cyber threat hunting IT specialist

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Cyber Threat Hunting is a proactive security search across networks, endpoints and datasets to hunt down malicious, suspicious or risky activities that have escaped detection by existing tools.


There is a distinction between malware detection and cyber threat hunting . Threat detection is a passive approach to monitoring data and systems to identify potential security problems. However, it is a necessity and can help a threat hunter . Instead, proactive threat hunting tactics have evolved to use new threat intelligence on previously collected data to identify and classify potential risks before the attack .

Security personnel cannot afford to believe that their security system is impenetrable. Must always remain vigilant for the next threat or vulnerability . Rather than sitting around and waiting for threats to strike, cyber threat hunting develops hypotheses based on knowing the behaviors of threat actors and validating those hypotheses through active research in the environment .

With threat hunting, an expert doesn’t start with an alarm or indicators of compromise (IOC), but with deeper reasoning. In many cases the threat hunter’s efforts create and concretize the alarm or the IOC.

This aggressively assumes that a breach has occurred or will occur at the company. Security officers hunt down threats in their environment rather than rely on automatisms.

cyber threat hunting hardware

Threat hunting practice

For companies that are ready to take a more proactive approach to cybersecurity , which tries to stop attacks before they get too deep, adding threat hunting protocols to their security program is the next logical step.

After consolidating endpoint security and incident response strategies to mitigate the now unavoidable known malware attacks, companies can begin to take the offensive . This means digging deep and finding what hasn’t been detected yet. This is precisely the purpose of cyber threat hunting.

As mentioned earlier, threat hunting is an aggressive tactic that starts from the premise of the “assumption of violation”. Attackers are already inside an organization’s network and are secretly monitoring and moving into it.

This may sound far-fetched, but in reality, attackers can be inside a network for days, weeks, and even months . In the meantime, they prepare and execute attacks as advanced persistent threats, with no automatic defense detecting their presence . Cyber threat hunting stops these attacks by looking for covert indicators of compromise (IOCs) so they can be mitigated before the attacks reach their goals.

cyber threat hunting Monitor

The key elements of a threat hunting

The goal of the threat hunt is to monitor daily activities and traffic across the network and investigate possible anomalies to find any undiscovered malicious activity that could lead to a complete breach . To achieve this level of proactive detection, threat hunting incorporates four equally important components.

1. Methodology

To be successful in hunt for threats, companies must commit to a proactive, full-time approach that is continuous and evolving. Instead, a responsive, ad hoc implementation, “ when we have time “, will be self-defeating and will only lead to minimal results.

2. Technology

Most companies already have comprehensive endpoint security solutions with automatic detection. Threat hunting works in addition to these and adds advanced technologies . The aim is to find anomalies, unusual patterns, and other traces of attackers that shouldn’t be in systems and files.

The new cloud-native endpoint protection (EPP) platforms that leverage big data analytics can capture and analyze large volumes of non-data filtered on endpoints, while behavioral analytics and artificial intelligence can provide broad, high-speed visibility into malicious behaviors that seem normal at first.

3. Highly qualified and dedicated staff

The threat hunters are a race of their own. These experts know how to use the security technology deployed by companies. In addition, also combine the aspiration to go on the offensive with intuitive problem-solving skills to uncover and mitigate hidden threats.

4. Threat intelligence

Having access to evidence-based global intelligence from experts from around the world (e.g. Miter Att & amp; ck ) further improves and accelerates hunting for existing threats. Hunters are aided by information such as attack classifications for identifying malware and threat groups , as well as advanced threat indicators.

cyber threat hunting hacker manifesto

The abilities of a threat hunter

The Threat Hunting Report from Crowd Research Partners confirms the importance of certain capabilities for threat hunting. When asked to rank the most important skill, the survey found that:

69% chose threat intelligence
57% chose behavior analysis
56% chose automatic detection
54% chose machine learning and automated analysis

ITC analyst on the phone

The profile of a threat hunter

Threat hunters look for attackers who manage to break through vulnerabilities that a company might not even know exist . These attackers spend a considerable amount of time planning and performing the reconnaissance, acting only when they know they can successfully penetrate the network without warning. They also inject and build malware that has not yet been recognized or use techniques that do not rely on malware at all, to provide a persistent base from which to attack.

What does it take to outsmart even the smartest attackers?

A cyber threat hunter is relentless and can find even the smallest trace of what attackers have left behind. In general, threat hunters use their skills to undo the small changes that occur when attackers make their moves within a system or file.

