Table of Contents
ASCII art of the text "APT-Hunter" with a graphical representation of a hunter aiming a rifle, with the creator's name "Ahmed Khilef" and the version "1.0 Beta" listed below.


APT-Hunter is an open source threat hunting tool designed to detect Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) activity and uncover hidden suspicious movements by analyzing Windows event logs. Created by Ahmed Khlief with a purple team mindset, APT-Hunter aims to significantly reduce the time and effort required to identify potential security incidents without relying on complex SIEM solutions or log collectors. In this article, we'll dive into the key features of APT-Hunter, its target audience, supported platforms, installation process, usage examples, and the overall benefits it offers to security professionals.

What is APT-Hunter?

APT-Hunter is a Python-based tool that parses and analyzes various types of Windows event logs, including Security, System, PowerShell, Terminal Services, and Sysmon logs. By leveraging a set of predefined detection rules, APT-Hunter can identify suspicious activities and techniques commonly associated with APT attacks. The tool categorizes the detected events based on severity levels and maps them to the MITRE ATT&CK framework, providing valuable insights for further investigation.

Key Features

  • Detects over 60 different suspicious activities and techniques related to APT attacks

  • Supports both EVTX and CSV log formats for easy integration with existing log collection processes

  • Categorizes events based on severity levels to prioritize analysis efforts

  • Maps detected activities to the MITRE ATT&CK framework for better understanding of attack tactics and techniques

  • Generates output compatible with Timesketch for timeline analysis and visualization

  • Includes log collection automation scripts to streamline the process of exporting important logs

  • Offers an easy-to-use command-line interface and customizable detection rules

Who Can Use APT-Hunter?

APT-Hunter is an invaluable tool for various security professionals, including:

  • Threat Hunters: APT-Hunter enables proactive searching for potential threats and anomalies within the vast amount of Windows event log data.

  • Incident Responders: In the event of a security incident, APT-Hunter can quickly identify suspicious activities and help prioritize response efforts.

  • Forensic Investigators: APT-Hunter aids in the collection and analysis of relevant log data during forensic investigations, uncovering key evidence of malicious activity.

  • Blue Teams: APT-Hunter empowers blue teams to detect and respond to APT attacks more efficiently by automating the analysis of Windows event logs.

Supported Platforms

APT-Hunter is a Python-based tool that can run on any system with Python 3 installed. It supports the analysis of Windows event logs collected from various versions of the Windows operating system. The tool can perform live analysis on affected systems or process logs offline on any platform, providing flexibility for different use cases.

How to Install APT-Hunter?

Follow these step-by-step instructions to install APT-Hunter:

  1. Visit the official GitHub repository for APT-Hunter at

  2. Click on the "Code" button and select "Download ZIP" to download the latest stable version of APT-Hunter.

  3. Extract the downloaded ZIP file to a directory of your choice using a file compression utility like 7-Zip or WinRAR.

  4. Open a command prompt or terminal window and navigate to the extracted APT-Hunter directory using the cd command. For example: cd C:\Users\YourUsername\Downloads\APT-Hunter-main

  5. Install the required Python libraries by running the following command:pip install -r requirements.txtThis command will automatically install all the necessary dependencies for APT-Hunter.

  6. (Optional) If you want to automate the collection of relevant Windows event logs, you can use the provided PowerShell scripts:

    • For collecting logs in CSV format, run the windows-log-collector-full-v3-CSV.ps1 script.

    • For collecting logs in EVTX format, run the windows-log-collector-full-v3-EVTX.ps1 script.

    Note: Make sure to run these scripts with administrative privileges on the target systems.

  7. APT-Hunter is now installed and ready to use. You can proceed to run the tool using the appropriate command-line options, as described in the "How to Use APT-Hunter?" section.

By following these steps, you should have APT-Hunter successfully installed on your system, along with any necessary dependencies. If you encounter any issues during the installation process, refer to the official APT-Hunter documentation or seek support from the project's community channels.

How to Use APT-Hunter?

To use APT-Hunter, follow these steps and run the appropriate commands:

  1. Collect the necessary Windows event logs using the provided PowerShell scripts or your preferred method. For example, to collect logs in CSV format, run the following command with administrative privileges:.\windows-log-collector-full-v3-CSV.ps1

  2. Open a command prompt or terminal window and navigate to the APT-Hunter directory.

  3. Run APT-Hunter with the desired command-line options. Here are some common examples:

    • To analyze logs in a specific directory and generate an output report:python -t evtx -p C:\path\to\logs -o ProjectNameReplace C:\path\to\logs with the actual path to the directory containing the collected logs, and ProjectName with your desired output report name.

    • To analyze logs in CSV format:python -t csv -p C:\path\to\csv_logs -o ProjectName

    • To analyze a single log file:python -t evtx --security C:\path\to\security.evtx -o ProjectNameReplace C:\path\to\security.evtx with the actual path to the specific log file you want to analyze.

    For a complete list of available command-line options, run:python -h

  4. Wait for APT-Hunter to process the logs and generate the output report. The tool will display the progress and any detected suspicious activities in the console.

  5. Once the analysis is complete, you can find the generated output files in the APT-Hunter directory:

    • ProjectName_Report.xlsx: An Excel report containing detailed findings from the analyzed logs.

    • ProjectName_TimeSketch.csv: A Timesketch-compatible CSV file for timeline analysis.

  6. Open the generated reports and investigate the identified suspicious activities. Pay attention to the severity levels and the associated MITRE ATT&CK techniques to prioritize your response efforts.

  7. If necessary, you can further analyze the logs using the Timesketch CSV file in a compatible timeline analysis tool or visualize the data using other security tools.

Remember to replace the placeholders (e.g., C:\path\to\logs, ProjectName) with the actual paths and names relevant to your specific use case.

By running APT-Hunter with the appropriate command-line options and analyzing the generated reports, you can effectively hunt for APT activities and uncover suspicious movements within your Windows event logs.

Bottom Line

APT-Hunter is a powerful and user-friendly tool that streamlines the process of detecting APT activities and suspicious movements within Windows event logs. By leveraging predefined detection rules and severity categorization, APT-Hunter enables security professionals to quickly identify potential security incidents and prioritize their response efforts. With its easy installation process, flexible log format support, and integration with Timesketch, APT-Hunter is an essential addition to any security team's toolkit for effective threat hunting and incident response.




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