How Deep Visibility Mitigates the Insiders Threat and Returns the Advantage to the Analyst

Defending your organization against outside threats is a never-ending battle. Keeping track of the latest threats, hardening your defenses, and monitoring for signs of a potential breach keep your teams busy. What makes things worse is that organizations are plagued with blind spots outside the scope of external threats. Some of the greatest threats to your business can come from within. Insider threats expose you to unique risks, as specialized knowledge and access to resources give malicious insiders an advantage over external threat actors. Monitoring for internal activity that may indicate illicit behavior requires time and effort your organization may not have using conventional tools. In fact, 58% of businesses consider their insider threat detection and response only somewhat effective or worse.

Types of insider threats

Insider threats come in different forms; their objectives and motives sort them into specific categories, including the following:

Someone within your organization may be manipulated by a competitor or a threat actor to perform actions in your network that cause loss or harm. These “pawns” in the game being played against your business may be promised payment or even be blackmailed into becoming an insider threat. A single action, or many actions taken over time, can drain your organization of safeguarded intellectual property and trade secrets.

Some insider threats are not intentional. Mistakes and human error comprise a number of incidents that are classified as insider threats. Accidentally deleting a file, mistaking a phishing email for a legitimate one, or inadvertently encrypting company data to keep it safe then losing the decryption key are all unintentional actions that can harm your organization. Identifying these actions before the damage is done can be very difficult, especially since they begin as harmless, daily routines.

Although dual authorization technologies and well-thought-out separation of duty architectures can prevent most insider threats, a little collaboration can defeat all of that. When an employee collaborates with another who wishes to cause harm to your organization, your organization is exposed to serious risk. Predicting this type of threat is nearly impossible, and it is often detected after the fact. By collaborating with other malicious insiders, a bad actor can bypass defenses and processes to commit theft or cause damage.

Lone Wolf
Acting on their own, the Lone Wolf may be a disgruntled employee or someone who has made it a personal mission to damage the company out of spite. Should this individual have privileged access to resources, your organization can suffer a blow it may not recover from. This is especially true if the employee plans on promptly separating from the company after executing their plan. Anticipating when and where a Lone Wolf insider threat will strike is virtually impossible and the only way to effectively mitigate it relies on having deep visibility into the actual activities and the users that had permissions to execute them.

Gaining full visibility
Achieving full visibility into your business environment’s network activity can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Your teams should be interested in several types of activities, each requiring its own vantage points for collection and normalization. Conventional solutions will only tell your teams —and you— part of this story.

User activity
When detecting an insider threat, tracking user activity is the most obvious data point to scrutinize. Being able to trace specific actions, at certain times, and in certain network locations can pinpoint malicious activity from an internal source. This allows teams to investigate and verify the incident and take the steps necessary to contain the threat. Without visibility into user activity, there is a good chance insider threats will go undetected. As tactics become more advanced, your existing tools may not be effective at identifying a malicious user on the inside.

Data activity
Where does your data exist when not in use, and where does it go when it is in use? These questions may be more difficult to answer than you may think. Drilling down into audit logs on a per-system basis can take forever, even when using a SIEM solution. Making sense of data activity using a patchwork of antiquated solutions leads to nowhere fast. Using a Network Detection and Response (NDR) solution with deep visibility can separate the signal from the noise when detecting your company’s data being exfiltrated from systems by an inside threat.

Without the ability to properly analyze user and data activity, there’s very little insight that can be gained from all of this valuable information. This is to say having the right data is one thing, but using it properly is typically where organizations fall short. It’s already difficult to capture enough data to tell the story of who did what with certain data, but actually answering those questions requires advanced analytics. Whether you think you have too much or too little data, you’re going to need the ability to filter out what actually matters.

Tracking the insider threat
Here at WireX, we have developed a next generation NDR solution that addresses the inadequacies of yesterday’s tools. Automated analysis makes possible deep visibility into network events, which allows team members of any skill level to identify and respond to insider threats. Chasing false positives or piling on efforts to disrupt an event that was actually legitimate user activity burns time and money your organization can’t afford to lose.

Context-driven insights
Backing our NDR platform is our Contextual Capture technology. You know you cannot depend on full packet captures for slow-going, limited investigations. No matter the size of your infrastructure, Contextual Capture continuously normalizes data to refine network data into a holistic set of human-readable intelligence. Instead of deciphering raw data that shows up at a high volume, your teams can immediately understand alerts. This gives you unparalleled ability to gain instant visibility into an event, rather than spending hours or days attempting to manually reconstruct and examine network sessions. User-action classification provides a means of automatically identifying and correlating related sessions, the worst nightmare of an insider threat perpetrator.

The visibility required to win
Your SOC analysts will be hard-pressed to correlate heaps of high level logs in order to identify an insider threat using conventional tools and methods. Calling this a “needle in a haystack” is an understatement. WireX’s NDR platform allows your organization to fully utilize your existing investments. Whether these solutions be a SIEM, NGFW, threat prevention, or breach detection system, our platform singles out the alerts that matter most.
Should an insider threat start to materialize, the incident is able to be investigated immediately, and knowledge of details can be shared across your entire organization. This not only reduces the number of tickets being escalated to higher analyst tiers, but also means that insider threat investigations take a fraction of the time they otherwise would have.

Contact us today
Schedule a demo to learn more about how WireX can prevent those stealthy insider threats looming within your organization. Contact us today, and eliminate the stress of wondering whether or not you’ll catch a disgruntled employee or double-agent contractor.

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