The best threat hunters rely on their instincts to sniff out the stealth moves of the most dangerous attacker.

Are you a threat hunter? Contact us!

SOD is looking for a SOC / ICT analyst to add to the team. If you think you’re the right person, visit this page to view the detailed job posting.

Useful links:

Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) – greater effectiveness for IT security

Long-term search: what’s new in the SOCaaS service

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

Next Generation SIEM

SIEM has existed for quite some time, but it is not yet well understood. Also, the fact that technology has evolved significantly in recent years doesn’t help shed some light. Today we see where we are, trying to understand the Next Generation SIEM and the managed systems offered as services that make use of the latest generation SIEM (SOCaaS, for example). Let’s see what all this means for companies.

Being a fundamental part of the SOCaaS offered by SOD, it seems appropriate to explain in detail what a Next Generation SIEM is and what its functions are.

A brief history of SIEM

Before examining what a Next Generation SIEM is, it is right to briefly review the history of this technology and its beginning.

The term Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) was coined in 2005 by Mark Nicolett and Amrit T. Williams of Gartner. The word is the merger of Security Event Management (SEM) and Security Information Management (SIM).

Its original definition given by the creators of the term is: a technology that supports the detection of threats and the response to security incidents, through the collection in real time and historical analysis of events from a wide variety of sources of contextual data.

SIEM was born out of the need to address the huge number of alarms issued by intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and intrusion detection systems (IDS) that were overwhelming IT departments. By helping organizations aggregate events and better analyze those within the network, SIEM has helped organizations improve threat detection. It has also led organizations to take a more proactive approach to security. Preventive security technologies are no longer sufficient on their own.

The difficulties of SIEMs in the early years

Eager to improve their cybersecurity situation, many enterprise-wide organizations have rapidly adopted SIEM technology. Over the years, however, inherited problems have emerged from the past:

1. The datasets were inflexible, so some SIEMs were unable to process the required data, which meant their effectiveness was limited
2. They were difficult to maintain and manage, which added complexity and drained staff resources
3. SIEMs produced a high number of false positives, creating even more work for the security teams
4. With the advancement of technology, SIEMs have struggled to keep up with the evolution of threats and therefore the IT risk for companies has grown

The Next Generation SIEM arrives

Many advanced threats are now polymorphic rather than static. That is, they are able to constantly modify their behavior to evade detection. As such, Next Generation SIEM systems must not only process more data, but also become much more capable of recognizing new patterns within them.

Given the difficulties and limitations of inherited SIEM systems, many thought they would disappear over time. But this did not happen, SIEM still remains a key technology used by companies. However, technology has had to evolve.

While SIEM once relied on only a handful of data sources, the “Next Generation” of SIEM systems was developed to process a greater volume and variety of data, as well as correlating it in a timely fashion.

Gartner reported that the SIEM market is continuously growing. One reason for this growth is that Next Gen SIEM systems are now used by midsize organizations, not just large enterprises.

Next Generation SIEM on the Cloud

Next Generation SIEM takes advantage of the use of the cloud for data collection

What are the capabilities of Next Gen SIEM?

Next Gen SIEMs, sometimes referred to as analytical SIEMs or SIEM 3.0, have brought new capabilities to organizations and their security teams.

Allow faster integration into a corporate infrastructure through an open architecture to cover cloud, on-premise and BYOD resources
Include real-time visualization tools to understand the most important and high-risk activities
Use scenario and behavior analysis to “photograph” well understood scenarios and highlight significant changes in behavior
Integrate and use Threat Intelligence information from customized, open source and commercial sources
Provide a flexible framework that allows for the implementation of a tailored workflow for key organizational use cases
Measure status against regulatory frameworks (e.g. PCI DSS) for prioritization and risk management

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is a growing security area that Next Gen SIEM vendors are exploiting to contribute and take advantage of the latest features. In its essence, SOAR has two fundamental aspects:

1. It allows to bring more data to a Next Gen SIEM for analysis

SOAR is helping SIEM technology to become smarter and big data oriented, thus enabling security teams to make faster and better informed decisions. Broader intelligence means more reliable threat identification and fewer false positives.

2. Help automate incident response

Another important way SOAR is influencing the evolution of SIEM Next Gen is to help standardize incident analysis and response procedures. The goal is to partially or completely automate response activities in order to reduce the potential harm and inconvenience that breaches can cause. Such response activities could include blocking compromised user accounts and blocking IP addresses on a firewall.

