If agencies aren’t threat hunting, they’re failing

Having the latest information on incentives and tradecraft arms threat hunters with the ability to cross-reference organizational data with external trends and stay ahead of highly resourceful adversaries.

Threats from cybercriminals pose relentless challenges for government leaders. Adversaries are getting more sophisticated and persistent even as government officials and security experts have advocated for improved cyber defenses for years. It is encouraging to see the adoption of more innovative practices and solutions in the government sector on par with commercial best practices. Today, high-performing  agencies know that speed is critical to maintain an advantage over the adversary. However, to be faster, they must understand how to uncover the stealthiest attackers, the 1% of threats that evade even the most advanced threat-detection technologies.

Comprehensive visibility: critical to proactive hunting

For federal leaders to get a better grasp on the security of their networks, they need to get away from the traditional box-checking mentality of meeting compliance requirements. This way of thinking is hurting agencies, putting them -- and the nation -- at a disadvantage.  They must embrace threat hunting, which means proactively searching for “unknown unknowns”  -- new attack behaviors that aren’t exposed by current automated methods of prevention and detection. It means searching for “hands-on-keyboard activity” driven by humans, and it requires comprehensive understanding of the threat landscape.

To get to this level of awareness, agency network operators must start with a reliable source of intelligence and modern tools that allow them to be more proactive. In this case, that means a team of threat hunters who can leverage cyberthreat intelligence to uncover more about the adversaries -- who they are, their motivations -- and who know how to find and follow the breadcrumbs. Having the latest information on incentives and tradecraft arms threat hunters with the ability to cross-reference organizational data with external trends and stay ahead of highly resourceful adversaries.

In the private sector, managed threat hunting is considered essential for effective cybersecurity. It incorporates real-time intelligence, enables proactive response and reduces dwell time for adversaries, while enabling strategists to produce effective and tailored remediation as soon as intelligence reveals a vulnerability. Government agencies operate in a more challenging environment due to the outdated, legacy infrastructure of their networks, which are more difficult to defend. Adversaries see this antiquated architecture as an opportunity and deploy modern methods to lose themselves in the system using excess infrastructure as roadblocks for the network’s defenders.

But by applying human knowledge, experience and intuition, threat hunting can disrupt attacks before they become mega breaches, operating as a final line of defense against the most sophisticated adversaries. Cyber strategies that incorporate threat hunting combine human intellect, artificial intelligence, data and endpoint detection and response technology while operating on the cloud for speed and scale.  Modern tools are effective in tackling the majority of threats, but it is the human element -- the threat hunters themselves -- that provides cover should something slip through technology’s cracks.

An exceptional threat hunter not only knows how an organization operates but is also fully aware of the strategies and methods of attackers. The threat hunter is a key differentiator that can put agencies in a position of power. Agencies, however, must also implement cloud-based architectures and modern technology: next-generation antivirus and endpoint detection and response because modern cybersecurity strategy goes beyond basic IT hygiene. The reality is that on-premise security tools don’t provide the capacity or brain power to process data in a timely-enough fashion to be effective.

Time is of the essence

Make no mistake, cyber adversaries are dedicated to their mission -- whether the goal is to steal money, pilfer data or generally wreak havoc. And, while malicious actors carry out these missions, threat hunters are continuously sifting through data, looking for indicators of attack while learning their adversaries' tactics for gaining network entry.

The knowledge uncovered by threat hunting builds invaluable context and improved situational awareness, leading to more informed decisions and bringing agencies that much closer to detecting and quickly defeating attackers. It also allows for rapid identification of holes within the enterprise, enabling network operators to adapt and improvise, taking important steps towards creating an effective system of continuous proactive defense and refinement.

Federal agencies and government leaders have an opportunity to make lasting changes to how the public sector handles cyberthreats and attacks. Now is the time to embrace not only the need for speed, but the value presented by proactive threat hunting. Continuous monitoring combined with speed lets organizations facing compliance challenges and budget restrictions put up formidable defenses against the most sophisticated adversary. Adding  these tactics to threat management sets a higher standard of accountability for protecting the nation’s data against the ever-growing number of cybercriminals.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.