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December 2018, Vol. 20, No. 6

The threat hunting process is missing the human element

The rise of the threat hunter role is butting up against the skills shortage. As more companies start to adopt security automation, the threat hunting process steps outside of the box by requiring a highly trained human element. While tier-1 and tier-2 analysts rely on alerts from systems and some combination of manual and automated workflow to escalate and respond to security events, the threat hunting process hinges on an expert's ability to create hypotheses and to hunt for patterns and indicators of compromise in data-driven networks. Usually, that means tier-3 security analysts with the experience and creativity to proactively discover tactics, techniques and procedures employed by advanced threats. Threat analyst activities require awareness of attackers' TTPs, understanding of threat intelligence and data analysis, knowledge of forensics and network security, and plenty of time to carry out these tasks. With tier-3 analysts in short supply, who is going to fill these roles? The skills dilemma may depend on how ...

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