Sqrrl Blog

Aug 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Threat Hunting Profile - Josh Liburdi


Name: Josh Liburdi

Organization: Sqrrl

Years hunting: 3

Favorite datasets: Bro, memory artifacts, file metadata

Favorite hunting techniques: Stack Counting, baselining, data visualization

Favorite tools: Bro, LaikaBoss, Volatility, Sqrrl

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Topics: Cyber Hunting, Threat Hunting, Threat Detection

Aug 1, 2016 5:45:22 PM

Threat Hunter Profile - David Bianco

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of posts that will profile various threat hunters, highlighting their experiences, as well as hunting techniques and lessons from the field.

Name: David J. Bianco

Organization: Sqrrl

Years hunting: 8

Favorite datasets: HTTP proxy logs, authentication logs, process data

Favorite hunting techniques: Outlier detection, visualization

Favorite tools: Sqrrl, Unix command line, Python, Apache Spark, scikit-learn

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Topics: Cyber Hunting, Threat Hunting, Threat Detection

Jul 26, 2016 7:06:00 AM

Increasing Hunt Confidence by Combining Network and Endpoint Data

This post originally appeared on Carbon Black's blog as an introduction to a threat hunting webinar with Carbon Black. A recording of that webinar is now available.

Threat Hunting is quickly becoming common practice in Security Operation Centers (SOCs). While many security analysts undertake hunting either formally or informally (86% according to a recent SANS Institute survey) hunts are often limited by the data that is available to them. This post explores how the unification of network and endpoint data can increase the effectiveness of threat hunts.

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Topics: Big Data, Threat Hunting, Threat Detection, Cyber Threat Hunting, UEBA

Jun 16, 2016 4:47:34 PM

An Introduction to Machine Learning for Cybersecurity and Threat Hunting

At BSides Boston 2016, Sqrrl’s Lead Security Technologist, David Bianco, and Director of Data Science, Chris McCubbin, gave a presentation about the importance of machine learning in the field of Cyber Threat Hunting. In this interview, we talk with them about how it relates to tools like UEBA, and where they see it taking the world of cybersecurity in the future. When used effectively, machine learning provides more accurate, effective insight into threats of all kinds. They predict that machine learning will soon take hold as a major influencing factor on organizations’ Security Operations Center workflows. In addition to their presentation, David and Chris also provide code for anyone interested in taking a hands-on approach to machine learning.

What is machine learning?

Chris: Very basically, machine learning is the capability of a deployed algorithm to adapt to the data that’s being input into it. A normal algorithm, for example, will run on a particular set of data and give you a result, and if you run it on the same set of data again, it will give you the same result. Machine learning has an adaptive component where if you run it on a piece of data it will do something and then change its behavior based on that data. So, even if you ran it on the same data twice, it might give you a different result because it’s adapting. That’s a very broad definition.

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Topics: Threat Hunting, Threat Detection, Cyber Threat Hunting, Machine Learning, UEBA

Jun 13, 2016 11:19:03 AM

June Webinar Recap: How Threat Hunting and UEBA Fit Into the Cybersecurity Landscape

On June 2nd Sqrrl hosted a webinar in collaboration with Momentum Partners that examined the current state of the cybersecurity landscape. The webinar covered ways in which various solutions, like threat hunting platforms and User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) tools, can complement an existing security ecosystem, ensuring security efforts are efficient, effective, and comprehensive.

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Topics: Cyber Hunting, Cyber Threat Hunting, User and Entity Behavior Analytics, UEBA

May 25, 2016 11:31:30 AM

Surveying the Threat Hunting Landscape, Part 2: Threat Hunting Practices and Next Steps

In part 1 of this series, we outlined the current state of cyber threat hunting as it was profiled in SANS’s recent survey of 464 companies on the handling of proactive cyber threat detection. In this section, we’ll discuss specifically what types of hunting practices these companies use to track and remove threats in their systems, and we will take a look ahead to see how threat hunting will continue to grow in the future.

