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Security technology is ever-evolving, and cyber criminals are evolving their skills right along with it.

Once an attacker hacks into an organization’s system, it can take just hours for them to dig deeper and compromise more end points, putting sensitive data and intellectual property at risk of being damaged or stolen.

That’s why threat hunters are essential to any cybersecurity strategy—and why now is the perfect time to grow your career in cybersecurity.

From fashion to cybercrime-fighting

I spent time as a fashion model and started pursuing a law degree at the University of Sydney, but I wanted a career where my work could have a more immediate impact. Instead of dropping law, I picked up an additional degree in computer science. One of my courses included a module on cybersecurity, and I fell in love with the challenge.

Now I’m living my passion as the Threat Hunting and Incident Response Lead for Accenture’s Cyber Defense practice in Australia and New Zealand, helping the world’s leading companies detect, prevent and remediate threats.

Leave nothing to chance

Last year, one of the world’s biggest casinos called in our threat-hunting team to help perform a final piece of cybersecurity assurance to protect the identities and finances of its billionaire clients.

The casino was using top-of-the-line security tools and had done everything right. It had a well-oiled, highly qualified Security Operations Center (SOC) and leading-edge tools. It was regularly testing its infrastructure.

They didn’t know it at the time, but attackers were already inside. Our threat hunters found more than 40 pieces of malicious malware lurking on their systems.

The casino relied on its SOC to detect a breach. But cyber-criminal behavior has changed, and threat actors are more sophisticated than ever.

Just imagine the devastating impact on the casino and its clients if the malware hadn’t been detected in time.

Call in the threat hunters

Any company’s SOC can only manage so much. Security tools will catch the majority of common threats, but they won’t detect every single breach.

There’s only one way to help ensure that a system is clean: Call in the threat hunters, who have the training and equipment to out-hack the hackers and help companies build resilience from within.

Five key elements of a threat hunter’s role: 

  1. Take a radically different approach. Threat hunters will start from the premise that there’s already been a breach and hunt years of logs aggregated for every alert that’s ever arisen.
  2. Think like an attacker. Hunters see what an attacker would see while trying to hack in, following the breadcrumbs of tiny anomalies in all the noise.
  3. Look at the whole story. Current security alerts only capture part of the story, so threat hunters use specialized tools to fill in the blanks.
  4. Leave no stone unturned. Hunters help review everything, large or small, regardless of how innocent it appears.
  5. Recognize a hacker’s footprint. Seeing a malicious IP address as a signal of a potentially broader compromise,hunters will follow the logs to see if a host has been compromised and start looking for answers.

Join the cybersecurity fight

If you’re ready to pursue a cybersecurity career, my advice is: Be bold and follow your passions.

Don’t settle for the “normal” path or go into something just because you had the right grades for it. Do what you care about. Listen to yourself and don’t be afraid to do something different.

Innovate your own career!

Work with cutting-edge technology and help protect the world’s leading organizations from critical cyberthreats. Find your fit with Accenture.

 

Copyright © 2020 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and New Applied Now are trademarks of Accenture.

Lina Lau

Security Consulting Consultant, Sydney, Australia

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