How to become a Threat Hunter? This question is extremely popular in the cybersecurity community. The next important question is how to advance your Threat Hunting career. In both cases, obtaining professional certifications is the best answer. Whether you’re a beginner or an accomplished specialist, continuous learning is what helps you become the best version of yourself.
Let’s review the most reputable Threat Hunting certifications, trainings, as well as alternative ways to fuel the hunting experience.
Both seasoned and aspiring Threat Hunters can also explore the world’s largest collection of high-quality alerts and verified hunting queries and instantly drill down to search for current and emerging threats leveraging the cutting-edge capabilities of SOC Prime’s platform. For streamlined threat investigation, browse SOC Prime to search for the particular CVE, exploit, or APT and immediately dive into the comprehensive threat context enabling cyber experts.
Proactive threat detection has become an integral part of the cybersecurity pipeline. The ever-growing threat landscape and constantly evolving sophistication of cyber-attacks require security specialists to stay ahead of the adversaries. However, a role of a Cyber Threat Hunter is quite complex. It encompasses a variety of skills, including critical thinking, forensic analysis, and technical experience. It’s increasingly hard to find a person who will have a full stack of cyber skills in place while the demand for such Threat Hunters grows exponentially.
One of the most realistic ways to obtain this pool of talent is to conduct professional training and verify the trainee’s knowledge through certification exams. This way, when hiring a professional, an organization will be able to make sure that all the requirements for an open position are met.
On the other hand, cybersecurity certifications are important for employees because they open so many opportunities for developing a career path that they want to pursue. Here’s a list of benefits that cyber certification can offer for people from various walks of life:
All in all, cybersecurity certification is good both for beginners and experienced professionals. It’s also necessary to mention that while certifications become more and more popular, they won’t guarantee that one will land a job only because of having a certificate. Learning is essential, so when applying for a job, make sure that you have something to offer beyond certifications. Definitely include your best qualifications and experiences in the CV even if they are coming from a different field. For example, a person that decided to switch a career from physical security to cyber has excellent knowledge of the physical level of networks. This knowledge is a great asset for a candidate and will be very useful for further career development, together with newly acquired knowledge.
Let’s review our top list of certifications that are highly recognized in the cybersecurity industry. Each cyber Threat Hunting certification comes with a preceding training that prepares students for the final exam.
GIAC is one of the most reputable organizations for cybersecurity certification. They offer a wide range of options for various areas of knowledge. When boiled down to Threat Hunting, certifications are quite advanced, so make sure you are ready for the hard stuff if you decide to enroll.
GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst certificate covers digital forensics, as the name suggests, but it’s also highly appreciated by Threat Hunters. It provides practical training not only in forensics but also in threat hunting and incident response. At the end of the training, they conduct a proctored exam which lasts three hours. The passing threshold is 72%. Overall, GCFA certification gives a wide range of analytical skills specific to a Threat Hunter’s job; that’s why it’s highly recognized in the industry.
GIAC Cyber Threat Intelligence offers operational, tactical, and strategic training in threat intelligence. They also teach how to analyze artifacts, malware, and whole kill chains. The exam passing point is almost the same as GCFA (71%), but it’s not as long and only lasts 2 hours. The training gives a very structured and science-based approach to analyzing threat intelligence which is invaluable for Threat Hunters.
SANS Institute is one of the most recognized cybersecurity education providers. However, it’s also the priciest. Learning options include a self-paced online course with support, live sessions online, or in-person events. Threat hunters can avail of two major certifications.
FOR608: Enterprise-Class Incident Response & Threat Hunting
In this course, students learn to use enterprise-level software, which they might not have a chance to try as individuals on their own. That’s why even for people without extensive work experience, they provide necessary hands-on training to start a Threat Hunting career. Here you will learn a range of analysis techniques, explore data collection, and practice to leverage a proper incident response.
FOR508: Advanced Incident Response, Threat Hunting, and Digital Forensics
This certification also covers a broad range of subjects, from Threat Hunting to Incident Response. As a Threat Hunter, you will likely be responsible for this entire process, so it’s useful to learn not only how to find threats but also how to act on them.
And don’t forget that a master’s degree from SANS comes with 9 GIAC certifications included. The Bachelor’s degree provides one internship, 10 SANS courses, and also 9 GIAC certifications. You will also get college credits if you’re interested. However, SANS doesn’t give that many of them: only 70 credits for an undergraduate program (120 in total because you apply with 50 credits) and 35 for the graduate one. Undergraduate Certificate from SANS provides 4 GIAC certificates and is available to anyone with two years of college credits, so don’t worry if you don’t have many STEM credits. For beginners in cybersecurity, these options give more certifications and experience for less money, so they are definitely worth considering.
As you know, having a Cyber Threat Hunting certificate is good, but that’s not the ultimate recipe for career success. Threat Hunters have to work hard and learn something new every day to be able to withstand the constant attack pressure. The good news is that tons of good materials and courses are available online for free. Work experience is essential, too, but if your role is quite basic compared to what you plan to achieve, use these resources to power up your skills.
There is no need to have a server the size of a room and expensive software to take your Threat Hunting to the next level. Virtual labs provide in-browser environments that mimic a decent workstation with multiple tools to play with. Usually, they are supported by courses which guide Threat Hunters in their educational efforts.
TryHackMe, HackTheBox, Cybrary – pick the one you like the most. They also won’t burn a hole in your pocket: at the time of writing, a monthly HackTheBox subscription goes only from $0 to $20. Cybrary has a wide range of learning options, including career paths, real mentors, and lots of other benefits.
Upon creating an account at SOC Prime Detection as Code platform, you gain immediate access to free webinars available within a broad collection of educational resources for security experts in SOC Prime’s Cyber Library. Watch recorded sessions any time you want at no cost. You’ll also get members-only invitations to the upcoming events. If you make it to a live webinar, don’t be shy to ask questions: this is your opportunity to consult an experienced professional online and get them to talk about your particular areas of interest.
Cyber library is a rich learning resource for security practitioners allowing them to directly access “how-to” guides for SIEM & EDR platforms and view recordings of SOC Prime’s cybersecurity online events at their own pace. With access to educational cybersecurity resources, aspiring Threat Hunters gain a brilliant opportunity to hone their skills and explore the latest trends in the cyber threat landscape. Registration for the upcoming online event is fast and simple and does not require filling out cumbersome sign-up forms.
Cybersecurity is not an easy path to walk, but challenges along the way only heat up the excitement about what’s happening around the corner. However, the Threat Hunting job might also become repetitive and exhausting. Many professionals find themselves caught up in a vicious cycle of vulnerability-patch nature. Regular Threat Hunting training refreshes their skills and outlook, giving inspiration for further achievements.
Aspiring Threat Hunters need certifications for landing their first jobs or getting promoted. The training that is conducted before an actual exam provides necessary up-to-date knowledge and experience. So, even if you haven’t been in cybersecurity before, it’s absolutely possible to change your life anytime and start a new career path. Certifications will show prospective employers that you really possess the required skill level and can efficiently perform the duties of a Threat Hunter.
Join SOC Prime’s platform to be in the know about the latest cyber threats and seamlessly boost your cyber defense capabilities. And if you want to monetize on your Detection Engineering and Threat Hunting expertise, join your industry peers by becoming a member of the Threat Bounty crowdsourcing initiative. Share your detections and contribute to the high standards of enterprise-level security on a global scale.