When David Bianco examined a company’s Web browsing logs, it did not take long for a pattern to appear.
At regular periods, nearly a dozen systems across the network would all request data from the same Web page. Because the company, who Bianco declined to name, captured network data, additional analysis revealed that all of the suspicious systems downloaded small binaries. By running those executables in a virtual machine, Bianco, a network hunter, was able to identify the cause of the problem — an attacker using specialized malware.
Bianco, whose official title is Hunt Team Manager at incident-response firm Mandiant, does not like to wait for automated systems to flag suspicious behavior. As a network hunter, he goes looking for it. It’s a role that more companies should develop because it allows them to run down attackers in their networks before they do damage, he says.