User Behavior Analytics for Insider Threats Playbook

December 17, 20233 min read

Playbook Objectives:

  • To simulate a controlled insider threat scenario focusing on User Behavior Analytics (UBA) to detect anomalous activities.
  • To validate the effectiveness of current security measures and incident response plans against insider threats.
  • To train security analysts on the identification and investigation of suspicious user behavior.
  • To test the integration and responsiveness of UBA systems in conjunction with other security tools.
  • To enhance team coordination and communication during an insider threat incident.

Difficulty Level:

  • Advanced: This exercise requires a sophisticated understanding of network systems, user behavior patterns, and security incident response protocols.


  • ACME Corp, a leading fintech company, has made significant advancements in digital banking technology. With high-value financial data and intellectual property, the risk of internal data breaches has become an imminent threat. To mitigate this, ACME Corp’s cybersecurity team decides to conduct a Cyber Range exercise simulating an insider threat.
  • Rebecca, a disgruntled employee in the data analysis department, has decided to exploit her access privileges for personal financial gain. She secretly colludes with a competitor and plans to exfiltrate sensitive customer databases along with proprietary algorithms. The scenario begins with subtle behavioral changes in her network usage, followed by the unauthorized extraction of confidential files.
  • The cybersecurity team aims to ensure Rebecca’s malicious actions trigger alerts in the UBA system, enabling them to follow the digital trail and remediate the situation before it escalates.


  • User Behavior Analytics / Insider Threat Detection

Exercise Attack Steps:

  • Baseline and Profiling: Simulate the standard behavior of Rebecca and create a profile that the UBA system recognizes as normal.
  • Behavioral Deviation: Start introducing anomalies in Rebecca’s user behavior, such as logging in at odd hours, accessing unauthorized servers, or attempting to escalate privileges.
  • Data Aggregation: Have Rebecca collect and compile sensitive information from different databases, raising flags within the UBA system due to data hoarding behaviors.
  • Exfiltration Attempt: Simulate an attempt by Rebecca to transfer the aggregated data outside the company network using obfuscation techniques to avoid detection by traditional security appliances.
  • Alert & Response: Ensure the security team receives alerts from the UBA system and follows the incident response protocol to identify, investigate, and contain the breach.
  • Post-Exercise Analysis: Debrief with a thorough review of the UBA system’s performance, team response effectiveness, and discuss improvements for the actual UBA deployment and incident response procedures.