- Detect how and when a breach occurred
- Identify compromised and affected systems
- Determine what attackers took or changed
- Contain and remediate incidents
- Develop key sources of threat intelligence
- Hunt down additional breaches using knowledge of the adversary
DAY 0: A 3-letter government agency contacts you to say an advanced threat group is targeting organizations like yours, and that your organization is likely a target. They won’t tell how they know, but they suspect that there are already several breached systems within your enterprise. An advanced persistent threat, aka an APT, is likely involved. This is the most sophisticated threat that you are likely to face in your efforts to defend your systems and data, and these adversaries may have been actively rummaging through your network undetected for months or even years.
This is a hypothetical situation, but the chances are very high that hidden threats already exist inside your organization’s networks. Organizations can’t afford to believe that their security measures are perfect and impenetrable, no matter how thorough their security precautions might be. Prevention systems alone are insufficient to counter focused human adversaries who know how to get around most security and monitoring tools.
The key is to constantly look for attacks that get past security systems, and to catch intrusions in progress, rather than after attackers have completed their objectives and done worse damage to the organization. For the incident responder, this process is known as “threat hunting”. Threat hunting uses known adversary behaviors to proactively examine the network and endpoints in order to identify new data breaches.