Monthly Archives: June 2015

  • Detecting Human Emotions In Data

Predicting Unknown Threats: Detecting Human Emotions Through Machine Data Analytics

Wouldn’t it be nice if your SIEM would send a “possible insider threat!” alert when it detects that employee is in fearful, paranoid or even panicky emotional state while trying to access secure, confidential corporate documents repository?

Or receive real time “possible account takeover!” alert when it detects that currently logged in user is in deep anxiety or experiencing severely agitated emotional conditions while trying to initiate money transfer to an outside bank account?

This approach is used very successfully to detect potential threats by the world’s most secure airlines.
Trained security officers are able to see if passenger feels nervous or agitated or otherwise exhibits emotionally unusual behaviors and then follow up with further checks and investigation. On one occasion by interrogating the nervous passenger the actual bomb was found inside his luggage while the passenger mistakenly thought he had been hired to smuggle diamonds.
The Step Up from User Behavior Analytics
With some creativity, knowledge of human psychology and analytics approach we can apply the same methods to today’s machine data generated by users, clients and employees of financial institutions, banks, governments facilities and corporations to prevent known and unknown attacks from outside as well as from inside of enterprise.

A while ago analyzing an account takeover cyber attack I’ve isolated a complete data set belonging to the attacker who’ve accessed another user account with legitimate credentials.

Attacker’s session activity was almost identical to legitimate user’s activity across all metrics:
Pages accessed, session duration, session hit length, browser user agent used, geographical region of originated IP address, order in which pages were accessed, approximately the same time of the date as legitimate user would use, etc…

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