Active Directory & Office 365 Reporting Tool

What is Threat Hunting in Cyber Security ? (Complete Playbook Guide). Well, cyber security involves the protection of a computer or network from different malicious attacks. Without it, these malicious attacks can easily retrieve confidential information from a computer and damage the software components entirely. 

There are lots of terminologies under cyber security, and threat hunting happens to be one of them. So what exactly does it mean? If you have no idea about what threat hunting entails, don’t worry. This article would explain everything you need to know. 

Shall we start with what is Threat Hunting in Cyber Security ? (Complete Playbook Guide).

What is Threat Hunting?

Firstly, threat hunting in cyber security is the active search for different cyber threats that are usually undetected by your network’s security. This search is carried out by trained professionals who are experts at identifying different malware that might be of harm to a network.

The professionals who carry out threat hunting are known as threat hunters. They do not wait around for security tools to passively detect anomalies or vulnerabilities on a network. Instead, they work together with these security tools to actively hunt for threats with more efficiency.

A lot of organizations are implementing this idea on their networks because it provides better security than using the security tools alone. Threat hunting has given networks an advantage over malicious attacks when it comes to tightening security.

Why is Threat Hunting Important in Cyber Security?

Some cyber threats are more sophisticated than you might think. A network’s security tools or defence systems such as a firewall should be good enough to help detect and eliminate a few threats. However, even with these tools in place, some threats can still sneak into a network and remain undetected for a long time.

When these threats remain undetected on a network, they use this opportunity to gather confidential data and information to further break into the network. The best solution to this is to implement threat hunting. It helps to detect any threat or vulnerability on a network before it is too late.

Elements of Threat Hunting in Cyber Security?

As mentioned earlier, threat hunting is a powerful and effective way to detect malicious activities on a network. Experts must put a few things in place before carrying this out. So what exactly are the elements that makeup threat hunting? Let’s take a look at them.


An approach is one of the key elements of it. To successfully hunt for cyber security threats, you need to have an approach on how you will carry it out. This approach is usually a consistent process, therefore, your methodology or approach constantly evolves to better tackle the malware that might be lurking in a network.


Well, surely threat hunting does not work effectively on its own. Surely, it will also need the help of different security solutions. Hence, it works with these security tools to detect as well as handle anomalies and threats on a network. In turn, these security tools give enough data and information that make it easy to carry it out. Some examples of these security solutions include endpoint protection platforms (EPPs) which leverage big data analytics and analyse huge volumes of unfiltered endpoint data. Do not forget, that artificial intelligence and behavioural analytics are also helpful security solutions that assist in detecting malicious behaviours.

Highly Skilled Expert

A highly trained cyber security expert is another important factor in that process. These experts usually work with security tools to carry out this sort of hunting on a network. In addition, they are in charge of implementing different procedures to mitigate threats that are lurking in a network.

Improve your Active Directory Security & Azure AD

Try us out for Free, Access to all features. – 200+ AD Report templates Available. Easily customise your own AD reports.

Types of Threat Hunting in Cyber Security

Structured Threat Hunting

This type of threat hunting is carried out after an indicator of attack (IoA). After noticing the tactics of an attacker or threat, the hunter effectively uses that information to form a structured approach to eliminate this threat before it becomes serious. Conversely, it usually follows a plan based on the attacker’s previous activities to avoid another attack in the future. 

Hypothesis based hunting is a good example of structured threat hunting. Especially, it leverages global detection frameworks to understand the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of attackers and IoAs.

Unstructured Threat Hunting

Evidently, unstructured threat hunting usually involves searching for anomalies in a network’s security. An indicator of compromise is what pushes this type of hunting. A trigger on the network shows a vulnerability somewhere that needs to be taken care of. And so, if this vulnerability on the network is ignored, it is likely to get attacked. An example of of this type of hunting is data driven hunting. By all means, in data drive hunting, the hunter goes through accessible data, searching for abnormalities that are causing issues in a network.

Security Intelligence Based Threat Hunting

In this type of threat hunting, the threat hunters use different intelligence based hypotheses or intelligence trends to better tackle threats that attack a network. With the proper threat intelligence, the threat hunters effectively increase the security of a network.

