Ransomware is the most destructive type of cyberattack due to the massive financial losses it inflicts on organizations around the world. According to IBM, on average, it takes 280 days to detect any threat in the system. For this reason, experts have always advocated that threat-hunting ransomware detection and prevention should be conducted rigorously and actively.
It is very important to use threat hunting tools to detect cyberattacks that might be taking place in your organization. Most security agencies such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), NSA (National Security Agency), and CISA (Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency) emphasize the need for organizations to incorporate proactive threat hunting into their framework. of cybersecurity.
What is Threat Hunting?
Threat hunting refers to the process of proactive scanning to identify cyber threats that might be sneaking around an organization’s infrastructure. The threat hunting process involves a thorough analysis and monitoring of all network devices and data and the search for malicious actors who may have breached key security defenses.
Threat hunting becomes part of a crucial strategy to strengthen an organization’s defense. Cybercriminals are constantly trying to evade detection while exploiting unauthorized access to an organization’s infrastructure. Thus, Threat Hunting provides a comprehensive set of tools and services to bolster an organization’s cybersecurity.
What is ransomware detection?
Ransomware has an extremely negative impact on the victim company’s finances and reputation. In these attacks, cybercriminals hold huge amounts of sensitive data hostage and demand huge ransoms in exchange for keeping the data confidential and returning them. Numerous ransomware gangs have gained popularity for launching devastating ransomware attacks against organizations around the world.
The importance of ransomware detection is to implement tools and services that could identify potential threats to an organization. Moreover, when an attack occurs, necessary procedure is performed to recover lost data without paying ransom. Another important consideration when detecting ransomware is malware detection, as this is the primary attack vector for ransomware attacks.
Relevance of ransomware detection in threat hunting
Proactively detecting malware and preventing it from entering an organization’s network is one of the primary applications of threat hunting. Ransomware attacks are highly disruptive as they bypass security systems at all levels to reach confidential databases. Thus, threat hunting uses ransomware detection techniques to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place.
How are ransomware threats hunted?
Ransomware detection is done comprehensively through threat hunting. Historical attack data is present in the form of threat intelligence. Thus, threat intelligence helps to develop tools that have certain parametric attributes such as deep feature extractor, multi-class classifier, etc. These attributes are used to define a threat hunting procedure for ransomware detection. Additionally, threat information is also used to develop hypotheses, which helps in predicting threats. Thus, a defense mechanism is built into the cybersecurity infrastructure to detect malware that could lead to a ransomware attack. There is a specific set of methodologies for ransomware detection, which is based on the concept of threat hunting.
Ransomware Detection Techniques Through Threat Hunting
Threat hunting is an ongoing process of finding threats and the information gathered is integrated into existing security frameworks. Ransomware threat hunting involves a mixed process of malware analysis and automation. Cybercriminals often hide their attack scripts in malware. There is a categorical set of techniques used for ransomware/malware detection. The three types of detection techniques are:
Signature-based ransomware detection
In this threat hunting procedure, the hash value of ransomware samples is compared to known signatures. This provides a quick and static analysis of the system. This is the first level of defense.
Behavior-based detection method
Understanding the behavior of abusers is important for developing hypotheses. In this method, historical data and attack vectors are recorded to provide information on indicators of compromise (IOC). This method compares CIOs to the average behavioral baseline. There are three main methods to compare the detected behavior with the baseline.
Traffic analysis: Threat hunters examine network traffic and its connections. The volume of data transmission and its sources are also analyzed. They try to identify offsite servers and ransomware decryption keys. This method requires an immense analysis time and can sometimes give false positives.
Filesystem changes: This method is useful for detecting abnormal file executions and multiple name changes. When there is an increase in the number of multiple executions in a day, it is a cause for concern. Files containing ransomware scripts can remain in the system for a long time without being executed. Threat hunters look for the creation of a file with higher entropy than the original file. They also observe the enumeration and encryption of these files.
API calls: This method requires examining API calls. This means that it checks the commands that are executed by the files.
This technique is based on deception and baiting attackers. This is done using a fake server or file repository which is not normally used by users.
“Proactive” is the key to detection and hunting
Threat hunting and ransomware detection are part of an essential proactive defense strategy. This means that an organization can be defended against any type of attack. The crucial element of defense is understanding all attack possibilities and developing a defense mechanism. There are two fundamental touchpoints for launching a cyberattack. One is a machine and the second is human.
Machines can be defended using firewall, antivirus, antimalware, email gateways, etc., but humans are the main cause of cyberattacks. In fact, approximately 96% of all cyberattacks are caused by human negligence. To ensure threat hunting and ransomware detection, every organization should perform vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) to identify all vulnerabilities and flaws in the organization’s cyberinfrastructure. They need to empower and educate their employees to become proactive and prevent phishing, smishing, vishing, etc. using security awareness training (ThreatCop) and threat intelligence and response (TONGUE). Cybersecurity is the field of information technology that aims to secure digital infrastructure and protect the cyber world.
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*** This is a syndicated blog from the Kratikal Blogs Security Bloggers Network written by Kumar Shantanu. Read the original post at: https://www.kratikal.com/blog/ransomware-detection-through-threat-hunting/