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User and entity behavior analytics(UEBA): Definition, Threats, & How it works

Imagine a world without the Internet. Well, you can’t!

The year 2023 is here, and we live in a world of Internet dependency. From getting groceries to booking a doctor’s appointment, the Internet does everything for us. With extensive Internet usage, billions of data get transferred between different IPs, devices, systems, cloud systems, etc. 

With such a free flow of data, cybersecurity has become a topic of concern. That is where user and entity behavior analytics(UEBA) comes into the picture. 

But what is UEBA? Well, let’s find out!

What is user and entity behavior analytics?

User and entity behavior analytics is a cybersecurity measure that analyzes threats, suspicious activities, and behaviors of a user, device, or entity within a network. It uses machine learning and algorithms to detect threats by learning a user’s behavior. It helps organizations identify potential cyberattacks. 

It learns more about the typical behavior of users or resources to detect threats. In case of abnormal behavior, it classifies the source or particular activity as a threat. 

But what counts as abnormal behavior or anomaly?

Well, let’s start with a scenario. An employee logs in to the system every morning at 9 AM, similar to every other user in the network. But, on a random day the user detects the employee logging in at 3 AM, which is certainly unusual. This classifies as abnormal behavior or anomaly.

Discovering an anomaly has become more difficult with each passing day due to everything being more and more data-driven and a massive increase in data transfer. 

UEBA is highly capable of discovering cyberattack threats by efficiently identifying unusual behavior of a user or employee within an organization’s network.

How does UEBA work?

UEBA performs a holistic analysis across multiple data sources. It is capable of analyzing data despite organizational boundaries and complex IT systems. 

UEBA is capable of analyzing a large amount of data, as follows:

  • Anti-malware and antivirus systems
  • Network Traffic Analytics
  • Threat Intelligence feeds
  • Access systems like proxies and VPN 
  • Configuration Management Databases
  • Endpoint Detection and Response systems
  • Authentication systems like Active Directory
  • Firewall, Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)
  • Human resources data–new employees, departed employees, and any data that provides additional context on users

With the help of an active directory, the UEBA solution will identify any abnormal login. It will cross-check the logged-on device’s criticality and the sensitivity of the files it is trying to access. It will also consider any recent network that can be classified as an anomaly. 

Risk factors for UEBA

UEBA is a helpful tool for identifying the threats mentioned below. 

  • An insider, such as an employee with access to sensitive data, shows unusual login behavior for carrying out a malicious cyberattack, or when an insider makes the system vulnerable due to negligence. 
  • Creation of a new superuser account that provides access to an unauthorized entity. Superuser accounts are the ones with privileged access to sensitive files and data across the network. 
  • Continues brute force attacks with the help of trial and error methods to access sensitive data. 
  • A user makes sensitive data vulnerable due to the unauthorized installation of applications carrying malware.

These scenarios are considered threats in the eyes of UEBA. In order to prevent cyberattacks, a UEBA keeps an eye out for any of the occurrences mentioned above. 

In conclusion

With the rise in technology, the seriousness and effectiveness of cybercrimes have also increased. It leads us back to the pressing questions about the safety of our sensitive data. In times like these, A UEBA solution is the tool every organization needs to protect themselves from malicious cyberattacks. Cybersecurity is a complex matter, but with the help of UEBA protection for your organizational network, you can focus more on the other aspects of your business, such as growth and expansion.

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User and entity behavior analytics(UEBA): Definition, Threats, & How it works
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