As recent attacks targeting sensitive, personal information at a number of high-profile institutions have demonstrated, it is not a matter of if, but when you will have to investigate a security breach. The law enforcement and intelligence communities are increasingly called upon to investigate and mitigate cyberthreats, often applying the same tools and meticulous techniques they have developed over decades.

By moving beyond the reactive, day-to-day operations of the security operations center (SOC) and the hundreds of offenses that are generated daily by various security information and event management (SIEM) tools, more skilled analysts can dive deeper to investigate specific offenses, hunt for threats based on current threat intelligence and known threat actors, test out hypotheses, and proactively look for vulnerabilities and indicators of compromise (IoCs). This type of investigation requires analysts to bring together disparate data sources to gain a better understanding of what is happening, what has happened and the overall sequence of events.

The Tedious Task of Threat Analysis

The task of data collection, curation and loading can be time-consuming and laborious. An analyst may need to write scripts in a variety of tools and languages to gather data from systems or read a number of threat intelligence reports to gain insights about campaigns occurring that day. They might then need to load this data into manual analysis tools to look for patterns, trends and outliers. It can take as much time to collect, normalize and correlate the data as it does to analyze it.

Quickly, the task becomes more about data curation, which is too large a task to carry out for all but the biggest incidents in the largest institutions. But this needn’t be the case. By utilizing investigative analysis software, organizations can come to grips with their investigations, conduct more thorough analyses and proactively hunt for threats.

A Proactive Strategy to Mitigate Cyberthreats

An organization might initially start this journey by looking for threats not typically picked up in the day-to-day operations of the SOC, such as latent threat discovery, campaign analysis or even pattern recognition. By bringing together a few data sets, such as SIEM data, threat intelligence from both open source and commercial vendors, internal investigation data and potentially some basic open source intelligence (OSINT), an organization can identify and mitigate cyberthreats lurking on their networks.

By applying enterprise intelligence tools to techniques already used by many fraud and criminal investigation units around the globe, security professionals can move from data collection and curation to threat analysis and investigation in a collaborative, organizationwide manner. This can ultimately feed back into your security policies, rules and automation to further protect your organization and allow your teams to focus their efforts on proactive protection and threat hunting.

More from Incident Response

3 recommendations for adopting generative AI for cyber defense

3 min read - In the past eighteen months, generative AI (gen AI) has gone from being the source of jaw-dropping demos to a top strategic priority in nearly every industry. A majority of CEOs report feeling under pressure to invest in gen AI. Product teams are now scrambling to build gen AI into their solutions and services. The EU and US are beginning to put new regulatory frameworks in place to manage AI risks.Amid all this commotion, hackers and other cybercriminals are hardly…

What we can learn from the best collegiate cyber defenders

3 min read - This year marked the 19th season of the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC). For those unfamiliar, CCDC is a competition that puts student teams in charge of managing IT for a fictitious company as the network is undergoing a fundamental transformation. This year the challenge involved a common scenario: a merger. Ten finalist teams were tasked with managing IT infrastructure during this migrational period and, as an added bonus, the networks were simultaneously attacked by a group of red…

Why security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) is fundamental to a security platform

3 min read - Security teams today are facing increased challenges due to the remote and hybrid workforce expansion in the wake of COVID-19. Teams that were already struggling with too many tools and too much data are finding it even more difficult to collaborate and communicate as employees have moved to a virtual security operations center (SOC) model while addressing an increasing number of threats.¬† Disconnected teams accelerate the need for an open and connected platform approach to security¬†. Adopting this type of…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today