What Are Behavioral Analytics in Cybersecurity?

One very important element of cybersecurity that is becoming ever more salient is intrusion detection.

This  is techniques that are designed to detect malware intrusions.

Why is this so important? The answer is very straightforward; primarily it is there to detect the presence of malware -malicious software. Adding to that, there are several other types of intrusions and data breaches that organizations/enterprises have to have in check if their business is to survive. Cyber threats are everywhere, and they are constant. Cybercriminals have a vast array of attack techniques across various platforms so it is critical to be armed with an equally good defense arsenal. Without a good security solution or analytics solution, an enterprise may not catch a breach or malware at the right time. This almost always leads to the damage or total loss of corporate data, including sensitive customer data. The repercussions of this can be the total shutdown of a business.

With that in mind, one of the important facets of cybersecurity monitoring solutions is called cybersecurity behavioral analytics. It is one of the elements belonging to the ‘network security’ umbrella. Most importantly, we need to look at why every organization needs to think about implementing behavioral analytics into their business structure.

What is Behavioral Analytics Cybersecurity?

The system of behavioral analytics cybersecurity is technically called UBA or UEBA. That isUser and Entity Behavior Analytics or User Behavior Analytics. These systems not only monitor and detect malware and cybercriminals, but it is important to add that they also monitor user activity. It is a system of monitoring the conduct of users and other entities. Any deviation from default patterns and behaviors is then marked as risky and is thus reported to the next stage. In behavioral analytics solutions, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence coupled with machine learning algorithms, as well as analysis of statistics, function as a whole to detect anomalies, deviations, and out-of-pattern movements. For an enterprise or organization, this means that these systems are able to look at possible cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity behavioral analytics apply the following logic and examine;

  • Trends
  • Patterns
  • Activities

The system analyzes the above data for user-profiles and all other business workflows in order to identify and distinguish between what is a potential threat and what is not. Essentially, this is an event-management process that utilizes gathered data with the help of an artificial intelligence algorithm that never stops learning. A solid behavioral analytics solution will pick up on the following risks;

  • Breach of sensitive and corporate data
  • Suspicious network transmissions
  • Suspicious employee/user activity
  • Permission and access changes on the network
  • Unauthorized applications and devices
  • Suspicious IP address scenarios
  • External threats such as DDoS (brute force) attacks
  • Suspicious transmissions from third parties or via cloud-based systems

How does Behavioral Analytics Help?

Cyber attacks take place every few seconds and affect millions of people that work in all kinds of organizations and industries across the globe. Statistics and research show that over 80% of all data breaches occur due to two things; human error and account compromise. As the internet picks up pace, emerging technologies contribute and change the industry exponentially, and the amount of connected users is in the billions, it is estimated that most organizations will soon employ a form of behavioral analytics cybersecurity.

In the interest of being succinct, behavioral analytics will help detect and thereby mitigate for the following cyber risks;

  • Malware (viruses, trojans, backdoors, RATs, rootkits)
  • Social engineering schemes (MiTM, phishing, spear-phishing)
  • Other exploits (SQL injections, remote attack risks)
  • Hunting all other threats and reporting them

Network security is essential for any individual, organization, or institution out there, given that they are on the internet (which most are.) Behavioral analytics is one area of network security. Network security itself pertains to; malware protection mechanisms, application security, administrative network protection, data loss prevention (DLP), email security, firewalls, IDS and IPS systems, and much more. When it comes to behavioral analytics, we can think of it as a sort of real-time forensics that is digital. With a good behavioral analytics cybersecurity system, there are many other benefits too that set it apart from other solutions, such as;

  • Better security monitoring
  • Generation of insights
  • Integration with ML models down the line
  • Automation without requiring human personnel
  • Cross-system data correlation

When a behavioral analytics system properly works to scan and mitigate for cybersecurity risks at the network, user, and asset levels, an organization benefits from discovering threats quickly, and even more importantly, mitigating the issue before a threat has a chance to do any damage. Combining cybersecurity behavioral analytics with other network security paradigms is only going to help boost an organization’s protection level further, and it is highly recommended that stakeholders, boards, and CEOs think hard about these plans.