UEBA Tools: Your Ultimate Guide to Behavioral Based Security‍ Analytics

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) tools are critical to any organization’s cybersecurity framework. UEBA tools empower companies with the capability to detect suspicious activities, identify potential threats, and mitigate security risks effectively. This article delves into the nuts and bolts of UEBA tools, their features, benefits, and how to select the right UEBA tool for your organization.

What are UEBA Tools?

UEBA tools are robust software systems that leverage data science, machine learning and statistical methodologies to continuously monitor user and non-user entities activity and behavior that deviates from normal (or baseline) behavior to identify anomalies that occur over a network. UEBA tools have been a game-changer in the cybersecurity landscape, bringing some of the earliest implementations of artificial intelligence (AI) into security operations.

These tools operate by analyzing and learning from historical data, crafting a baseline of standard behavior. This baseline is then used to detect deviations or anomalies that could indicate potential security threats. In this regard, UEBA tools deliver an “early warning” that identifies potential risks as an attack campaign is forming or before security analysts have enough traditional event data or known patterns to detect a threat.

UEBA tools have an edge over traditional security analytics solutions as they don’t rely on predefined security rules or signatures. Instead, they employ machine learning algorithms to continuously learn and adapt to new patterns and behaviors. This adaptive learning makes them highly effective at detecting unknown threats, such as compromised credentials, zero-day exploits, and advanced persistent threats (APTs), which traditional security solutions are ineffective at detecting.

It’s important to note that UEBA tools can be highly effective as standalone solutions. This is especially true when looking at Insider Threat programs and the niche use cases associated with them. However, over the past few years we’ve seen the rise of UEBA solutions for augmenting traditional SIEM solutions in-order to fill gaps in their threat detection limitations. This has given way to a new pedigree of SIEM called Next-Gen SIEM, where UEBA tools are at the foundation of the modern architecture required for high-fidelity threat detections and unlocking AI within the SOC.

Understanding the Capabilities of UEBA Tools

UEBA tools are designed with a multitude of capabilities that make them a valuable addition to any organization’s cybersecurity arsenal. Here’s an overview of the key features that UEBA tools possess:

Machine Learning and Analytics

UEBA tools harness the power of machine learning to scrutinize and interpret massive volumes of data in real-time. This impressive functionality allows these tools to discern even the most subtle patterns and correlations within the data. These patterns, often undetected by the human eye and legacy systems, could potentially signify a looming security threat. Thereby, UEBA tools are an essential component in Threat Detection and Incident Response (TDIR), and along with a comprehensive set of unified identity analytics, Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) programs for proactive threat detection and mitigation.

Data Ingestion and Cross-Vendor Integration

Mature and well-constructed UEBA tools, which are designed with advanced capabilities, can ingest and analyze vast amounts of data, sourced from a multitude of diverse sources. This is not just about handling large volumes of data, but also about the ability to process and make sense of it. In addition to this, they possess robust cross-vendor integration capabilities. This essentially means that they have the ability to seamlessly integrate bi-directionally with other security tools and systems. The result of this integration is the creation of a unified security infrastructure, where all components work together in harmony, enhancing the overall security posture and removing operational complexity.

Real-Time Monitoring and Alerting

UEBA tools provide the advantage of real-time monitoring and alerting capabilities. These sophisticated tools are designed to continuously analyze network activity, thereby enabling them to promptly detect and alert on potential threats as they occur in real-time.
Threat Hunting Capabilities

In addition to their primary function of real-time threat detection, UEBA tools also provide support for threat hunting activities. This proactive approach to cybersecurity involves the meticulous process of searching for potential threats that may have successfully evaded or bypassed traditional detection methods. This is an essential feature of UEBA tools, as it allows for a more comprehensive and thorough approach to maintaining cybersecurity.

