Going in for the kill: Cyber threat hunting

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Enterprise technology is home to some of the coolest job titles ever. Data Ninja, Chief Robot Officer, Ethical Hacker – these are all roles that generate a lot of interest on a first date or at a dinner party.

Firmly entrenched on the Cool Title List is the relatively new role of Cyber Threat Hunter. The title alone conjures up images of armed individuals in front of a Star Trek-esque control panel, and it's not far off; like the team on the Starship Enterprise, cyber threat hunters fight evil forces for the greater good.

Cyber threat hunters are a product of today's threat landscape. The cyber intelligence field is growing, particularly in response to the increasing sophistication and volume of attacks. In turn, organisations across every industry have had to accept that attacks are always imminent. Thus, a proactive approach is necessary, and employing cyber threat hunters is the answer.

A day in the life of a cyber threat hunter

All businesses will have endpoint security defences in place. However, some threats are able to slip through the cracks, thus necessitating in-house cyber threat hunters. Hunters will proactively investigate whether there are hackers or malware within your network. This isn't limited to new arrivals; cyber threat hunters will also search for those that have been lurking for some time.

Hunters fall into the bracket of attack prevention rather than attack response. They gather information on threat activity and use this to draw up trends and the current threat landscape for their organisation. By organising the information, they can stop attacks developing further (of course), as well as draw better predictions for the future.

Threat hunters are highly skilled individuals who exercise a lot of patience in their role. As well as this, they must be able to identify patterns and have an eagle eye for detail so as to not miss anything. Hunters often have extensive experience in cybersecurity and are well-versed in security operations and attacker methodology.

Furthermore, threat hunters must have an awareness of the geopolitical and corporate landscape. By keeping current, they can determine whether they should expect a certain threat or attack type. Balanced with their technical knowledge, cyber threat hunters present a coveted level of expertise to put companies in good stead.

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