Cyber Security Threat Hunters? Who Are They? What Do They Do?
The internet has brought with it a lot of benefits for us. Unfortunately, it has also introduced us to cyber crimes. Since the advent of this nefarious activity, the world has been battling hard against it, only to be defeated most of the time. Through experience, we’ve built various security tools, employed various security experts, to safeguard ourselves from these cyber crimes. And now it’s time the IT security world prepared itself for (cyber security) threat hunters.
Who are these (Cyber Security) Threat Hunters?
Cyber Security Threat Hunters are professionals trained to look for cyber security threats; trained to observe any anomalous behavior in your network, analyze them and thus prevent anything untoward from happening. They bring in the much-needed ‘human element’ which IT security tools lack. After all, security threats are initiated by hackers who are humans just like us. And to understand the malware these hackers create, it is first important to understand the hackers themselves.
That’s what these cyber security hunters do. They profile the future hacker based on the current security threat landscape – just like the police profile criminals – by taking into account 3 critical aspects of hacking: the intent, capability and opportunity to do harm; and using this, they predict and thereby prevent the malware attack which may be perpetrated by them. Simply put, they predict cyber security threats (based on the recorded surveillance data) by predicting the hackers’ mindset and thus prevent the malware which may be created by them from causing havoc.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Cyber threat hunters work based on this principle. They generate and investigate several hypotheses founded on the current security threat landscape and duly warn organizations of ‘what may happen’ if they do not take the appropriate security measures. Thus they prevent cyber disasters by adopting prevention is better than cure policy.
Who Qualifies as a Threat Hunter? Who do They Work With?
It usually takes years and years of experience as a cyber security professional to become a cyber security hunter. Because it’s not easy to predict or read the mindset of hackers – and thereby deduce the type of malware they might create – without having spent considerable time in the IT security industry. And these security hunters are usually people who work alongside SOC (Security Operations Center) analysts.
They Always Picture The Worst-Case Scenario
Thinking along these lines helps security threat hunters to look for (or hunt for) security threats in areas which might usually be overlooked. Moreover, preparing for the worst, helps them come up with a ‘continually evolving platform than taking a product-based approach’ that will get outdated over time. Considering the rampant cyber crimes we are confronted with, this is a really good approach.
Rare But Growing (and Much Needed) Breed of Cyber Security Professionals
There no doubt that these elite breed of professionals are going to be in demand for a long time, considering how our security threat landscape is changing constantly. Because these cyber security threat hunters are ‘taking proactive security to the next level’, by sniffing out traces of cyber attacks, and indulging in a relentless pursuit until these attacks extinguished completely.
Therefore we can safely assume that cyber threat hunters – and cyber threat hunting – are here to stay.
Kevin Jones951 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.