By automating routine actions, SOAR helps security teams become more efficient and frees them up time to focus on threat hunting and patch management.

User Behavior Analysis (UEBA)

Another important feature of Next Generation SIEMs is the use of User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). UEBA does not track security events or monitor devices, but instead focuses on monitoring and analyzing the behavior of an organization’s users.

UEBA can be extremely useful in helping organizations identify compromised accounts, as well as insider threats. It works using advanced machine learning and behavioral profiling techniques to identify anomalous activity such as account compromise and abuse of privileges. By not using rules-based monitoring, the UEBA is more effective in detecting anomalies over time.

The challenges for a modern SIEM

Despite unquestionable advances in detecting complex cyber threats, SIEM Next Gens can still, if not used and maintained properly, generate a large number of alerts. For organizations without IT resources and dedicated security personnel, researching these alerts to distinguish true network security problems from false positives can be extremely complex and time-consuming.

Even when real threats are identified, knowing how to respond to them can be just as challenging.

Getting the most out of SIEM to help address growing security challenges will also depend on better trained personnel who can use the systems more effectively and validate alarms. For organizations that lack in-house knowledge or skills, it therefore makes sense to work with an external vendor who can cover or augment security capabilities.

A full SOCaaS service, including Next Generation SIEM and UEBA for threat hunting, is the ideal choice. Not only does it save time in terms of validating and checking alarms, but also in economic terms, not having to face installation costs and staff training.

If you are interested in learning more, do not hesitate to contact us, we will answer your questions.

[btnsx id=”2931″]

Useful links:

SOC as a Service

Security: Pentest and verification of vulnerabilities

What is a Network Lateral Movement and how to defend yourself

Is SOCaaS useful for your business?

Computer network security: PT vs. VA

MITRE Att&ck: an overview

SIEM in computer science: history

SIEM software: what it is and how it works


SIEM informatica

A SIEM solution in IT is one of the essential components of a SOC (Security Operation Center). Its task is to collect information and analyze it in search of anomalies and possible breaches in the system. But the defense process hasn’t always been that simple. What we now call SIEM, Security Information and Event Management, is the union of two different types of cyber security tools.

SIM and SEM: the origins

Before the arrival of a complete SIEM solution in computing, security was heavily focused on perimeter security and did not keep the internal network adequately controlled. The first solutions developed in the 90s were basic and basically dealt with security information management (SIM) or security event management (SEM). They were solutions available as tools that had to be deployed on-site in the data center to be protected. This limited scalability, because adding capacity required the purchase of additional equipment.

These early solutions were also built on proprietary databases that forced customers to use technology from a single vendor. If you wanted to move your data to another system, the process was long and complicated. It should also be noted that archiving was more expensive, so only the most valuable data was collected. Furthermore, although the SIM and SEM solutions contained all the data necessary for the defense, the search and alarm were rudimentary. Additionally, they depended on experienced security analysts to research, understand and interpret what they found in the data.

SIEM origins in computer science

As data became more sensitive and technology more powerful, SIEM systems (SIM + SEM) became capable of ingesting, processing and storing a great deal of data. Next-generation SIEM IT solutions are able to use signature-based alerts to identify threats in collected data. However, only those alerts that have identified indicators of compromise (IOC) of a certain threat can be identified in this way.

To be clear, if the type of attack to which a system is subjected has not been cataloged in a series of IOCs, a first generation SIEM is not able to detect it. The main drawback of those systems was the very limited ability to detect unknown cyber threats.

To give a practical example: it was possible to use a rule like this: “give a warning if a user enters 10 consecutive wrong passwords“. In theory this could be used to detect brute force password attacks. But what if the attacker only tried 9 passwords in a row? Or what if the alarm was given for a very forgetful user?

Next Gen SIEM (NGS)

A next generation SIEM is built on a large data platform that provides unlimited scalability and is hosted in the cloud. A next gen SIEM includes log management, advanced threat detection based on behavior analysis and automatic incident response, all on a single platform.

This eliminates the problems that old on-premises systems were prone to. Not having to install anything and being able to send the necessary data to the cloud quite simply, the computing power of the local machine is not compromised and the SIEM can manage all the data safely.

How a SIEM proceeds in cyber threat analysis

1. Data Collection: An IT SIEM solution collects data from across the organization using agents installed on various devices, including endpoints, servers, network equipment and other security solutions. Next generation SIEM includes support for cloud applications and infrastructure, business applications, identity data and non-technical data feeds.