What are the Steps of Threat Hunting in Cyber Security?

There are a few steps that threat hunters need to follow to find threats lurking in a network. These steps help cyber security personnel handle the job easily. What exactly are these steps? Let’s take a look at them.

1. Have a Hypothesis

Before hunting for the threats on a network, threat hunters must have a hypothesis about these threats. The hypothesis is based on the different ways of a threat taking advantage of a network’s vulnerability. Furthermore, they look for solutions to these vulnerabilities in their hypothesis.

Further, a good hypothesis involves a well planned thought on how a threat lurks in a network. On top of different techniques, that a threat hunter uses to bring down a threat or malware. With this hypothesis, you take different measures to tackle different threats before they occur effectively.

2. Investigate

To conduct a proper investigation and effectively hunt down threats on a network, you need to collect useful data about this network. Also, the data and information about the network security is enough to help you give proper analysis to kick start an investigation.

Generally, investigations help to deal with anomalies in a network’s security after going through the security track records. Henceforth, investigative technology hunts deep into potentially malicious anomalies in a network or system. Furthermore, when these anomalies are found during the investigation, it makes it easy for cyber security experts to handle and eliminate the different threats that this anomaly might pose. At the end, when the investigation ends, only then the hypothesis is either proven or unproven.

3. Recognize Patterns

After proper investigation, it is easy to recognize different patterns that an attacker use to attack a network. With these patterns, it is predicted the attacker’s next move and put some measures in place to stop the next attack.

4. Response

We have gathered enough information on the different activities of threats on a network and how they behave. Therefore, the cyber security expert needs to implement a response to these threats. This response involves removing damaged files, removing the network’s vulnerability as well as eliminating a threat if found.

Specifically, the expert must follow the organization’s process and respond appropriately to malicious threats. Usually, it involves informing the operations and security teams of the newly found threat. In turn, it allows them to respond fast and mitigate it. Documenting the attacker’s tactics enables the organization to analyse and predict similar cases in the future.

What are the Challenges of Threat Hunting in Cyber Security?

thread hunting challenges

Basically, many companies welcome implementing threat hunting on their networks for better security. Why? Because, it works effectively for some companies. On the other hand, few others face challenges whilst trying to set it up in their organization. So what are the challenges in cyber security?

Lack of Threat Hunting Experts

Firstly, without threat hunting experts, it is nearly impossible to carry it on a network. If an organization cannot hire or find a well trained expert, it will face many challenges regarding it. Besides, they face this challenge because security experts have a crucial role in the whole process. Certainly, they implement different ideas on tackling a threat and use security tools effectively to do so.

Insufficient Data

As noted, threat hunting is usually done after studying the different data and information about a network’s security. Without this data, a good hypothesis cannot be created to take care of the different anomalies recorded in the data. Therefore, if an organization doesn’t have adequate data and information about its network’s security, it poses a challenge to threat hunting.

Outdated Threat Intelligence

Concurrently, cyber security experts involved in threat hunting must be updated with the latest threat intelligence. Consequently, cyber threats are usually evolving, and the hunter needs to be aware of the latest threat intelligence so they better prepare. Therefore, if he/she isn’t up to date with the latest trend in cyber security and threat intelligence, it is easy for evolved threats to attack a network easily.

Thank you for reading What is Threat Hunting in Cyber Security ? (Complete Playbook Guide). We shall conclude. 

What is Threat Hunting in Cyber Security ? (Complete Playbook) Conclusion

Summing up, threat hunting in cyber security is widely known as a proactive search for different vulnerabilities as well as malicious activities on a network. Furthermore, it helps to detect different threats that the default network’s security systems might not have detected. Remember, security tools are important, but for proper security on a network, threat hunting is highly recommended. 

Threats are usually evolving and getting much more sophisticated. Therefore, the best thing to do is implement proper threat hunting. In summary, this article explains all there is to know about this process and its elements. Additionally, the different types as well as steps involved in carrying it out properly.

Edyta Wisniowska

Edyta Wisniowska

I am a Linux and Windows enthusiast and cyber security researcher. Currently working as InfraSOS technical writer and content manager.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *