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Cyber Security

AI and Automation Tech Are Critical to Modern Security Operations

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Steve Benton, the Vice President of Anomali Threat Research, says cyber threat has become a full-on business interruption risk

Tell us about the security threat landscape in the MEA region.
Disruption from ransomware and data breaches remain among the top impacts on organizations in the MEA region. Priority investment in Resilience and Preparedness is paramount, and this must use Threat Intelligence to inform it. The region has evolved into a neighbourhood of rapidly growing digital economies. The investment, innovation, and accelerated business growth that defines the region have made it a lucrative target for threat actors.

Actors are working hard to discover entry points and achieve persistence, especially with the objective of stealing sensitive data. Knowing an organization’s attack surface, backed by relevant threat intelligence, is key to prioritizing its reduction and wider preparedness for attack. All of this is in addition to the obvious – energy, oil and gas. Historically this has been the focus in the region and hence the leverage in and beyond the region. Risks to the reliable production of energy remain and are accentuated during times of geopolitical tension.

Geopolitics in the region cannot be ignored. Regional tensions have the potential to destabilize the region and drag countries and global powers into a wider conflict. At a time like this, it is wise for all organizations to adopt threat-led security operations that utilize multiple and overlapping threat defences. Not only will this assure organizations and wider nations during times of uncertainty, but in the long term, this approach is vital to ensure continued growth and success for the MEA region.

Do you believe AI and automation tech are critical to addressing the complexities of modern security operations?
Without a doubt, both are critical to modern security operations. In fact, security operations are now at the very core of assuring both business operations and growth and the safety and security of wider society. Organizations are digitally hugely complex in their own right, and cyber threats have become equally complex. The span of data from security monitoring against the rules and the latest indicators of compromise and attack has grown significantly.

Security is rapidly hitting two major challenges – cost and speed. Better ways need to be found to afford the visibility into the security of an organization that is so desperately needed. This visibility must be bonded to the latest threat intelligence, applied at pace with insights derived, understood, and acted on as a continuous and dynamic security posture and response.

Nothing less will serve the needs of a modern security operation. However, this challenge has gone beyond the capability of any traditional security team. I know I’ve led significant security teams for much of my career, but today, teams need the ability to fully automate their protection and detection and use intelligence writ large.

What I mean by this is the latest threat intelligence relevant to the organization allied with artificial intelligence that partners with the analysts, saving them huge amounts of time and making decisions faster with more precision and impact. It is time for analysts to be able to do things differently, achieve the level of performance they deserve, and fulfil their security missions. We owe it to them! AI, automation, and visibility unlock the door.

According to you, what are the opportunities and challenges for IT security in 2024?
Cyber threat has become a full-on business interruption risk, and for many fully digitized organizations, this is an existential threat – the business literally stops and may never recover. Security has become limited by the capacities and affordability of the visibility and control needed to properly protect the business.

IT security is at a crossroads – compromise with traditional approaches and technology or optimize with an all-encompassing approach that addresses the constraints of visibility, automation, and smart use of AI to achieve the security needed. The traditional beating heart of SIEM and SOAR needs addressing – that’s the opportunity and the challenge.

The answer is threat-led security operations. For that, a different type of SIEM/SOAR is needed. It needs to have been designed around the analysts and what they need to be successful. They need visibility, insight, and pace. Visibility is across their enterprise and the security controls ecosystem. Insight is the bonding of threat intelligence to both the security posture and detecting malicious or suspicious activity.

Pace is the ability to reach a decision and act on this visibility and insight to disrupt attacks and minimize harm. For that, the analyst needs AI with them every step of the way – their own Copilot that understands their enterprise and the threat landscape – sifting through the data and guiding preparation and response.

Is there a skills gap in the cybersecurity industry, especially in the Middle East? How can that gap be bridged?
Absolutely, there is a skills gap – driven by scarcity of supply, the pace of complexity in defending the modern digital enterprise in an ever more dynamic threat landscape, and burnout. Analysts have literally run out of time in their day. Analysts don’t fail, they simply get outstripped by the defensive workload or incident response pace. All they need is the time to understand the threats properly formulate and execute optimal responses at the pace that protects the business and prepares its resilience going forward.