2. Data enrichment: Enrichment adds further context to events. SIEM will enrich data with identity, resources, geolocation and threat information.

3. Data storage: The data will then be stored in a database so that it can be searched for during investigations. The next generation SIEM exploits open source architectures and big data architectures, exploiting their scalability.

4. Correlation and Analysis: SIEM solutions use several techniques to draw actionable conclusions from SIEM data. These techniques vary greatly.

5. Report: A SIEM, particularly a next generation SIEM, gives you the ability to quickly search for data, allowing you to dig through alerts and search for threat actors and indicators of compromise. The displayed data can be saved or exported. It is also possible to use out-of-the-box reports or create ad hoc reports as needed.

What a SIEM is used for

Threat hunting and investigation

The ability to perform threat hunting on a SIEM is critical to understanding the true patterns of attacks based on access, activity and data breaches. By developing a detailed and contextual view of attacks, security analysts can more easily develop policies, countermeasures and incident response processes to help mitigate and remove the threat.

Response in case of an accident

An effective response to incidents is essential to intervene more quickly and reduce the residence time of the threat. For this, a SIEM provides an incident response playbook with configurable automated actions. A SIEM is able to integrate with third party solutions for security orchestration (SOAR) or individual case management.

Defense against insider threats

The reason why insider threats are such a big problem is because it’s not about entering the perimeter, but about exploiting insider positions. They can be your employees, contractors or business associates. It may be they themselves wanting to exploit their location, or their account may have been hacked.

With all kinds of internal threats, the attacker tries to stay hidden, gathering sensitive data to exploit. This could cause significant damage to the company, its position in the industry and its relationship with consumers or investors. By using a SIEM, you avoid this risk.

Cyber threat detection

Your organization is likely to have at least one sensitive data repository. Cybercriminals thrive on looting this data for financial gain. Many breaches begin with a simple phishing email against an organization’s target. Simply clicking on an attachment can leave malicious code behind. A SIEM will allow you to monitor advanced cyberthreat patterns such as phishing, beaconing and lateral movement.

Compliance standards

For many industries, adherence to compliance standards is critical. A SIEM can help by providing reports focused on data compliance requests. Integrated packages covering all major mandates, including PCI DSS, SOX, and ISO 27001, are a standard feature of SIEMs as well.

Next Generation SIEM

A next generation SIEM is not just a cloud hosted system. It also makes use of the implementation of AI and Machine Learning to increase the defense of the IT system.

We will see it in a future article, but it is right to specify that the SOCaaS offered by SOD makes use of the latest generation technology offered by Next Gen. SIEM systems. Contact us to find out more about it and talk to experts who can dispel all your doubts.

[btnsx id=”2931″]

Useful links:

SOC as a Service

Security: Pentest and verification of vulnerabilities

What is a Network Lateral Movement and how to defend yourself

Is SOCaaS useful for your business?

Computer network security: PT vs. VA

MITRE Att&ck: an overview



SIEM - Raccolta e analisi dei dati
Tempo di lettura: 5 min

Evolvendosi al di la’ delle sue radici nella gestione dei log file, gli odierni fornitori di software per la gestione delle informazioni di sicurezza e degli eventi (SIEM) stanno introduciendo l’IA, l’analisi statistica avanzata e altri metodi analitici nei loro prodotti. Ma cos’e’ un software SIEM e quali sono i suoi utilizzi?

Il software SIEM

Acronimo di Security Information and Event Management, e’ un prodotto che fornisce ai professionisti della cyber security nelle aziende una visione d’insieme e un track record delle attivita’ all’interno del loro ambiente IT.

La tecnologia usata esiste da piu’ di un decennio, e si e’ evoluta della pratica di gestione dei log file. Ha combinato la security event management (SEM), che analizza i dati dei log e degli eventi in tempo reale per fornire monitoring delle minacce, correlazione degli eventi e risposta agli incidenti, con la security information management (SIM) che raccoglie, analizza e riporta i dati dei log.

Come funziona?

Il SIEM raccoglie e aggrega i dati di log generati in tutta l’infrastruttura tecnologica dell’organizzazione, dai sistemi e applicazioni host ai dispositivi di rete e di sicurezza come i firewall e i filtri antivirus. Quindi, identifica e categorizza gli incidenti e gli eventi, oltre ad analizzarli.

Il software persegue due principali obiettivi, che sono: fornire rapporti su incidenti ed eventi legati alla sicurezza informatica, come login riusciti e non, attivita’ di malware e altre possibili attivita’ dannose, e inviare avvisi se l’analisi mostra che un’attivita’ va contro regole prestabilite, indicando un potenziale problema di sicurezza.

