
Cyberattacks and tactics change all the time, and red/blue teaming are great exercises that help you understand where your proactive abilities are and your defence against them. Automation can provide a great lift here by automating simulations of known TTPS from MITRE Frameworks to fine-tune detection and response management.
Advantages of Automating Threat Hunting
Automating threat hunting allows security teams to effortlessly access security data from diverse technologies when needed, streamlining hunting and procedures, while reducing manual effort. Security analysts can swiftly identify suspicious activities and patterns, resulting in quicker threat detection. The accelerated detection and response to security incidents are crucial in today’s threat landscape. Automated threat hunting expedites the identification of threats, enabling organisations to respond promptly and mitigate potential damage.
The Role of the Security Operations Platform
A security operations platform offers a wide range of capabilities. It centralises security data from disparate technologies and provides security teams with a unified, real-time view of their environment, thus facilitating improved threat detection and response. An essential aspect of this platform is its ability to query security data from all technologies. This functionality ensures that all artifacts, regardless of their source, are examined, making it an invaluable tool in the hunt for threats.
Automating threat hunting via a security operations platform enhances efficiency, augments visibility, and expedites incident response. As we look to the future of cybersecurity, the seamless integration of security data will remain central to effective threat hunting, ensuring that organisations stay ahead of evolving cyber threats.