They are trapped on a stress-inducing merry-go-round – dealing with alert after alert – but never feeling they are getting ahead. Anomali has always had the needs of the Analysts at its heart. Our latest platform combines blistering pace, comprehensive visibility, and Anomali Copilot, which empowers all analysts to play at an elite level in protecting their organizations using intelligence (combining threat intelligence and AI) with security operations in a completely different way.

How important are channel partners for Anomali’s regional presence?
Channel partners are critically important for Anoamli’s regional presence. They bring a nuanced understanding of the regional market and customer intimacy. Often, they are able to knit the Anomali solution with the wider needs of the organization or spot where Anoamli’s game-changing capabilities and cost-effectiveness can be pivotal.

Cyber Security

Netskope Joins Google Workspace Security Alliance

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Netskope has joined the Google Workspace Security Alliance to extend security and data protection for Workspace users. The Netskope One Platform provides a number of advanced security capabilities that protect data, defend against threats, and ensure users have fast and secure access to Google Workspace productivity and collaboration tools, including Gemini for Workspace.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud technologies to drive innovation and efficiency, they are also challenged to secure sensitive data from a range of cyber risks, including:

  • Ongoing increases in the number of users uploading sensitive data to personal instances of cloud applications
  • New and evolving threat techniques such as abuse of certain applications for critical data access, back doors, and financial gain; compromise of credentials to access critical business data; insider threats; and more
  • Data exposure from the insecure use of both managed and unmanaged AI-based productivity tools

Netskope and Google Workspace empower organizations to embrace modern collaboration and productivity by enabling the secure use of AI-based productivity tools. Netskope provides advanced data loss prevention (DLP) techniques, delivering real-time visibility and control over users, data, and corporate vs. personal cloud instances. In addition, Netskope’s comprehensive threat protection through both API and inline controls detects threats in Google applications and monitors data movement and threat propagation between Google Workspace apps and third-party ecosystem applications.

“Netskope is proud to expand its partnership with Google Workspace by joining the Workspace Security Alliance. There are already thousands of customers using Netskope to safeguard their Google Workspace applications, and this new partnership further enhances the secure usage capabilities for application specific data protection policies,” said Andy Horwitz, VP, Global Partner Ecosystems, Netskope. “Together, Netskope and Google Workspace can help customers modernize their productivity stack. We look forward to helping customers safely optimize their employees’ daily productivity.”

The Netskope and Google Workspace partnership enables organizations to embrace collaboration and productivity while safeguarding critical data. Joint customers can now more effectively:

  1. Support best practice use of Gemini for Google Workspace: Leverage real-time user coaching to help enforce best practices in application usage. Organizations can gain visibility into data movement to minimize sensitive information sharing while achieving data compliance objectives.
  2. Protect sensitive data: Detect and manage access to sensitive data within Google Workspace applications, enforcing policies to prevent unauthorized data movement across platforms, including third-party services like Microsoft OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.
  3. Stop insider threats like data exfiltration: Prevent the download of sensitive data from Google Workspace business instances and then the upload to personal instances, which is one of today’s top reasons for data loss. Additionally, apply this control to unmanaged devices: allow unmanaged or personal device access to a specific cloud app for collaboration, however, do not allow downloading of sensitive data.
  4. Detect and stop elusive threats and malware: Protect against malware and phishing delivered from the cloud. Netskope’s multi-layered advanced threat protection (ATP) enhances security within Google Workspace and across cloud applications.
  5. Maintain compliance in Google Workspace: Ensure that organizations can adhere to regulations and meet compliance needs by enforcing security policies within Google Workspace.

“By partnering with Netskope, a leading SASE vendor, customers can confidently expand their Google Workspace adoption leveraging their existing IT infrastructure investments,” said Nikhil Sinha, Group Product Manager, Google Workspace. “Netskope instance awareness enables fine grained data governance policy differences to both corporate and personal Google Workspace accounts. We are excited to partner with Netskope to provide these advanced security capabilities to our customers.”

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Channel Talk

AmiViz and BitSight Join Forces to Elevate Middle East Risk Management

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AmiViz has partnered with Bitsight, a leading provider of cyber risk management solutions. This collaboration marks a significant step forward in bolstering cybersecurity capabilities across the region and facilitating Bitsight’s expansion efforts in the Middle East.