In addition to the process of data collection, automation is used to speed up certain parts of the hunting process so that analysts can focus on what’s really valuable, as opposed to having to spend time gathering and parsing through large, disparate data sets. When SANS asked the survey participants what percentage of their threat hunting capacity is automated, the responses were fairly split, with each option (1 - 10%, 11 - 25%, 26 - 50%, 51 - 75%, 76-99%) each receiving about 20%. Each stage in the Threat Hunting Loop provides opportunities for automation that can make the hunting process much more efficient. When forming a hypothesis, automated risk scoring and heat mapping can highlight where to start looking; when investigating, automated visualizations with predetermined pathways and prescribed hunting techniques help you reach your target sooner; automated TTP detection analytics allow you to easily uncover and identify threats; and feeding data back into automated tools to enrich your analytics will only make the process quicker and more powerful for the next hunt.

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Topics: Sqrrl Enterprise, Threat Hunting, Cyber Threat Hunting

May 18, 2016 2:46:33 PM

Surveying the Threat Hunting Landscape, Part 1: The Current State of Threat Hunting


In April, the SANS Institute published the results of the first threat hunting survey to date. The results were gathered from 464 security practitioners in a variety of fields (including financial, cybersecurity, defense contracting, and government organizations) on threat hunting and the role it plays in their security infrastructure. The survey sought to determine if and how organizations are currently hunting, how they feel about their present hunting maturity, and what they have planned for increasing their hunting capabilities in the future. The survey results come at a critical time - today, companies are starting to realize what SANS calls the “three absolute facts” of security: 1) companies cannot prevent every attack; 2) an organization’s network will, at some point, be compromised; and 3) 100% security simply does not exist. It’s imperative, then, that companies try to ramp up their detection capabilities as much as possible to minimize the impact and severity of inevitable cyber attacks.
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Topics: Threat Hunting, Cyber Threat Hunting

May 16, 2016 12:54:05 PM

Sqrrl releases Enterprise 2.5

Sqrrl’s latest release, Sqrrl Enterprise 2.5, revolutionizes the hunt by delivering a wide range of new capabilities aimed at streamlining and automating threat hunting activities for security analysts. By combining big data, analytics, investigation, and collaboration capabilities all in a single tool, Sqrrl Enterprise fulfills all of the requirements of a Threat Hunting Platform. Sqrrl’s hunting approach focuses on identifying, gathering, and acting upon an adversary’s Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), in order to rapidly detect and mitigate threats in your network. This release marks the most comprehensive update to Sqrrl since the release of Enterprise 2.0, which launched the Sqrrl visual investigation interface. These are some of the new features added to Sqrrl to make hunting for advanced threats more streamlined than ever. The new release is generally available to all current Sqrrl users as of  May 16, 2016.

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Topics: Sqrrl Enterprise, Sqrrl, Cyber Threat Hunting

May 4, 2016 1:27:00 PM

Incident Response is Dead... Long Live Incident Response

Originally posted by Scott Roberts, a threat hunter at GitHub, at http://sroberts.github.io/2015/04/14/ir-is-dead-long-live-ir/ 

Talk to anyone in the DFIR Illuminati and one of the topics that always comes up is Hunting. Much like threat intelligence & string theory, people talk a lot about this, but nearly no one knows what it actually means.

Proactive vs. Reactive

At its core, Hunting is about taking a proactive vs a reactive approach to identifying incidents.

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Topics: Cyber Hunting, Incident Response, Threat Hunting, Cyber Threat Hunting

Apr 27, 2016 4:27:00 PM

Threat Hunting Quick Fix

Originally posted by Samuel Alonso, KPMG Global Security Operations Center threat hunter at http://cyber-ir.com/2016/03/08/threat-hunting-quick-fix/ 

Are you currently threat hunting and not finding much? I do not support this threat hunting modality however it is true that I use it when I do not have the time to go on a hunting trip and keep focused.

This is not a silver bullet but it is true that it can help in your hunting trips, looking for already known IOC’s sometimes can bring up interesting results.

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Topics: Incident Response, Threat Hunting, Cyber Threat Hunting, Security Analytics