Insider Threat Detection and Monitoring

  • poniedziałek, mar 27, 2023
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Insider Threat Detection and Monitoring is a crucial aspect of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy, as it focuses on identifying and mitigating risks posed by internal actors, such as employees, contractors, or partners. IstroSec understands the danger of Insider Threat and offers whole suite of services in response to it. We prepared overview of what it is and why is it important Here are the detailed steps involved in implementing an effective insider threat detection and monitoring program:

  1. Define key risk indicators (KRIs): Start by identifying the behaviors and actions that may signify potential insider threats relevant to Your organization. KRIs may include events such as:
    1. unauthorized access attempts
    2. access to mission critical data without permission and/or business need
    3. excessive data downloads
    4. unauthorized data transfers
    5. activity outside of usual working hours
    6. using shadow IT assets
    7. access to other employees’ data / files
    8. backup of databases in non-approved manner
  2. Establish a baseline for normal user behavior: By analyzing historical data, create a baseline for typical user behavior within the organization. This baseline will be used to compare and identify deviations that may indicate potential insider threats. The scope of such a baseline can entail:
    1. User-assigned system
    2. Accesses to other IT systems in the environment
    3. Access to data – files, fileservers, business applications, databases
    4. Standard activities on the network, such as web browsing
  3. (Recommended but optional) Implement user behavior analytics (UBA): Deploy UBA tools that leverage machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to analyze user activity patterns, detect anomalies, and generate alerts in real-time. UBA tools can help identify suspicious activities that may not be detected by traditional security systems. Timely threat detection also greatly helps in mitigating potential damage.
  4. (Recommended but optional) Deploy data loss prevention (DLP) solutions: DLP solutions can monitor and control the flow of sensitive data, both within the organization and externally. Implementing DLP will help detect unauthorized data transfers or uploads, preventing potential data breaches according to rules set for particular user groups.
  5. Implement infrastructure-wide logging in the form of SIEM, XDR or at least a log management solution. Ensure logging of events and activities, such as:
    1. User systems activity - Web access, running applications, utilizing administrator level credentials
    2. Operating system and user activity logging from IT systems with specific mission critical data
    3. Logging of access to shares and files on fileservers, i.e. advanced Windows logging or syslog for Linux
    4. Access to database systems and business applications
  6. Continuous monitoring and log analysis: Regularly review and analyze system logs, network traffic, and user activities to detect any suspicious or malicious behavior. An efficient log management system, implemented complex XDR solution and a security information and event management (SIEM) solution can facilitate this process. Ensure sufficient staffing with adequate personnel skills for management and monitoring of these solutions, either from internal capacity or from an external Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP).
  7. Strengthen access controls: Implement strict access control policies, including role-based access control (RBAC) and the principle of least privilege (POLP), to ensure that users only have the necessary permissions to perform their job functions. Consider implementing an Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution for technical enforcement of such policies.
  8. Establish a reporting mechanism: Encourage employees to report any suspicious behavior or potential security incidents. Create an easy-to-use, anonymous reporting mechanism to facilitate this process.
  9. Integrate threat intelligence: Leverage external threat intelligence sources to stay informed about the latest insider threat tactics. Incorporate this information into your threat detection and monitoring processes to enhance your organization’s security posture.
  10. Regularly review and update your program: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your insider threat detection and monitoring program. Update your policies, tools, and processes as needed to adapt to the evolving threat landscape and your organization’s needs.

To prepare Your organization for internal threats according to IstroSec methodology:

  1. Implement Flowmon with Anomaly Detection System (ADS) as Network Detection and Response (NDR) and network threat assessment tool
  2. Deploy of Sentinel One as EDR and endpoint threat assessment tool
  3. Prepare specialized scripts and tools for acquisition and analysis of cloud-based evidence

In case a possible internal threat is identified (a specific user is flagged) :

  1. Collect and preserve evidence: Preserve evidence for potential future legal or disciplinary actions. Ensure that the chain of custody is maintained and evidence is stored securely. Many business software suites have a built-in litigation hold functionality.
  2. Gather initial information: Collect details about the suspicious user, including their role, responsibilities, access levels and recent activities. This information will help to understand the user’s typical behavior and the scope of potential damage.
  3. Analyze EDR data: EDR tools continuously monitor and record endpoint activities, such as process execution, file modifications, and network connections. Review the EDR data for any unusual activities associated with the suspicious user, like unauthorized access attempts to files or systems, unusual processes, or unexpected data transfers.
  4. Correlate with other security tools: Combine the insights from EDR with data from other security tools, such as SIEM, DLP, and network monitoring solutions. This will provide a comprehensive view of the user’s activities and help identify any patterns of malicious behavior.
  5. Review logs: Analyze available logs to determine if the suspicious user has attempted to access sensitive data, systems, or resources without authorization. This may include failed login attempts, attempts to tamper with data integrity or attempts to escalate privileges.
  6. Inspect network traffic: Analyze network traffic data to identify any unusual communication patterns or data transfers involving the suspicious user. This may include connections to known malicious IP addresses, excessive data uploads/downloads, or unauthorized data exfiltration attempts.
  7. Review email and messaging data: Examine the suspicious user’s email and messaging data for any signs of phishing attempts, data leaks, or communication with external threat actors.
  8. Interview the user: If deemed necessary and appropriate, interview the suspicious user to gather more information about their activities and motivations. This step should be carried out in accordance with your organization’s policies and legal requirements.
  9. (Optional) Perform forensic analysis of company-owned user devices (mobile, computer, laptop)
  10. (Optional) Perform forensic analysis of mission critical data servers the user could have access to, or where he could perform malicious activity.

After the investigation (suspicion proven, disproven, or not known) the organization should:

  1. Develop a remediation plan: Based on the investigation findings, develop a remediation plan to address any security gaps or vulnerabilities identified. This may include revoking the user’s access, implementing additional security controls, or conducting further security awareness training.
  2. Review and update your security policies: Use the insights gained from the investigation to review and update your organization’s security policies and procedures. This will help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future and strengthen your overall security posture.
  3. Monitor for ongoing threats: Continue to monitor the user’s activities and the overall security environment to identify any ongoing or new threats. This will help ensure that your organization remains resilient against internal threats.