How to Stop Insider Threats With UEBA

23.05.2022 Read

As the digital transformation continues at full speed, the majority of humanity's routine activities have begun to be carried out through digital channels. As the world digitizes, the potential loot in the lap of hackers grows. That's why we witness the development of new cyber threats every day.

This requires all organizations, from the smallest to the largest, to be prepared for advanced cyber attacks. The financial losses of organizations that show weakness in cybersecurity have begun to surpass the losses caused by physical attacks of the same severity.

Moreover, a significant part of these threats is not created by villains outside the organization but by innocuous-looking figures within the organization. And worst of all, insider threats are much more difficult to detect and eliminate than standard external threats. Organizations need modern cyber security solutions to fully protect their cybersecurity posture against insider threats and cyber-attack methods that constantly evolve and increase the threat level.

In this article, we will talk about how you can detect insider threats with User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). It is a modern cybersecurity solution that helps you minimize security risks with behavior profiling.

What Is an Insider Threat?

Insider threats are malicious activities originating from user accounts that have access to the organization's corporate network, database, and similar sensitive areas. It is often improperly terminated or unrestricted access privileges that lead to insider threats. Employees who have more access than their role requires, or a former employee whose access is not restricted when leaving the company, can become actors in a cyber-attack.

So why does a current or former employee turn into an insider threat? The reason for this may be that someone is trying to gain financially or professionally by data exfiltration, or they may be trying to intentionally harm the company. Or it may simply be that they are neglecting basic security measures like changing the default password. Even malware infected on employees' devices is enough to turn them into insider threats.

Insider threats are very difficult to detect. Because most of the time, the user does not acquire their privileges as a result of abnormal activity or has no obvious indications to be noticed among other users. When manual methods are used to maintain a security posture, insider threats are often discovered long after the attack has occurred. According to the 2021 Insider Threat Report by Cybersecurity Insiders, 49% of organizations can only discover insider threats after the data has left the company.

Insider threats can be sourced from disgruntled employees

Understanding What UEBA Is

To understand what UEBA is, we need to know what User Behavior Analysis (UBA) is. UBA is a technology for mapping the standard behaviors of users by processing logs, determining standard behavior patterns according to user roles over this behavior map, and detecting behaviors that go beyond these standards.

Recently, UBA technology has evolved into UEBA to increase security measures in case additional entities, such as applications and servers, play a role in data breaches as well as users. In other words, we can say that UEBA is an advanced version of UBA that allows following the behavior of devices and entities that can perform user-like actions.

How UEBA Works

UEBA regularly monitors the behavior of users and entities who have access to sensitive data or information of the organization and creates personalized behavioral pattern maps.

These behavior patterns repeat in the long run unless the current conditions change drastically. When UEBA detects abnormal movements contrary to this behavior pattern, it alerts the security team to potential data breaches and allows necessary measures to be taken in a short time.

Thanks to the simple but effective working mechanism of UEBAs, the risk of false positives posed by manual methods is largely eliminated. It automates the processes that would require a large amount of labor and time. It helps the IT team operate more effectively in a budget-friendly way.

By using UEBA, advanced cyber protection can be provided in terms of detecting suspicious user types, accelerating data breach investigation, detecting insider threats, and more.

How Can You Detect Insider Threats With UEBA?

A standard user mostly sticks to their daily or monthly routine. The entitlements used for a particular role and the activities performed with these entitlements are limited and unique. Therefore, it is next to impossible for a compromised account that personally or indirectly commits a data breach to imitate standard and routine behavior.

For example, a user who accesses the databases and continues operations in the areas required by their role will continue these activities unless extreme conditions exist. But if they are accessing data belonging to a different department, downloading data tens of times more than normal, or not performing their standard activities, there is a big problem that needs urgent intervention.

Since UEBA continuously monitors user activity in real time, it quickly detects anomalous behaviors of users and similar entities and alerts IT authorities. Thus, the data breach can be prevented before it reaches a point of no return, and the entity responsible for the attack can be easily identified.

discovering insider threats

Using Modern Solutions for a Solid Safety Posture

UEBA can ensure that organizations do not compromise on security while controlling time and budget with its simple but advanced analytics. But only when used in conjunction with other modern security solutions can it guarantee that a whole wall protects the security posture. Combining modern and robust solutions for cyber security not only leaves no room for possible attacks but also allows you to create a stable action pool for your IT team.

The next-generation SIEM platform of Logsign allows IT teams to gather and store a limitless amount of data, analyze and detect threats, and react automatically. Thanks to its embedded UEBA module, it allows you to reach the highest level of protection. By using these solutions together, you can combine the user behavior analysis provided by UEBA solutions with the highest level of visibility, control of data, and next-level threat detection capabilities of Logsign SIEM.

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