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Cyber Security

Ensuring Comprehensive Visibility Across All Teams is Key

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Bilal Baig, Regional Director, Technical, MMEA at Trend Micro, says companies should have a robust incident response plan in place

How is the threat landscape evolving? Are there any emerging threats we should be particularly concerned about?
The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and there are two key aspects to consider. Firstly, traditional cybersecurity threats, such as ransomware and phishing, remain a significant concern. While established security measures are in place to combat these well-known threats, they continue to evolve and adapt, posing an ongoing challenge.

Secondly, the introduction of advanced technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), has led threat actors to leverage these capabilities to enhance their attack tactics, making them more sophisticated. As attacks become more complex, defenders are also employing AI-based defence mechanisms to counteract these advanced threats. This creates a continuous cycle of escalation, where both attackers and defenders leverage new technologies to outpace each other. Hence, the biggest current threat, both regionally and globally, is the extensive use of AI by cybercriminals.

This trend is not limited to phishing but extends across all types of cyber threats, making them more evasive and difficult to detect. From our side, Trend Micro is actively integrating advanced technologies, including AI, to ensure that these sophisticated attacks can be effectively thwarted.

What does “cybersecurity resilience” mean to you?
For us, the key to cybersecurity resilience is to stay one step ahead by conducting predictive analysis of potential security threats and attacks. This involves assessing the risk factors across various environments, whether it’s your mobile device, laptop, servers, or any system using AI. By analysing the risk matrix, we can forecast the likelihood of attacks and take proactive countermeasures. This anticipatory approach embodies cyber resilience, ensuring we can effectively respond to emerging attack surfaces as they arise.

How can organisations balance the need for security with operational efficiency?
A different approach is certainly required. The main global trend we observe, including in the UAE, is consolidation. The market is experiencing numerous mergers and acquisitions, leading to the consolidation of security tools. This means integrating security measures across endpoints, mobile devices, clouds, and other areas.

Previously, each of these security aspects operated in silos, but the focus has now shifted to breaking down these silos and consolidating security tools. This consolidation allows for a more comprehensive and unified view of security, enabling the creation of a real attack matrix and making it easier to identify threats, much like finding a needle in a haystack. This integrated approach is undoubtedly the way forward for organizations seeking to balance security and operational efficiency.

What are some best practices for incident response planning and recovery?
Most organizations focus on proactive measures to address potential threats. When we step in, we emphasize the importance of having a comprehensive incident response plan. This is crucial because a well-planned approach is far more effective than a reactive one where everyone is scrambling in different directions.

Our goal is to ensure clients have a robust incident response plan in place. If a breach occurs, this plan provides a clear, step-by-step process to follow. This includes isolating affected machines, responding to the threat, and containing the situation. This approach not only addresses the technical aspects but also helps manage the organization’s reputation. Therefore, we are committed to supporting our clients in both preventing breaches and effectively managing them if they do occur.

What role do emerging technologies like AI and machine learning play in both cyber threats and defences?
With the advent of emerging technologies like AI, phishing emails have become remarkably sophisticated. The grammar is perfect, and the links are well-defined, making these emails appear completely legitimate. Attackers can even translate these emails into multiple languages, such as Arabic or French, making them more convincing and far-reaching. From the attacker’s perspective, AI provides powerful tools to craft these deceptive messages.

They can use social media data and advanced AI to tailor phishing attempts precisely, increasing their chances of success. On the defender’s side, advanced AI modules are also being deployed. Just like a fingerprint, everyone has a unique writing style, which includes sentence structure, tone, and emotion. AI helps analyze these elements to identify potential threats.

For instance, AI can detect if an email was generated by another AI tool by examining writing style DNA and other nuanced features. Thus, while attackers are leveraging AI to enhance their tactics, defenders are equally using AI to bolster their defences. It’s a continuous battle where both sides are utilizing advanced tools.

What are some of the biggest challenges organizations face when implementing cybersecurity resilience strategies?
The biggest challenge within organizations is the existence of multiple silos. Application teams, cloud teams, network teams, and endpoint teams all operate independently, each focusing only on their specific areas. This lack of integration and visibility can hinder effective decision-making and security management.

Consolidation and breaking down these silos are crucial. Companies are now looking to merge their strategies to ensure comprehensive visibility across all teams. This holistic approach allows for better decision-making not just in cybersecurity but also in related areas such as legal, finance, and procurement.

When procuring a cybersecurity solution, it’s essential to consider how it will support all these departments. For instance, a robust cybersecurity solution should aid the legal team in compliance, assist the finance team in budgeting and cost management, and help the procurement team in selecting the best tools and services. This integrated strategy ensures that all parts of the organization are aligned and can respond effectively to security threats.

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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