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Addressing cyber chaos: GenAI’s role in advanced threat defence

Addressing cyber chaos: GenAI’s role in advanced threat defence

Striking the right balance between technological adoption and human intelligence is essential to ensure the complete security of any organisation

Gulf Business
Addressing cyber chaos: GenAI's role in advanced threat defence

The rise of generative AI and allied technologies has led to a surge in the sophistication of cyber attacks.

Despite security teams continuously updating their defence strategies, it’s a constant challenge to keep pace. This is why security teams are adopting generative AI as a potent force against today’s cyber attacks.

The complex cyber landscape

The cyber landscape is growing increasingly complex with attackers adopting techniques like sophisticated malware and social engineering to evade detection. This complexity poses a challenge for conventional cybersecurity approaches in maintaining effective defences.

To tackle this issue, it is crucial for organisations to empower their security teams with advanced tools capable of detecting sophisticated cyberthreats.

Understanding generative AI

Generative AI (GenAI) can be used to create content that’s original, creative, and accurate. The technology relies heavily on neural network techniques like generative adversarial networks (GANs) and language models like OpenAI’s GPT-3 to create images, videos, and human-like text.

Leveraging GenAI can help organisations mimic human behaviour to understand threat patterns or create decoys to deceive attackers.

Adaptive response

One of the core capabilities of generative AI includes adapting to changing requirements. While traditional security systems rely on predefined patterns and signatures, GenAI can dynamically learn from changing threat patterns and continuously update its models to strengthen defensive mechanisms.

Further, GenAI’s capability to analyse huge volumes of data seamlessly makes it easier to learn human behaviour, derive baselines, and identify even subtle deviations. This helps in detecting threats proactively and reducing the impact of cyberattacks.

Leveraging GenAI for cyber defence

As generative AI continues to grow, it’s becoming crucial for security teams to identify and explore avenues within the scope of security operations centres (SOCs) to integrate generative AI into their cyber defence strategies. While the following predictions are hypothetical and speculative, the reality of their implementation may not be so distant.

● Counter-deceptive content: Developing deceptive content to mislead attackers can be a valuable strategy for security teams. This may involve generating fake traffic, using incorrect credentials, providing misleading information, and other tactics to distract and divert the attention of attackers.
● Honeypots and decoys: GenAI can be used to mimic realistic network behaviour and system events to create a deceptive environment, making it challenging for attackers to identify genuine assets. Organisations can employ this capability as a sophisticated honeypot to lure malicious attackers into a trap.
● Phishing countermeasures: GenAI can help to counter phishing attacks by detecting fake login screens or credentials in phishing emails. When attackers attempt to use these fabricated elements, AI-powered tools can trigger alerts or countermeasures.
● Automated threat analysis: Utilising  GenAI to simulate threat scenarios can prove effective in identifying security weaknesses and vulnerabilities within a network. Security teams can leverage this approach to enhance their security strategy and better prepare for defending against complex threats.
● Behaviour analytics: Developing behaviour patterns through the analysis of historical data can help proactively identify potential threat actors. This enables organisations to adopt effective strategies for triaging similar threats in the future.
● Misinformation campaigns: Organisations can leverage generative AI to disseminate false information about their security posture, creating confusion among malicious actors.
● Compliance and ethical mandates: GenAI can be used to analyse the compliance standards that an organisation must adhere to, identifying potential gaps that could lead to noncompliance. This, in turn, allows organisations to take proactive measures to ensure ongoing compliance.

The importance of leveraging generative AI for cyber defence

According to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach Report 2023, the Middle East recorded an average of $8.07 million per data breach as compared to the $4.45m global average, signifying that the Middle East is a prime target for cyber attackers.

Further, with the global trend of leveraging AI for cyberattacks anticipated to continue, it is vital that organisations gear up to include AI as an integral part of their cyber defences.

However, as the cybersecurity realm prepares to explore the full potential of generative AI, it is important to consider ethical and legal boundaries during deployment. Prioritising transparency in its usage and communicating this to stakeholders is essential to ensure that the technology’s use remains within permissible boundaries.

Furthermore, despite AI adoption being a strategic necessity, human expertise is still an irreplaceable component in cybersecurity. Striking the right balance between technological adoption and human intelligence is essential to ensure the complete security of any organisation.

The writer is an IT security analyst and cybersecurity expert with ManageEngine.

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