Cybersecurity incidents are not only increasing, but they are also becoming more destructive and targeting a broader array of institutes and information. At the core of all the malicious activities occurring in your network lies a user. Generally referred to as insiders, users may be employees, contractors or even legitimate users with exploitable compromised credentials.

Security operations center (SOC) analysts need to implement behavior analytics solutions to observe and understand these insiders’ activities, behavior, asset usage and access to intellectual property. They need to find the regularities and patterns hidden in user behavior to unlock potential threats and risks to the intellectual property they hope to protect.

To date, organizations have focused on protecting their IT environments from external threats and have thus invested heavily in perimeter defense. But the tools designed to protect the perimeter are largely ineffective in detecting and deterring insider threats.

Understanding Insider Threats

Attacks from within have become a critical concern for most organizations, with studies indicating that insiders are responsible for up to 60 percent of security offenses.

Attacks involving internal users are a unique challenge for organizations. According to the Harvard Business Review, “insiders can do much more serious harm than external hackers can, because they have much easier access to systems and a much greater window of opportunity. The damage they cause may include suspension of operations, loss of intellectual property, reputational harm, plummeting investor and customer confidence, and leaks of sensitive information to third parties, including the media.”

Regardless of whether malicious employees, dishonest contractors or unintentional actions are responsible for these attacks, insider threats must be addressed rapidly and effectively.

Detecting Malicious Behavior

Privileged users and high-priority assets need to be monitored to identify irregular activities since these actions could be signs of an insider threat. Risky behaviors must be noted, and then those users assessed, prioritized and monitored on an ongoing basis. Finally, corrective action must be taken to address the threat.

Security teams today are hampered with too many tools from too many vendors, as well as overly complex processes. This makes for a daunting challenge for the SOC analyst, who must pull the data together and get the right visibility into the users’ activities, behaviors and the assets they access. Much of this work has to be done manually. This creates a delay that allows perpetrators to do plenty of damage before analysts are able to detect pernicious activity.

Keeping the constraints and realities of today’s security operations in mind, security teams should look for user behavior analytics (UBA) capabilities designed to simplify overly complex security operations. For example, you should be able to leverage the logs and flow data that are already curated and loaded in your security intelligence and event management (SIEM) platform to deliver rapid insights and actions. This helps SOC analysts maintain consistent visibility into users, assets and threats.

Simplifying Behavior Analytics

IBM integrates UBA into its SIEM platform and delivers the capability via an app on the App Exchange. SOC analysts do not have to learn a new tool; the UBA app leverages the curated log and flow data already in the SIEM platform, speeding time to insights.

The app’s purpose-built, out-of-the box anomaly detection, behavioral rules and analytics detect changes in user behavior and deliver continued visibility into anomalous activities. By streamlining monitoring, detection and investigation, the app helps security analysts become more productive and manage insider threats more efficiently. With just a few clicks of the mouse, they can analyze behavior patterns, score users’ risk and focus on specific insiders to investigate or add to a watch list.

This helps SOC analysts uncover malicious behavior easily. Integrating UBA into the SIEM platform improves overall security operations, investigation and response — and makes SIEM a much better security operations platform.

Read the solution brief: Beat insider threats with integrated user behavior analytics

More from Intelligence & Analytics

RansomExx Upgrades to Rust

IBM Security X-Force Threat Researchers have discovered a new variant of the RansomExx ransomware that has been rewritten in the Rust programming language, joining a growing trend of ransomware developers switching to the language. Malware written in Rust often benefits from lower AV detection rates (compared to those written in more common languages) and this may have been the primary reason to use the language. For example, the sample analyzed in this report was not detected as malicious in the…

Moving at the Speed of Business — Challenging Our Assumptions About Cybersecurity

The traditional narrative for cybersecurity has been about limited visibility and operational constraints — not business opportunities. These conversations are grounded in various assumptions, such as limited budgets, scarce resources, skills being at a premium, the attack surface growing, and increased complexity. For years, conventional thinking has been that cybersecurity costs a lot, takes a long time, and is more of a cost center than an enabler of growth. In our upcoming paper, Prosper in the Cyber Economy, published by…

Overcoming Distrust in Information Sharing: What More is There to Do?

As cyber threats increase in frequency and intensity worldwide, it has never been more crucial for governments and private organizations to work together to identify, analyze and combat attacks. Yet while the federal government has strongly supported this model of private-public information sharing, the reality is less than impressive. Many companies feel that intel sharing is too one-sided, as businesses share as much threat intel as governments want but receive very little in return. The question is, have government entities…

Tackling Today’s Attacks and Preparing for Tomorrow’s Threats: A Leader in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for SIEM

Get the latest on IBM Security QRadar SIEM, recognized as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant. As I talk to security leaders across the globe, four main themes teams constantly struggle to keep up with are: The ever-evolving and increasing threat landscape Access to and retaining skilled security analysts Learning and managing increasingly complex IT environments and subsequent security tooling The ability to act on the insights from their security tools including security information and event management software…