CISOs must adopt a shift in mindset and start performing threat hunting as a preventative tool, rather than a remediatory one as a response to a full blown compromise.
In the endless cat and mouse game of cybersecurity, threat hunting emerges as a formidable ally, proactively uncovering potential security threats before they inflict any harm. This entails an exhaustive and meticulous exploration of an organization’s network and systems, on the hunt for red flags that may point to cyber intrusion – irregular network traffic, abnormal user behaviors, or telltale signs of malware.
The true potency of threat hunting lies in its proactive nature, seeking out those elusive threats that may have artfully evaded more traditional security fortifications such as firewalls or antivirus software. It represents a shifting paradigm in cybersecurity – moving from a reactive to a proactive defense mechanism, constantly vigilant and persistently challenging potential intruders. The spotlight of threat hunting shines into the hidden corners of your digital space, illuminating dangers before they become disasters.
These advanced techniques are designed to identify potential security threats that might have slipped past standard security measures undetected. This post will explore why a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) should integrate threat hunting into their cybersecurity strategy.
Validate security controls and cyber spending
The bottom line is a CISO wants to know whether all efforts including spending, processes and procedures, technical controls and human input all combine effectively to provide adequate cyber security for the organization. Gartner predicts spending on cyber security to exceed $188Billion in 2023 (read more here).
Threat hunting can also help to validate the effectiveness of existing security controls and identify any gaps that need to be addressed. By identifying potential threats that may have gone undetected by existing security controls, organizations can identify areas where they need to strengthen their security posture. This can involve implementing additional security controls, improving existing controls, or updating policies and procedures to better align with industry best practices. Additionally, identifying security gaps can help organizations to prioritize their security investments and allocate resources more effectively.
Improve incident response – ability to Detect and Respond to Compromises
Next to knowing whether the capabilities a CISO has put in place are cost effective and can actually do what they are advertised to do is whether those capabilities actually help with incident response (IR) and the ability to respond to potential compromise.
Threat hunting not only helps to identify potential security threats but also improves incident response. By identifying and responding to threats early, organizations can reduce the impact of a potential security incident and improve their incident response process.
It takes 277 days on average to identify and contain a breach
A CISO cannot assume that current cyber infrastructure in place is effective at detecting a potential compromise. If detection is possible it is not automatic that one will have the ability to respond properly.
Proactive threat detection and Identifying advanced Threats
One of the primary reasons why a CISO should have a threat hunt conducted on their network is proactive threat detection and identify advanced threats. Threat hunting allows security professionals to take a proactive approach to security by actively looking for potential threats instead of waiting for them to be discovered by their security tools.
Threat hunters use advanced techniques and tools to identify and analyze potential threats that may be too sophisticated for traditional security tools to detect (For example, here is a short article on a WAF bypass) . This proactive approach helps to identify and respond to potential security threats early, reducing the likelihood of a successful attack.
Finally compliance requirements are a part of the cyber landscape and we must deal with them. It is important to note that compliance requirements are often met by a check in the box type of accomplishment. This is not sufficient to actually trust that you can detect and respond to any incident as needed.
A threat hunt can also help organizations to meet compliance requirements. Many compliance frameworks require organizations to conduct regular assessments of their security posture to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. Frameworks such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require regular threat hunting as part of their security requirements.
By conducting regular threat hunts organizations can maintain compliance with these regulations and avoid potential fines and penalties for non-compliance.
In conclusion, a CISO should endorse threat hunting as a fundamental part of their cybersecurity arsenal. The rationale is multifaceted, encompassing the validation of security controls and cyber spending, enhancing incident response capabilities, and meeting compliance requirements. Additionally, it facilitates proactive threat detection and the identification of advanced threats, ensuring that potential breaches don’t slip under the radar.
Threat hunting goes beyond the capabilities of traditional security tools, enabling organizations to pinpoint and respond to threats promptly, thus minimizing the potential impact of security incidents. It also helps to unearth vulnerabilities in the organization’s security framework, enabling more effective prioritization of security investments.
In the end, threat hunting is not just a component, but a cornerstone of any contemporary cybersecurity strategy. As such, every CISO should seriously consider integrating it into their security protocols to fortify their network against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.
If you want to explore real-life use cases to better understand how threat hunting can benefit your organization – contact us.