Threat Hunting
Threat Hunting

Enhancing Threat Detection with Microsoft Sysmon

Shreenkhala Bhattarai
4 min readJun 20


Cyber Threats are becoming more sophisticated and common these days. These threats have the potential to compromise sensitive data, disrupt operations, and cause significant financial and reputational harm. To combat these threats effectively, organizations need proactive and comprehensive threat detection capabilities. Threat hunting is a proactive approach to cybersecurity that focuses on identifying and mitigating potential threats before they cause harm.

As security analysts in a dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC), our main objective is to identify and neutralize threats before they can inflict harm on our organization’s infrastructure. To achieve this, it is essential that we have the right tools and strategies in place for efficient threat hunting.

Threat hunting is more than just a trendy term; it is an essential part of an all-encompassing cybersecurity strategy. Although they are reactive in nature, traditional security measures like firewalls and antivirus software are necessary. They rely on detection techniques that use signatures to identify known threats. Threat hunting, in contrast, adopts a proactive approach by actively looking for potential threats that might have evaded conventional security measures. Organizations can find hidden threats, identify advanced persistent threats (APTs), and gain insightful information about their network by engaging in threat hunting. Through the identification and patching of vulnerabilities, they are able to improve their overall security posture. For organizations to stay competitive in a time of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, threat hunting with Sysmon is essential.

Sysmon is a powerful system monitoring tool created by Microsoft. It provides security analysts complete insight into potential threats and suspicious activity by providing detailed information about activities incorporated into a Windows and Linux system. Sysmon keeps track of events relating to the creation of processes, network connections, files, and more, enabling analysts to monitor and look into potential security incidents. On systems, a small service is installed by Sysmon to perform its functions. Based on preset configurations and rules, this service monitors and logs events. A SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) system or other log analysis tools can then be used to gather and analyze these logs. Organizations can more effectively detect and respond to threats by utilizing Sysmon, which gives them valuable network insights.

Utilizing Sysmon’s sophisticated monitoring tools allows you to explore your organization’s systems in greater detail, identify malicious activity, and take appropriate action. Microsoft Sysmon (System Monitor) offers a range of powerful features that enhance threat detection and provide deep visibility into system activities. Some notable features of Sysmon include:

Process monitoring:

Sysmon records specific details about processes that are active on a system, such as their start-up, end-of-life, and command-line arguments. This makes it possible to spot shady or malicious processes.

Network connection Monitoring:

Sysmon monitors records of network connections, recording their source and destination IP addresses, ports, and protocol. This assists in identifying suspicious communications with known malicious IP addresses or unauthorized network activity.

File System Monitoring :

Sysmon monitors file creation, deletion, modifications, and access attempts in the file system. Additionally, it tracks changes in the file creation time, giving organizations the ability to spot potentially malicious or unauthorized file system changes.

Registry Activity Monitoring:

Sysmon records modifications to the Windows registry, including the creation, deletion, and modification of registry keys and values. This assists in identifying unauthorized changes that might point to malicious activity or attempts to stay on the system.

Advanced Threat Detection and Hunting:

Organizations can engage in advanced threat-hunting activities by utilizing the rich event logs produced by Sysmon. Sysmon’s detailed data collection aids in the detection of advanced threats and the identification of indicators of compromise (IOCs).

Sysmon’s extensive data can be leveraged for proactive threat hunting. By actively analyzing and investigating Sysmon logs, organizations can uncover hidden threats that may evade traditional security measures. Proactive threat hunting allows for the identification and mitigation of potential risks before they escalate.

Sysmon logs can be correlated with threat intelligence feeds to enrich the organization’s threat detection capabilities. Threat intelligence provides valuable insights into known malicious entities, indicators of compromise (IOCs), and emerging threats. By cross-referencing Sysmon logs with threat intelligence, organizations can identify patterns and indicators that may signify potential attacks or the presence of malicious actors.

Utilizing Sysmon for threat hunting presents a robust cybersecurity approach that empowers organizations to proactively identify and respond to potential threats. By harnessing the detailed event logs offered by Sysmon, organizations can achieve comprehensive visibility across their network and uncover concealed threats. Through the implementation of effective analysis and investigation techniques, organizations can maintain an advantageous position against cyber threats and safeguard their sensitive data and systems.

To optimize the advantages of threat hunting with Sysmon, it is imperative for organizations to adhere to best practices, ensure the tool and its configuration remain up to date, and leverage advanced strategies and tools. By maintaining a vigilant and proactive stance in their threat-hunting endeavors, organizations can proactively mitigate potential risks and maintain a robust cybersecurity posture.



Shreenkhala Bhattarai

Security Analyst at CryptoGen Nepal