Visualization and Reporting Tools

UEBA tools come fully equipped with a range of visualization and reporting tools. They provide a comprehensive visual representation of the network and all its associated activity. This visual depiction simplifies the process for security teams, making it significantly easier for them to comprehend the current threat landscape. They can readily understand the potential risks and vulnerabilities, thereby enabling them to take proactive measures to enhance security.

Automation and Orchestration

A significant characteristic that distinguishes mature UEBA tools from their predecessors is their advanced capability to automate and orchestrate a multitude of security-related tasks. This automation feature enables these sophisticated tools to carry out a series of predefined actions in an automated manner, triggered when specific criteria are satisfied or certain thresholds are crossed.

Complimenting UEBA Tools with Identity for ITDR: 

Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) is a term coined by Gartner in 2022. ITDR is not a product, but a cybersecurity discipline picking up steam in the wake of Zero Trust and the general idea that identity is the new perimeter. ITDR monitors and analyzes a variety of data sources and activities to detect potential identity-based threats.

UEBA tools integrated with identity analytics are an essential component to a strong ITDR program by aligning user and entity behavior with user and entity identity access entitlements. This enables security teams to identify deviations, violations and inappropriate usage, or access policy gaps and misconfigurations.

How to Choose the Right UEBA Solution for Your Organization?

Choosing the right UEBA solution for your organization involves understanding your unique needs and the capabilities of different UEBA tools. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a UEBA solution:

  • Integration Capabilities: It is of utmost importance that the UEBA tool you choose should have the ability to seamlessly integrate with your existing security infrastructure. This is to ensure that it is capable of ingesting the various required data formats, as well as seamlessly deliver automated response capabilities that work across your IT/business technology ecosystem.
  • Scalability: Another critical factor to consider is the scalability of the UEBA solution. It should be designed in such a way that it can easily scale up to accommodate the growth of your organization. This means that as your organization expands, the solution should be able to handle the increased load without compromising its performance. This is especially critical given the ML/AI capabilities within UEBA tools, which require more intensive compute power to operate at scale and against large data volumes.
  • Threat Detection Capabilities: The solution you opt for should be capable of detecting both known and unknown threats. This is crucial in ensuring that your organization is protected from all possible security threats, regardless of whether they are already known to the security community or are new, emerging threats. Delivering high-fidelity threat detections is dependent on the maturity of the machine learning models available within the UEBA tool, whether or not those ML models are customizable to your needs and what adjacent telemetry the solution is able to cross-validate behavioral baseline deviations against to ensure true positives and avoid a deluge of anomaly based false positives.
  • Accuracy: The UEBA solution should be highly accurate in its threat detection. It should have a low rate of false positives while maintaining a high detection accuracy. This is to ensure that you are not overwhelmed with noisy and low-fidelity alerts, but at the same time, no real threats slip through the cracks. It is critical that the UEBA tool has the ability to self-learn and dynamically adjust based on both human tuning cues and non-human feedback looks.
  • Risk Scoring: The UEBA tool should also include a robust risk scoring system. This system should be capable of accurately assessing the severity of detected threats, normalizing the risk (across the threat landscape) and prioritizing them accordingly. This allows your security team to focus on the most critical threats first, thereby optimizing their response time and reducing the potential impact on your organization
  • Ease of Use and Customization: Lastly, the solution should be user-friendly. It should provide clear, actionable alerts and have an intuitive and wizard-driven UI. This is to ensure that your security team can easily understand and respond to the alerts generated by the solution, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency of your security operations. Furthermore, provide the ability to fine-tune the ML models, customize them to your requirements and adjust the risk scoring based on your organizations risk tolerance.

