Securing Future Innovation with Predictive Security

Mazen Adnan Dohaji, Vice President & General Manager of LogRhythm METAPAC, explores the rise of AI-driven cyberattacks in the Middle East and emphasizes the importance of securing future innovation with predictive security.

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Innovation in the Middle East is being threatened by the rise of generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI)-powered attacks. The presence of cyber threats including ransomware and social engineering attacks is already a critical challenge to organisations in the region as they look to scale their digital transformation. This is a problem that will continue to grow as threat actors leverage GenAI to drive the next wave of sophisticated cyberattacks.

Digital innovation has been stimulated in the Middle East through national initiatives, such as Saudi Vision 2030, that aim to position the region as a global innovation hub. According to Future Market Insights, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) digital transformation industry is estimated to reach $418.5 billion by 2034. The challenge is that as businesses focus on embracing new technologies and digital models, they become increasingly exposed to more security risks and a widened attack surface.

To protect the region’s digital transformation efforts, organisations need more intuitive and intelligent security solutions that can move their security strategy from reactive to proactive. This can be achieved by deploying predictive analytics that utilise Machine Learning (ML) and AI.

Smarter and More Sophisticated Threats

The use of GenAI lowers the barrier to entry for cybercriminals, leaving organisations in the Middle East even more exposed to evolving cyberattacks. Threat actors are already leveraging AI to increase the efficiency of their attacks within operations including coding and phishing. This is a challenge that will only increase over the next few years as adoption grows and models become more advanced.

At the same time, the ever-growing cybersecurity skills gap is making it harder for security teams to stay on top of mounting threats. As the skills gap widens, analysing large amounts of data becomes a more difficult task for overstretched teams and the risks of threats going undetected increase.

The rise of more sophisticated attacks combined with the widening cybersecurity skills gap creates the perfect storm for threat actors to take advantage of vulnerable organisations. It creates the ideal conditions for them to disrupt digitalisation efforts, compromise critical systems and data, and cause irreversible damage to an organisation’s reputation.

As cyberattacks become smarter, the actions organisations take to combat these attacks also need to be smarter. Predictive security is transforming how organisations in the Middle East protect their networks. ML and AI-powered capabilities arm security teams with greater visibility to defend against even the most dynamic threats.

Predicting Risks, Preventing Breaches

The need for predictive tools to combat complex threats within IT environments is greater than ever. Predictive analytics leverage ML and AI to establish future outcomes based on past incidents and trends. They deliver strong capabilities when it comes to recognising certain types of threat patterns.

By deploying predictive analytics, organisations in the Middle East gain powerful insights that enable them to:

  • Establish a Security-First Foundation. ML acts as an early warning system and a first line of defense by predicting attacks. Intelligent data analysis forecasts the likelihood of a breach based on factors including past events, user behavior, and external activity. Organisations no longer have to wait for an attack to occur but can instead determine the threats they are vulnerable to and when an attack is most likely to take place. This eases the burden on security analysts by reducing time spent on threat hunting and lessening the risk of threats going unnoticed.
  • Address Vulnerabilities. Identifying weaknesses is crucial to enable security teams to build awareness of the low-hanging fruit that threat actors can easily compromise. With predictive analytics deployed, organisations can build a greater understanding of their vulnerabilities based on their current security defenses and the latest cybersecurity trends. Monitoring network activity establishes a baseline for AI algorithms. This helps organisations identify the systems threat actors may target and the areas they should be paying attention to.
  • Enhance Automation. Another benefit of leveraging predictive analytics is the support it provides to the security workforce. AI and ML take care of threat detection and monitoring so analysts can focus on high-level analysis. If the algorithm detects a potential breach, it will trigger an automated response to rapidly contain the threat. This not only streamlines the response process but also reduces analyst burnout to boost the overall efficiency of the security operations centre (SOC) team.
  • Identify Anomalies. ML-powered user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA) can help security teams overcome threats and understand user behaviour by monitoring for known threats and behavioural changes in user data. ML allows organisations to progress past a rule-based approach to look at unknown patterns. The effectiveness of this depends on the ingestion of high-quality, structured data into the AI algorithms. Once this is in place, the algorithms can detect outliers and automatically set prioritisation scores without the need for manual input.

The Path to Predictive Security

Cybersecurity is an ongoing and ever-evolving challenge. To keep up with this pace of change, organisations need to focus their efforts on establishing a predictive security approach to identify threats before they can cause damage.

Predictive analytics that leverages AI and ML have the potential to level the playing field against even GenAI-driven attacks. With these tools ready at their fingertips, security teams gain game-changing threat detection and mitigation capabilities to achieve greater cyber resilience.

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