DDR: The Cornerstone of Effective Threat-hunting

Josh Breaker-Rolfe

An effective threat-hunting method is crucial to securing an organization's enterprise environment. It's not enough to wait until a threat, inadvertently or otherwise, reveals itself. Security teams must actively seek out threats to prevent a security incident.  

However, manual threat-hunting is arduous, requiring significant time and resources. There's also a substantial risk of human error; if a security team misses a threat, the results could be catastrophic. As such, it's vital to complement manual threat-hunting efforts with an automated solution. Data Detection and Response (DDR) is the best way to achieve this.

This article will explore how DDR can transform your organization's threat-hunting capabilities.

Defining Threat-hunting 

Threat-hunting is a proactive cybersecurity practice that involves actively searching for signs of malicious activity or security breaches within an organization's environment.

Unlike automated detection systems that rely on predefined rules or signatures, threat-hunting involves human analysts formulating hypotheses and conducting targeted investigations based on intuition, experience, and threat intelligence.

Threat-hunters leverage various data sources, including DDR-generated alerts, logs, network traffic, and endpoint telemetry, to identify hidden threats and uncover sophisticated attack techniques that may have evaded automated detection.

Threat-hunting exercises often focus on identifying advanced persistent threats (APTs), insider threats, and other sophisticated adversaries that may dwell within the network undetected.

Defining Data Detection and Response

DDR is a cybersecurity solution that identifies and responds to data-related threats and incidents within an organization's network or infrastructure. Here's how DDR solutions work:
  • Discovery - DDR tools meticulously log and classify all data and user interactions within an organization, including actions on internal systems, cloud applications, and devices; this provides insight into sensitive data and establishes standard behavior patterns. 
  • Anomaly Detection - Leveraging the logged data and established behavior patterns, DDR systems identify anomalous activities such as unauthorized access attempts or potential compromises. Advanced DDR solutions promptly flag these anomalies to security teams, mitigating possible damage. 
  • Response and Remediation - Top-tier DDR solutions automatically respond to threats and anomalies, preventing unauthorized data access or exfiltration in real time. By swiftly acting upon suspicious activities, they minimize the risk of data breaches and productivity disruptions. 
  • Investigation - DDR solutions facilitate thorough investigations when incidents occur, aiding security teams in understanding the nature of threats, distinguishing false alarms, and assessing user intent through comprehensive data workflows. These workflows provide a detailed history of data interactions, enabling security teams to discern between malign and benign actions.

Why Integrate Detection and Response with Threat-hunting? 

Security teams can achieve more comprehensive threat coverage by integrating DDR with manual threat-hunting activities. DDR solutions reactively identify known threats, whereas proactive threat-hunting seeks out unknown or emerging threats that may evade automated detection. Combining the two approaches allows organizations to address both known and unknown threats. 

Security teams can also use threat-hunting to improve their DDR systems. We've established that DDR can only detect and respond to known threats so, to remediate this issue, security teams can carry out threat-hunting to gather information on previously unknown threats and feed it into their DDR solution. The DDR solution will then automatically identify and respond to these threats. 

Although the best DDR solutions minimize false positives by classifying data based on its content and lineage, there's always a chance that some slip through. Threat-hunting helps security teams validate and contextualize DDR alerts; this extra information can train the DDR solution and reduce false positives.

How to Integrate Detection and Response with Threat-hunting 

While integrating DDR with threat-hunting can significantly improve an organization's security posture, security teams must take a considered approach to the task. Here are some best practices for integrating the two: 
  • Define clear objectives - Understand the specific goals of your DDR and threat-hunting initiatives.  
  • Comprehensive data collection - Ensure your DDR solution has comprehensive data discovery capabilities and logs from various sources such as network traffic, endpoints, applications, and cloud environments. Ensure your DDR solution can analyze this data in real-time to detect potential threats. 
  • Feed in threat intelligence - Integrate threat intelligence feeds into your DDR platform to enhance threat detection capabilities. Threat intelligence provides valuable insights into known threat actors and their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), which can help identify and prioritize potential threats.
  • Incident Response Planning - Develop a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines the roles, responsibilities, and procedures for responding to security incidents. Ensure that DDR and threat-hunting teams are involved in the incident response process and collaborate effectively during security incidents. 
  • Human Expertise - Leverage the expertise of threat-hunters to complement DDR capabilities. Threat hunters can analyze data collected by DDR tools, identify anomalies that may indicate sophisticated threats, and conduct in-depth investigations to uncover potential security breaches. 
  • Collaboration and Communication - Foster collaboration and communication between those managing DDR and threat-hunting teams to share insights, findings, and best practices. Regular meetings, joint exercises, and knowledge-sharing sessions can facilitate effective collaboration between the two teams.
Combining threat-hunting with DDR solutions is a great way to achieve comprehensive threat detection in an enterprise environment. Be sure to implement a DDR solution that can be easily integrated into your threat-hunting efforts, collect all data in your organization's environment, and classify data on its content and lineage.

Josh is a Content writer at Bora. He graduated with a degree in Journalism in 2021 and has a background in cybersecurity PR. He's written on a wide range of topics, from AI to Zero Trust, and is particularly interested in the impacts of cybersecurity on the wider economy.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post