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Threat detection is the practice of analyzing the entirety of a security ecosystem to identify any malicious activity that could compromise the network. If a threat is detected, then mitigation efforts must be enacted to properly neutralize the threat before it can exploit any present vulnerabilities.

Even the best security programs must plan for worst-case scenarios, when someone or something has slipped past their defensive and preventative technologies and becomes a threat.


Security event threat detection

Network threat detection

Endpoint threat detection

Leveraging Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence is a way of looking at signature data from previously seen attacks and comparing it to enterprise data to identify threats. This makes it particularly effective at detecting known threats, but not unknown. Threat intelligence is frequently used to great effect in Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), antivirus, Intrusion Detection System (IDS), and web proxy technologies.
Analyzing User and Attacker Behavior Analytics
With user behavior analytics, an organisation is able to gain a baseline understanding of what normal behavior for an employee would be: what kind of data they access, what times they log on, and where they are physically located, for example.

With attacker behavior analytics, there's no "baseline" of activity to compare information to; instead, small, seemingly unrelated activities detected on the network over time may in fact be breadcrumbs of activity that an attacker leaves behind. It takes both technology and the human mind to put these pieces together, but they can help form a picture of what an attacker may be up to within an organisation's network.
Setting Intruder Traps
Some targets are just too tempting for an attacker to pass up. Security teams know this, so they set traps in hopes that an attacker will take the bait. Within the context of an organisation's network, an intruder trap could include a honeypot target that may seem to house network services—especially appealing to an attacker, or “honey credentials” that appear to have user privileges an attacker would need in order to gain access to sensitive systems or data. When an attacker goes after this bait, it triggers an alert so the security team know there is suspicious activity in the network that should be investigated.
Conducting Threat Hunts
Instead of waiting for a threat to appear in the organisation's network, a threat hunt enables security analysts to actively go out into their own network, endpoints, and security technology to look for threats or attackers that may be lurking as-yet undetected. This is an advanced technique generally performed by veteran security and threat analysts.

Ideally, a well-developed security threat detection program should include all of the above tactics, amongst others, to monitor the security of the organisation's employees, data, and critical assets.
Threat Detection Requires a Two-Pronged Approach
Threat detection requires both a human element, as well as a technical element. The human element includes security analysts who analyze trends, patterns in data, behaviors, and reports, as well as those who can determine if anomalous data indicates a potential threat or a false alarm.


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