User Entity Behavior Analytics: A boon for the world of cyber security.

The world has seen an unabated rise in the number of cyber-attacks as the hackers continue to target the vulnerabilities in the security system. Even a small loophole in security system can serve as an entry point for the cyber attackers. Insider threats pose significant risk to any organization and quite often it is very hard to detect. The encouraging part is that we have UEBA to address these threats.

UEBA can be defined as a security solution that analyzes the behaviors of people that are connected to an organization’s network and entities or end-points such as servers, applications, etc. to figure out the anomalies in the security. UEBA uses behavioral analysis to monitor the activities of the users and entities. It keeps a track of where do people usually log in from and what applications or file servers they use, what is their degree of access, etc. UEBA then correlates this information to gauge if a certain activity performed by the users is different from their daily tasks and establishes a baseline of what is usual behavior. If something unusual happens that doesn’t comply with the baseline, UEBA detects it and sends alerts of the probable threat.

This can be explained with an example, Let us say an employee accesses a certain file named “A” daily, however he begins to send information from file A to an unknown entity. In this case UEBA will analyze the activities employee has been performing over a period of time to detect if there is any indication of his entities being compromised. It will then use this information to determine whether the employee’s behavior is malicious and notify about the same.

Now the question is “Why is finding insider threat so difficult?” and “How is UEBA different from other security systems?”

The answer lies in large volume of alerts generated by traditional security systems like SIEM. It is very difficult to determine who, what, how and why an insider attack took place because of the huge amount of data generation. Most of the alerts given by tradition security solutions like SIEM are false positives, and most of the threats go unnoticed. It mostly concentrates on protecting abstractions like endpoints and perimeters. It is defenseless when it comes to insider threats. UEBA solutions are designed in such a way that they accurately detect activities that may otherwise go unnoticed. It helps companies to secure access to the privileged accounts used by the employees.

Below are the benefits of User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) :

  • 1. Detection of hijacked accounts
  • Attackers who steal valid user credentials behave differently than real users. UEBA uses real-time detection to ascertain if something is out of norm and responds to the threat through various real-time responses such as Block, Modify, Re-authenticate or Multi-factor authentication. This ensures that the real threats are getting addressed before they try to harm the system.

  • 2. Reduced Attack Surface
  • UEBA sends insights to the users and the security teams through interactive analytics which allows them to know about the loopholes or weak points before an incident happens. These insights help reduce the attack surface which makes it difficult for the cyber attacker to breach the network.

  • 3. Privilege Abuse and Misuse
  • In any organization the privileged users have extensive access to the system, data and applications which is why they present a higher risk to the organization. UEBA’s algorithms ensure that the access rights are used appropriately and give an overview of what kind of privileges individual users should have.

  • 4. Improved Operational Efficiency
  • It takes a lot of efforts to identify threats manually through alerts. UEBA can manually identify and validate threat without manual intervention through automation and security intelligence. This level of automation allows security to focus on real threats rather than alert chasing.

  • 5. Data Exfiltration detection
  • UEBA analytics help to detects potential data exfiltration before it happens, thus allowing businesses time to prepare a strategic plan to prevent data theft. It can even help identify Advanced Persistent Threats (APT).

    UEBA has proved itself to be an indispensible asset in the world of cyber security. According to experts user and entity behavior analytics is a better model for attack detection and maintain that it is going to enable more accurate detection of cyber attackers threatening networks.

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