Series intro – The rise of the threat hunter

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, where automated systems and AI stand as the first line of defense, there exists a critical yet often…

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Nik Earnest

July 9, 20245 minute read

A man is sitting at a computer, looking at code and data. There is a blue overlay on the image with an illustration of a magnifying glass and a bug in the bottom right corner.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, where automated systems and AI stand as the first line of defense, there exists a critical yet often underappreciated layer of security: the human threat hunter. These vigilant guardians delve deep into device logs and theoretical attacks to uncover hidden dangers and fortify our defenses against relentless threats. The threat hunter’s role is not just complementary to cybersecurity systems; it is indispensable. 

We saw this firsthand when our Threat Hunting Team stumbled upon a series of unusual activities during a routine sweep. What appeared at first to be benign quickly revealed itself as a sophisticated insider threat. A user within the company was found engaging in malicious activities, cleverly masked to evade traditional security measures. This discovery set off a meticulous investigation, showcasing the indispensable role of threat hunters in uncovering hidden dangers within an organization’s own walls. 

Threat hunters are the unsung heroes of cybersecurity, equipped with the skills and intuition to spot anomalies that automated systems often miss. In this case, their vigilance and expertise were crucial in identifying and mitigating the threat before it could cause significant damage. By leveraging behavioral analytics, the team was able to detect deviations from normal user behavior, providing critical insights that traditional security measures overlooked. This incident serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of having dedicated threat hunters as part of a comprehensive security strategy, capable of staying one step ahead of both internal and external adversaries. 

Unlike automated tools, threat hunters bring an element of intuition and adaptive thinking, qualities that are essential in identifying sophisticated threats that can evade even the most advanced algorithms.  

New Research, Powerful Insights 

Recent academic research conducted by The CHISEL Group at the University of Victoria dives into who these modern-day cyber heroes are, the tools and resources they use, the workflows they employ, and the environment they work in. Threat hunters are the elite detectives of the cyber world. They possess a unique blend of analytical skills, deep knowledge of cyber threats, and an unyielding curiosity that drives them to probe deeper than any machine could. They are the ones who connect the dots that others might miss, piecing together fragments of data to reveal a complete picture of a potential breach. 

Supporting Threat Hunters 

As cyber threats evolve in complexity and scale, the need for skilled threat hunters has never been greater. Yet, the question remains: Are companies doing enough to support these digital defenders? Amidst the overwhelming demand for threat hunting expertise, often organizations fall short in providing the necessary tools, and resources to fully empower their threat hunting teams. A decision that all too often leads to threat hunter burn out and potentially major security incidents. 

To bridge this gap and react to the ever-increasing volume of sophisticated cyber threats brought on by the availability of AI, companies must rethink their approach to cybersecurity, recognizing that technology alone is not a panacea. A holistic strategy that integrates cutting-edge cybersecurity products with human expertise is paramount. For instance, OpenText Cybersecurity offers a suite of solutions designed to enhance the capabilities of threat hunters, enabling them to perform their roles more effectively and efficiently. 

The Rise of the Threat Hunter Series 

This blog series is about fostering a deeper understanding of the vital role threat hunters play in defending our digital landscape. It’s about highlighting the challenges they face and the support they need to succeed. We’ll explore best practices for nurturing these invaluable team members, from continuous training and development to creating an environment that encourages innovation and resilience. 

We will delve into the critical role of human threat hunters in cybersecurity and explore how companies can support and empower these essential defenders. Running weekly through October, each post will build on the last, providing in-depth insights, practical strategies, and the latest research findings. This initial post serves as a table of contents, with links updated weekly to guide you through the journey. 

  • Week 1: Series Intro – The Rise of the Threat Hunter 
  • Week 2: A Study of Threat Hunters 
  • Week 3: 3 Key Aspects of Being a Threat Hunter 
  • Week 4: Threat Hunters – A Day in the Life 
  • Week 5: Challenges of Being a Threat Hunter 
  • Week 6: Threat Hunter Personas 
  • Week 7: How Threat Hunters Stay Informed and Collaborate 
  • Week 8: How to Support Threat Hunters 
  • Week 9: Building a Threat Hunting Team 
  • Week 10: The Future of Threat Hunting 
  • Week 11: Equipping Threat Hunters – Advanced Analytics and AI – Part 1 
  • Week 12: Equipping Threat Hunters – Advanced Analytics and AI – Part 2 
  • Week 13: Threat Intelligence in Threat Hunting
  • Week 14: Hunt or Be Hunted – Threat Hunting in the Public Sector 
  • Week 15: Series Wrap – The Rise of the Threat Hunter 

Join us as we embark on this journey, shedding light on the rise of the threat hunter and discovering how we can better support these crucial warriors in the fight against cybercrime. Whether you’re a business leader, a cybersecurity professional, or simply someone interested in the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity, this series will provide insights and actionable strategies to enhance your organization’s defenses. 

Learn More about OpenText Cybersecurity 

Ready to enable your threat hunting team with products, services, and training to protect your most valuable and sensitive information? Check out our Cybersecurity portfolio for a modern portfolio of complementary security solutions that offer threat hunters and security analysts 360-degree visibility across endpoints and network traffic to proactively identify, triage, and investigate anomalous and malicious behavior. 

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Nik Earnest

Nik Earnest is a Product Marketing Manager at OpenText focused promoting AI, ML, and behavior analytics in cybersecurity. He currently manages product marketing for OpenText ArcSight Intelligence and Cybersecurity Aviator. With exciting advances in AI, Nik is committed to equipping customers with the tools they need to defend against advanced attacks and insider threats, ensuring the security and integrity of their organizations.

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