Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

2/9/2017
03:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Threat Hunting Becoming Top Of Mind Issue For SOCs

Nearly 80% of the respondents in a LinkedIn poll said that threat hunting already is, or should be a top-level initiative.

Threat hunting appears to have become a top of mind issue for security executives at many organizations. But a relative lack of security staff and technology tools are limiting their ability to fully build out such programs.

The Information Security Community on LinkedIn recently polled its members on the state of threat hunting in their security operations centers. The poll, sponsored by several security firms including Cyberreason, Javelin Networks, Tenable, and Sqrrl, elicited responses from 330 members.

About 60% - or 6 in 10 of the respondents - claim to have a moderate to high degree of awareness of threat hunting, while 79% indicate that threat hunting either should, or will be, their top security initiative this year.

Several factors appear to be driving interest in the practice. The survey shows that executives at many security operations centers feel inadequate about their ability to detect hidden, unknown, and emerging security threats. Seventy percent for instance, point to their inability to detect threats as their top challenge. About 6 in 10 (59%) cite a lack of skills availability for threat mitigation as their biggest stumbling block.

Not surprisingly, only 26% feel somewhat to very confident in the ability of their security operations centers to uncover advanced threats.

"Over the last nine months, the concept of threat hunting has taken off," says Matt Zanderigo, director of marketing at Sqrrl. With four in five security executives saying that threat hunting needs to be a top initiative, organizations are beginning to allot budgets for it, he says. "It's hard to say what percentage. It usually comes out of a SOC budget for improving threat detection," he notes.

Threat hunting is a term that is generally used to describe the practice among security organizations to proactively search for and weed out threats on their network instead of waiting to discover them after an attack has materialized. It a practice based on the premise that organizations simply cannot prevent every single intrusion from happening on a network, and therefore the focus needs to be equally on finding the ones that do slip through the defenses.

For many, threat-hunting practices are not just about chasing down alerts from a piece of technology, but also about applying human skills to tease out deeply hidden threats on their networks that may not always have been flagged yet by their security controls. Organizations that have implemented successful threat hunting programs have often pointed to the emphasis on human skills as a major contributory factor.

Security operations centers that have implemented hunting practices have reported substantial gains in their ability to spot and weed out threats. For example, respondents in the LinkedIn survey that had implemented a threat-hunting platform say they were able to detect and investigate threats in substantially less time than they were able to without it.

Without a threat-hunting platform, it took organizations in the survey an average of 38 days to detect a threat on their network, and 26 days to investigate it, compared with 15 days and 14 days for those with threat hunting.

A survey of 494 IT professionals by the SANS Institute last year showed that 86% had engaged in threat hunting activity. About three quarters of those who had, said they reduced their attack surface substantially, while 59% said that threat hunting had significantly enhanced incident response times

Despite the interest in threat hunting, many organizations appear hampered by skills availability and time constraints. The survey showed that less than 2 in 10 (14%) of the employees in a security operation center are deployed in a threat-hunting role. Four in five believed that not enough time was being invested in the practice.

"Cybersecurity incident responders are often hampered by lengthy processes necessary to access data needed to conduct investigations," Zanderigo says.

Investigating a threat often requires investigators to pull data piecemeal from multiple systems and make sense of it. "Investigators often needed to fetch, join, and normalize disparate data in order to answer specific questions."

Related stories:

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Lessons from the NSA: Know Your Assets
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  12/12/2019
4 Tips to Run Fast in the Face of Digital Transformation
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  12/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19807
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.11, sound/core/timer.c has a use-after-free caused by erroneous code refactoring, aka CID-e7af6307a8a5. This is related to snd_timer_open and snd_timer_close_locked. The timeri variable was originally intended to be for a newly created timer instance, but was used for ...
CVE-2014-8650
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
python-requests-Kerberos through 0.5 does not handle mutual authentication
CVE-2014-3536
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
CFME (CloudForms Management Engine) 5: RHN account information is logged to top_output.log during registration
CVE-2014-3643
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
jersey: XXE via parameter entities not disabled by the jersey SAX parser
CVE-2014-3652
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
JBoss KeyCloak: Open redirect vulnerability via failure to validate the redirect URL.