Book Image

Practical Threat Intelligence and Data-Driven Threat Hunting

By : Valentina Costa-Gazcón
Book Image

Practical Threat Intelligence and Data-Driven Threat Hunting

By: Valentina Costa-Gazcón

Overview of this book

Threat hunting (TH) provides cybersecurity analysts and enterprises with the opportunity to proactively defend themselves by getting ahead of threats before they can cause major damage to their business. This book is not only an introduction for those who don’t know much about the cyber threat intelligence (CTI) and TH world, but also a guide for those with more advanced knowledge of other cybersecurity fields who are looking to implement a TH program from scratch. You will start by exploring what threat intelligence is and how it can be used to detect and prevent cyber threats. As you progress, you’ll learn how to collect data, along with understanding it by developing data models. The book will also show you how to set up an environment for TH using open source tools. Later, you will focus on how to plan a hunt with practical examples, before going on to explore the MITRE ATT&CK framework. By the end of this book, you’ll have the skills you need to be able to carry out effective hunts in your own environment.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
Section 1: Cyber Threat Intelligence
Section 2: Understanding the Adversary
Section 3: Working with a Research Environment
Section 4: Communicating to Succeed
Appendix – The State of the Hunt

Processing and exploitation

Once the data has been collected, it must be processed and exploited so that it can be converted into intelligence. The IOCs must be provided with context, and their relevance and reliability must be assessed.

One way to approach this is to break data into buckets and take advantage of the available frameworks in order to look for patterns.

We are going to quickly review three of the most commonly used intelligence frameworks: the Cyber Kill Chain®, the Diamond Model, and the MITRE ATT&CK™ Framework. The latter has a full chapter dedicated to it, Chapter 4, Mapping the Adversary.

The Cyber Kill Chain®

Developed by Lockheed Martin, the Cyber Kill Chain® is a means to identify the steps the threat actor should follow in order to achieve their objective.

There are seven different steps:

  1. Reconnaissance: Getting to know the victim using non-invasive techniques.
  2. Weaponization: Generating the malicious payload that is going to be delivered.
  3. Delivery: Delivering the weaponized artifact.
  4. Exploitation: Achieving code execution on the victim's system through the exploitation of a vulnerability.
  5. Installation: Installing the final malware piece.
  6. Command and Control (C2): Establishing a channel to communicate with the malware on the victim's system.
  7. Actions on objectives: With full access and communication, the attacker achieves their goal.

    This model has been criticized for not being good enough to describe the way some modern attacks work, but at the same time, it has been praised for delimiting the points at which an attack can be stopped:

Figure 1.6 – Lockheed's Martin Cyber Kill Chain®

Figure 1.6 – Lockheed Martin's Cyber Kill Chain®

The Diamond Model

The Diamond Model provides us with a simple way to track breach intrusions since it helps us establish the atomic elements involved in them. It comprises four main features: adversary, infrastructure, capability, and victim. These features are connected by the sociopolitical and technical axes:

Figure 1.7 – The Diamond Model

Figure 1.7 – The Diamond Model

We will now have a look at the MITRE ATT&CK™ Framework.

MITRE ATT&CK™ Framework

The MITRE ATT&CK™ Framework is a descriptive model used to label and study the activities that a threat actor is capable of carrying out in order to get a foothold and operate inside an enterprise environment, a cloud environment, smartphones, or even industrial control systems.

The magic behind the ATT&CK™ Framework is that it provides a common taxonomy for the cybersecurity community to describe the adversary's behavior. It works as a common language that both offensive and defensive researchers can use to better understand each other and to better communicate with people not specialized in the field.

On top of that, you not only can use it as you see fit, but you can also build on top of it, creating your own set of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

12 tactics are used to encompass different sets of techniques. Each tactic represents a tactical goal; that is, the reason why the threat actor is showing a specific behavior. Each of these tactics is composed of a set of techniques and sub-techniques that describe specific threat actor behaviors.

The procedure is the specific way in which a threat actor implements a specific technique or sub-technique. One procedure can be expanded into multiple techniques and sub-techniques:

Figure 1.8 – The Enterprise Matrix

Figure 1.8 – The Enterprise Matrix

We will now have a look at bias and analysis.