Secondo gli esperti, negli ultimi anni la domanda delle imprese di maggiori misure di sicurezza ha spinto il mercato all’espansione. Oggi le grandi organizzazioni guardano al SIEM come a una base per la creazione di un centro operativo di sicurezza (SOC). 

Analisi e intelligence

Uno dei principali fattori alla base dell’utilizzo del software SIEM per le operazioni di sicurezza e’ rappresentato dalle funzionalita’ offerte.

Molti prodotti offrono, oltre ai tradizionali dati dei log file, anche feed di informazioni sulle minacce. Alcuni software SIEM hanno anche capacita’ di analisi della sicurezza ed esaminano il comportamento della rete e quello degli utenti per fornire piu’ informazioni sulla possibilita’ che un’azione indichi o meno un’attivita’ dannosa.

In linea generale, gli strumenti SIEM forniscono:

1. Visibilita’ in tempo reale attraverso i sistemi di sicurezza informatica di un’organizzazione
2. Gestione del registro eventi che consolida i dati provenienti da numerose fonti
3. Una correlazione di eventi raccolti da diversi log o fonti di sicurezza, utilizzando regole che aggiungono informazioni importanti ai dati grezzi
4. Notifiche automatiche degli eventi di sicurezza. La maggior parte dei sistemi SIEM fornisce dashboard per i problemi di sicurezza e altri metodi di notifica diretta

Il processo di funzionamento SIEM

Nella pratica, il processo di funzionamento di un sistema SIEM si puo’ suddividere nei seguenti passaggi:

1. Raccolta dati: Tutte le fonti di informazioni sulla sicurezza della rete (es. server, sistemi operativi, firewall, software antivirus e sistemi di prevenzione delle intrusioni) sono configurate per mandare i log file degli eventi. La maggior parte dei moderni strumenti SIEM utilizza agenti per raccogliere i registri degli eventi dai sistemi aziendali, che vengono poi elaborati, filtrati e inviati al sistema. 

2. Policy: Un profilo di policy viene creato dall’amministratore. Questo definisce il comportamento dei sistemi aziendali, sia in condizioni normali che durante gli incidenti di sicurezza predefiniti. Si forniscono regole predefinite, avvisi, report e dashboard che possono essere regolati e personalizzati in base alle specifiche esigenze di sicurezza.

3. Consolidamento e correlazione dei dati: Questi software consolidano, analizzano e controllano i log file. Gli eventi vengono poi categorizzati in base ai dati grezzi e vengono applicate regole di correlazione che combinano i singoli eventi.

4. Notifiche: Se un evento o un insieme di eventi fa scattare un allarme SIEM, il sistema notifica il personale di sicurezza.

E’ evidente che un SIEM si ferma all’analisi delle minacce e conseguente notifica. In seguito a queste, occorre che qualcuno intervenga, sia controllando i report che prendendo misure per mitigare l’eventuale minaccia. Questo puo’ avvenire solo se dietro al software e’ presente 24/7 una squadra di tecnici preparati che faccia manutenzione e intervenga quando necessario.


Sebbene queste soluzioni offrono diversi vantaggi alle imprese di tutte le dimensioni e forme, esse presentano anche limiti e vulnerabilita’ che non dovrebbero essere ignorati.

Security Information and Event ManagementUn SIEM richiede un monitoraggio costante 24 ore su 24, 7 giorni su 7, dei registri e degli allarmi, una regolare manutenzione e configurazione, nonche’ un team di sicurezza dedicato responsabile della gestione del software. La maggior parte del lavoro inizia dopo l’implementazione del SIEM. Pertanto, le organizzazioni non possono fare affidamento solo su queste soluzioni per proteggere le infrastrutture IT critiche.

Anche con un sistema del genere in funzione, i professionisti della sicurezza devono assicurarsi di avere risorse, strumenti, budget e tempo adeguati per poter sfruttare le funzionalita’ e garantire una protezione completa contro le potenziali minacce alla sicurezza.

Sotto questo punto di vista, la soluzione piu’ interessante per le aziende e’ quella di un SOCaaS, che comprende SIEM e gli altri strumenti adeguati per una gestione completa della cyber security di un’azienda.

 Link utili:

SOC as a Service

Cos’e’ un Network Lateral Movement e come difendersi

Log Management

MITRE Att&ck: una panoramica

Il SOCaaS è utile per la tua azienda?