The partnership between AmiViz and Bitsight will enhance the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East by introducing state-of-the-art solutions designed to tackle the evolving cyber threats confronting regional organizations. With both companies committed to improving cybersecurity awareness and resilience, they are set to pave the way for a safer and more secure digital environment in the region.

Commenting on the partnership with Bitsight, Ilyas Mohammed, COO at AmiViz said, “Our decision to onboard Bitsight demonstrates our commitment towards the evolution of the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East. As organizations grapple with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, the partnership between these two industry leaders promises to deliver enhanced value by equipping organizations with the tools and insights needed to effectively manage cyber risks and safeguard their digital assets in an ever-evolving threat landscape.”

Bitsight’s solutions can proactively assess and manage their cyber risk exposure and provide organizations with actionable intelligence to optimize their security investments, streamline vendor risk management processes, and enhance cyber resilience. With a focus on continuous monitoring and data-driven insights, Bitsight empowers organizations to make informed decisions and stay ahead of emerging cyber threats.

The Middle East has often been an attractive target for cyber-attacks, and this partnership will empower companies to address vulnerabilities and protect their digital assets proactively. By combining AmiViz’s deep understanding of the regional market dynamics with Bitsight’s cutting-edge technology and global expertise, the partnership will offer next-generation cybersecurity solutions tailored to the unique challenges and requirements of Middle Eastern organizations.

“We are proud to partner with AmiViz to transform the cyber risk management landscape in the Middle East,” said Xavier Artiguebieille, Senior Vice President, EMEA Sales at Bitsight. “Our combined efforts will equip organizations with the critical tools and intelligence needed to navigate and mitigate the complexities of modern cyber threats, enhancing their overall security and resilience.”

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Artificial Intelligence

ESET’s New AI Assistant Streamlines Threat Detection and Response

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ESET has introduced ESET AI Advisor, an innovative generative AI-based cybersecurity assistant that transforms incident response and interactive risk analysis. First showcased at RSA Conference 2024, the new solution is now available as part of the ESET PROTECT MDR Ultimate subscription tier and ESET Threat Intelligence.

Unlike other vendor offerings and typical generative AI assistants that focus on soft features like administration or device management, ESET AI Advisor seamlessly integrates into the day-to-day operations of security analysts, conducting in-depth analysis. Building on over two decades of ESET’s expertise in AI-driven endpoint protection, the offering provides detailed incident data and SOC team-level advisory. This is a game-changer for companies with limited IT resources who want to utilize the advantages of advanced Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions and threat intelligence feeds.

“As cybersecurity threats become increasingly sophisticated, ESET remains committed to providing cutting-edge solutions that address these challenges. The ESET AI Advisor module represents a significant leap forward in our mission to close the cybersecurity skills gap and empower organizations to safeguard their digital assets effectively,” said Juraj Malcho, Chief Technology Officer at ESET.

One of the primary benefits of this new solution is closing the cybersecurity skills gap. Security analysts of all skill levels can use ESET AI Advisor to conduct interactive risk identification, analysis, and response capabilities, which are provided in an easily understandable format. The user-friendly interface makes sophisticated threat data actionable even for less experienced IT and security professionals.

The ESET AI Advisor also excels in facilitating faster decision-making for critical incidents. Security analysts can simply consult the ESET AI Advisor to understand the specific threats their environment faces. Leveraging extensive XDR collected data, the ESET AI Advisor identifies and analyzes potential malware threats, providing intuitive insights into their behaviour and impact. It assists in recognizing phishing attempts and advising users on how to avoid falling victim to fraudulent emails or websites. By monitoring network traffic, the ESET AI Advisor can flag unusual or suspicious behaviour, helping security teams take appropriate action. Its ability to automate repetitive tasks is an additional advantage. Managing routine processes such as data collection, extraction, and basic threat detection, allows security teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

In ESET Threat Intelligence, the new module will help researchers analyze vast quantities of unique APT reports and understand latest developments in world of cyber threats. With its conversational prompts and interactive dialogue, ESET AI Advisor empowers organizations to analyze and mitigate threats effortlessly and fortify their cybersecurity posture.

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