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“We Can’t Bring Humans to a Machine Fight” Darktrace on Building a Digital Immune System

"Cybersecurity’s next great challenge is Offensive AI"

By CBR Staff Writer

SPONSORED – Darktrace’s Managing Director for Asia, Sanjay Aurora, on autonomously protecting an increasingly distributed business — as static defences fail ever more frequently, while cyber attacks surge.

What are the unique cybersecurity challenges in today’s massively disrupted climate?

Humans are outpaced by the speed, sophistication and scale of today’s attacks. We cannot expect people to become cyber experts or make every decision with security in mind. What’s more, we cannot expect security teams to respond at machine speed.

In the outbreak of a global health emergency, security teams have had to turn on a dime as their companies have changed overnight. Employees are suddenly taking their work computers home, accessing sensitive documents that previously were only accessible on a wired network in one office location. Companies will be rapidly spinning up VPN gateways, transitioning to Sharepoint and expanding their internet-facing perimeter.

Traditional defences based on static defences and hard and fast rules will no longer apply to remote working and will struggle to keep up, no matter how diligently and rapidly security teams rewrite them. How will you spot a malicious login attempt to O365 in your audit logs now that connections coming from thousands of different locations around the world? 

Most security firms are now promising ‘AI-powered’ solutions. What makes Darktrace’s stand out?

Many organisations claim to be using artificial intelligence. In reality, they are using basic automation to recreate legacy approaches: they are automating the writing rules and signatures based on historical attacks.

This approach is still flawed as the cyber threat landscape evolves every day and is ramping up in sophistication. Darktrace’s AI constantly self-learns the unique pattern of life for every organisation. It constantly recalibrates this understanding and evolves as the business does. It not only spots deviations from ‘normal’ but it can take intelligent action. Our ‘machine fights back’ capability makes surgical, micro decisions in seconds about how to contain an emerging threat.

What are the greatest security threats you see emerging for businesses?

Cyber security’s next great challenge is Offensive AI. AI’s ability to learn and adapt will usher in a new era of attacks in which highly-customised and human-mimicking attacks are scalable – and travel at machine speed.

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In a recently released report, Forrester revealed that 88% of security leaders agree that these supercharged AI attacks are an inevitability. Only AI is capable of fighting AI. AI will auto-defend networks, combatting offensive AI in a battle of algorithms.

How can Darktrace help secure businesses with large cloud-based workloads?

Powered by machine learning, Darktrace Cloud models the unique ‘pattern of life’ of users and devices across cloud environments, identifying subtle misconfigurations and automatically responding to threats as they emerge. This digital immune system for the cloud, which fully integrates with all major cloud and SaaS platforms, has proven immensely powerful for hundreds of businesses with large and complex cloud workloads, such as Prudential Plc, the UK’s largest listed insurer, and eBay, the multinational e-commerce giant.

How can businesses hope to stay secure against such adversaries?

AI systems that learn continuously and adapt to change will provide the best chance of detecting misconfigurations, attacks, and risky behaviour. When you don’t know what to look for, you need technology that is able to identify patterns and quantify risks for you.

Containing threats is also essential. In the current crisis, it won’t be feasible to entirely quarantine an infected machine if it cannot be re-imaged or replaced for days. AI technology that can automatically respond and continuously protect devices will prevent suspicious activity from developing whilst allowing essential activities to continue unaffected. Placing trust in defensive systems to autonomously protect an increasingly distributed business will be the most effective way of maintaining resilience and security when our static defences have failed us.

What are the top tips you recommend for businesses to stay secure?

We can’t bring humans to a machine fight. This is a reality that the industry has come to terms with. Organizations have become overwhelmed by digital complexity, blind to what is happening on their own systems – let alone the risk that third party suppliers bring.

With the digital business now more sprawling and vulnerable than ever, the imperative for business leaders to understand their digital environment has never been stronger. Core business data is now being pushed to brand new places, travelling in a way that it has never before. Organizations with cyber AI will have the upper hand, afforded with the ability to monitor these new working behaviours and automatically respond to threats when and wherever they emerge.

About Sanjay Aurora

As Managing Director of Darktrace in Asia Pacific & Japan, Sanjay has spearheaded the company’s regional growth since 2015. Now valued at over $1.65 billion, Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System is the world’s leading cyber AI company. With over 25 years of experience in the enterprise software industry, Sanjay has introduced Darktrace’s innovative technology to organizations of all sizes across the region. His views on the evolution of cyber-threats and the power of AI for autonomous response are widely reported by leading media outlets, including Channel NewsAsia and CNBC. Sanjay has a degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.


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