28th February, 2022
Data rates are increasing day by day. Threat actors are constantly evolving their Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs). A perfect storm is brewing for security analysts and outsourcing security elements, like threat hunting, can benefit more than just security.
Data, data, data…
It is becoming increasingly challenging to comprehensively monitor networks; the traffic generated on a daily basis is at an all-time high and threat actors are using ever more sophisticated defence evasion techniques. This helps them to not only maintain persistence in the network for a prolonged period of time, but also ensures they have sufficient time to understand their target infrastructure to exact the maximum effect. And the same is true for all networks, from small or medium enterprises, up to CSP/ISP and network operators – if we are connected to the internet, then we are a potential target, it is all a matter of time. But how can we identify these evolving TTPs if they continue to evade endpoint security solutions? More importantly, how can we identify them within our network before they carry out their malicious actions?
Security needs to be considered from a more holistic approach. There is no ‘one size fits all’ or ‘silver bullet’ in cyber security and, consequently, a multitude of platforms and capabilities are required to provide a more complex and comprehensive security posture, creating a more challenging environment for threat actors to navigate.
Most organisations utilise a number of security solutions such as endpoint security, antivirus, firewalls and so on. Unfortunately, as we continue to witness in the news despite these security solutions, threat actors are still conducting successful operations. So, are these solutions ineffective? Of course not, but it has to be acknowledged that cyber criminals continue to evolve their understanding of our environments and defensive capabilities in order to bypass them and compromise a network more effectively. To bolster their cyber security, organisations should consider augmenting their existing infrastructure with tools that provide enhanced visibility that existing solutions may not provide.
Network security solutions are vital in enhancing an organisations’ security posture. Being able to see what is happening within a network is crucial to detecting threats, but being able to identify anomalous communications or beaconing outside of a network is vital to see what the endpoint solutions often miss.
Visibility into an organisations’ network traffic enables detailed analysis to be conducted by security analysts, enabling identification of changes in traffic patterns of behaviours that could indicate malicious activity, such as communications with Command and Control (C2) servers. This can often initiate the start of an investigation into a device of interest, enabling the identification of a compromised device before malware has been able to have an effect.
This proactive identification of anomalous communications activity can help an organisation to not only identify previously unknown malicious activity within their network, but it can also help to plan a response and mitigate the attack efficiently before it can have a negative impact, reducing costs associated with remediation, reputational damage and so on.
Additional tools, however, also require additional training, recruitment or upskilling existing analysts to make the most benefit from it. Consequently, this leads to additional costs, making it another barrier to entry for many small to medium enterprise organisations.
Outsourcing these requirements to service providers who can provide a comprehensive network security monitoring and threat hunting solution can be an attractive and cost-effective solution for enterprise organisations. Not only does it enable an organisation to strengthen their monitoring capabilities across all the growing data volumes, but it also enables them to proactively identify malicious activity before threat actors can exploit the network.
Find out more about our UK Threat Hunting Service