Gurucul UEBA

The Top 5 UEBA Tool Use Cases

You can deploy a standalone UEBA tool for your insider threat program or augment the capabilities of your SIEM to further empower SOC analysts with higher-fidelity detections. Here are the top 5 use cases for UEBA tools:

  • Insider Threat Detection: UEBA tools can effectively identify potential insider threats by monitoring and analyzing user behavior. This helps in detecting any unusual or suspicious activities that deviate from the norm, thereby preventing potential security breaches. This is especially effective when combined with identity analytics, and monitoring applications,
  • Advanced Threat Hunting: With UEBA tools, security teams can proactively hunt for advanced threats that traditional security measures may miss. This includes threats from sophisticated cybercriminals, state-sponsored hackers, and advanced persistent threats (APTs).
  • Anomaly Detection: UEBA tools are equipped with machine learning algorithms that can identify anomalous behavior patterns. This can range from unusual network traffic to abnormal file access, providing an additional layer of security against potential threats.
  • Compromised Account Detection: UEBA tools can detect when an account has been compromised by identifying unusual behavior patterns. This includes sudden changes in login times, locations, or the volume of data being accessed. When combined with identity analytics, it can quickly validate whether risky behavior is just an anomaly or an actual threat or violation of policies.
  • Data Loss Prevention: UEBA tools can help predict and limit data loss by monitoring and analyzing data movement within your organization. Any unusual or suspicious data transfers can be flagged, helping to prevent potential data leaks or breaches.


Why You Should Shortlist the Gurucul UEBA Tool

Gurucul’s UEBA tool is a standout product in the cybersecurity market, having pioneered the space over a decade ago prior to Gartner formalizing the term UEBA. Behavioral analytics is at the heart of Gurucul’s capabilities having dedicated extensive R&D toward providing enterprise customers with the clarity to predict, detect and respond to the most advanced unknown threats.

Intelligent Data Fabric

Our native “Cribl like” data streaming functionality ingests, interprets, monitors, enriches, reduces, and routes security and non-security data from any source or format with no costly third-party services, data distribution or parsing software.

Holistic Data Cross-Validation

Every anomaly isn’t a threat, but every threat starts with an anomaly. The role of adjacent telemetry such as identity and access, HR and security data provides additional context that helps determine whether anomalous behavior should actually be elevated to an analyst for investigation,

Day One Dynamic Behavioral Baselines

The Gurucul UEBA tool identifies peer group baselines for users and entities day one, using historical data vs waiting 90 days to establish a baseline. Once baselines are established they are continuously updated and fine-tuned in real-time.

3,000+ Out-of-the-Box ML Models

Having been in the UEBA business since day one the Gurucul UEBA tool is plush with fine-tuned, out-of-the-box ML models that can run day one. These models are fully customizable in a “glass box” environment so you can tailor the models to your unique requirements. The visual no-code customization within Gurucul Studio™ means you don’t have to be a data scientist to realize the benefits.

Risk Scoring Engine

Quantify and elevate business risk specific to your enterprise using our customizable, dynamic risk engine. It adjusts in real-time, normalizes scores, and can be adapted to any risk framework. Risk scores are normalized from 0-100 and dynamically updated in real-time as activity occurs. With the support of adjacent telemetry the Gurucul UEBA tool can prioritize true threats and provide analysts with a timeline view of contextualized activity for seamless investigations.

Customer Obsession

In addition to dedication to product R&D and meeting 100% of customer SLAs, Gurucul is committed to delivering superior customer support, ensuring that any issues you encounter are promptly addressed. Our customer support team is always ready to assist, providing quick and effective solutions to any problems that may arise. This commitment to customer service ensures that you can rely on Gurucul for support when you need it most. In conclusion, Gurucul’s UEBA tool is not just a product, but a comprehensive security solution that combines advanced technology, user-friendly design, and excellent customer support.

Wrapping Up

UEBA tools are essential for enhancing an organization’s cybersecurity posture. They offer a comprehensive approach to threat detection and response, making them an invaluable resource for security teams. When selecting a UEBA solution, it’s crucial to consider factors such as integration capabilities, scalability, threat detection capabilities, accuracy, and ease of use. Among the various options available, Gurucul stands out as a leading provider of UEBA, offering a comprehensive solution that can augment your SOC and SIEM or up-level your insider threat program.

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