‘More Organisations Rely on Automation, Machine Learning, AI’

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Emma Okonji

The recently released Cisco 2018 annual cyber-security report has revealed that security leaders in various organisations rely more on and invest in automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to move against threats.

Findings from the report show 39 per cent of organisations are reliant on automation, 34 per cent are reliant on machine learning, and 32 per cent are highly reliant on AI.

Malware sophistication is increasing as adversaries begin to weaponise cloud services and evade detection through encryption, used as a tool to conceal command-and-control activity. To reduce adversaries’ time to operate, security professionals said they would increasingly leverage and spend more on tools that use AI and machine learning, reported in the 11th Cisco 2018 Annual Cyber-security Report (ACR).

While encryption is meant to enhance security, the expanded volume of encrypted web traffic, both legitimate and malicious, has created more challenges for defenders trying to identify and monitor potential threats. Cisco threat researchers observed more than a threefold increase in encrypted network communication used by inspected malware samples over a 12-month period.

Senior Vice President and Chief Security and Trust Officer, Cisco, John N. Stewart, said: “Last year’s evolution of malware demonstrates that our adversaries continue to learn, so we have to raise the bar now, there is too much risk, and it is up to us to reduce it.’’

Some additional highlights from Cisco 2018 annual cyber-security report include: The financial cost of attacks is no longer a hypothetical number; Supply chain attacks are increasing in velocity and complexity; although security is extremely vital, it’s getting more complex and the scope of breaches is expanding. Also, from the report, it was revealed that security professionals see value in behavioral analytics tools in locating malicious actors in networks; Use of cloud is growing; attackers taking advantage of the lack of advanced security; Trends in malware volume have an impact on defenders’ time to detection (TTD), among others.