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

Strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence

We've discussed several analytical models that can help frame strategic, operational, and tactical operations – be that intelligence, hunting, or traditional SecOps. While there are individual books that have been written about each of these frameworks and models, and while we have just introduced them, it is also important to understand how they are all related and that each model can be overlaid on another.

Before we talk about stitching models together, there is another concept to describe, and that is Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. There have been a few different approaches to describing these phases, and to be honest, I think that they all probably work as long as you're taking a uniform approach and applying the thought processes the same way across all of your analytical processes and models. I choose to describe these high-level elements as follows:

  • Strategic – Who is launching this campaign and why are they doing it?
  • Operational – What is happening throughout this campaign?
  • Tactical – How did the adversary carry out the campaign?

Each of these three elements has a great deal of analysis that can go into research to understand them for each campaign.

There are a few different ways to analyze information across models. As an example, here is a way you could combine the Intelligence Pipeline with elements of the Diamond Model, and strategic/operational/tactical observations:

Table 1.2 – The Intelligence Pipeline and the Diamond Model

You can use this kind of table to help structure and prioritize your research and response efforts. This becomes even more helpful when you're thinking about your collection strategy, hopefully before an event starts. As you fill this table out, you'll learn more about your adversary, the campaign, your capabilities, and where the opportunities are to frustrate a current or future adversary.

Another method for chaining models together is to combine the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain and the Diamond Model. This allows you to associate adversary actions mapped with the Diamond Model with other parallel campaigns, note shared elements between events and campaigns, produce confidence assessments based on your inferences, and also determine how far the adversaries may be in their campaigns:

Figure 1.6 – The Diamond Model and the Lockheed Martin Kill Chain (Source: The Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis, Caltagirone, Sergio ; Pendergast, Andrew ; Betz, Christopher,

I do understand that this book isn't specifically just about intelligence analysis, but as I mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, only when you tightly couple intelligence analysis, processes, methodologies, and traditional SecOps can you begin threat hunting. So the introduction to these models was really meant to help put you in the right mindset to approach threat hunting analytically, strategically, operationally, and tactically, and also to highlight that this is a team sport.