Book Image

Threat Hunting with Elastic Stack

By : Andrew Pease
5 (1)
Book Image

Threat Hunting with Elastic Stack

5 (1)
By: Andrew Pease

Overview of this book

Threat Hunting with Elastic Stack will show you how to make the best use of Elastic Security to provide optimal protection against cyber threats. With this book, security practitioners working with Kibana will be able to put their knowledge to work and detect malicious adversary activity within their contested network. You'll take a hands-on approach to learning the implementation and methodologies that will have you up and running in no time. Starting with the foundational parts of the Elastic Stack, you'll explore analytical models and how they support security response and finally leverage Elastic technology to perform defensive cyber operations. You’ll then cover threat intelligence analytical models, threat hunting concepts and methodologies, and how to leverage them in cyber operations. After you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll apply the knowledge you've gained to build and configure your own Elastic Stack, upload data, and explore that data directly as well as by using the built-in tools in the Kibana app to hunt for nefarious activities. By the end of this book, you'll be able to build an Elastic Stack for self-training or to monitor your own network and/or assets and use Kibana to monitor and hunt for adversaries within your network.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Section 1: Introduction to Threat Hunting, Analytical Models, and Hunting Methodologies
Section 2: Leveraging the Elastic Stack for Collection and Analysis
Section 3: Operationalizing Threat Hunting

MITRE's ATT&CK Matrices

The MITRE Corporation is a federally funded group used to perform research and development for several government agencies. One of the many contributions they have made to cyber is a series of detailed and tactical matrices that are used to describe adversary activities, known as the Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK) matrices. There are three main matrices, Enterprise, Mobile, and ICS.

The Enterprise Matrix includes tactics and techniques focused on preparatory phases (similar to the Reconnaissance and Weaponization phases from the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain), traditional operating systems, ICSes, and network-centric adversary tactics.

The Mobile Matrix includes tactics and techniques focused on identifying post-exploitation adversary activities targeting Apple's iOS and the Android mobile operating systems.

The ICS Matrix includes tactics and techniques focused on identifying post-exploitation adversary activities targeting an ICS network.

The matrices are all built upon another MITRE framework known as the Cyber Analytics Repository (CAR), which is focused purely on adversary analytics. The ATT&CK matrices are an abstraction that allows you to view the analytics, by technique, by the tactic.

All of the matrices use a grouping schema of tactic, technique, and in the case of the Enterprise Matrix, sub-technique. When thinking about the differences between a tactic, a technique, and an analytic, all three of these elements describe aggressor behavior in a different, but associated, context:

  • A tactic is the highest level of the actor's behavior (what they want to achieve – initial access, execution, and so on).
  • A technique is more detailed and carries the context of the tactic (what they are going to use to achieve their tactic – spear phishing, malware, and so on).
  • An analytic is a highly detailed description of the behavior and carries with it the context of the technique (for instance, the attacker will send an email with malicious content to achieve the initial access).

MITRE uses 14 tactics and Matrix-specific techniques/sub-techniques:

  • Reconnaissance (PRE matrix only) – Techniques for information collection on the target
  • Resource Development (PRE matrix only) – Techniques for infrastructure acquisition and capabilities development
  • Initial Access – Techniques to gain an initial foothold into a target environment
  • Execution – Techniques to execute code within the target environment
  • Persistence – Techniques that maintain access to the target environment
  • Privilege Escalation – Techniques that escalate access within the target environment
  • Defense Evasion – Techniques to avoid being detected
  • Credential Access – Techniques to acquire internal/additional account credentials
  • Discovery – Techniques to learn more about the target environment (networks, services, and so on)
  • Lateral Movement – Techniques to expand access beyond the initial entry point
  • Collection – Techniques to collect information or data for follow-on activities
  • Command and Control – Techniques to control implants within the target environment
  • Exfiltration – Techniques to steal collected data from the target environment
  • Impact – Techniques to negatively deny, degrade, disrupt, or destroy assets, processes, or operations with the target environment

Within these high-level tactics, there are multiple techniques and sub-techniques used to describe the adversary's actions. Two example techniques and sub-techniques (of the nine techniques available) in the Initial Access tactic are as follows:

Table 1.1 – An example of the MITRE ATT&CK tactic, technique, and sub-technique relationship

Elastic, wanting to describe detections within the proper context, has added MITRE ATT&CK elements to each of its detection rules. We'll discuss this in detail later on:

Figure 1.4 – An example of the MITRE ATT&CK framework in the Elastic Security app

As we can see, MITRE's ATT&CK matrices are much more detailed than the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain, but that isn't to say that one is necessarily better than the other; both have their uses. As an example, when producing technical writing or briefings, being able to describe that the adversary's Resource Development tactic included the technique of them developing capabilities, and exploits specifically, is valuable; however, if the audience isn't too technical, simply being able to state that the adversary weaponized their attack (using the Lockheed Martin Kill Chain) could be easier to understand.