How CISOs can embrace AI to turn the tide in cybersecurity battles

How CISOs can embrace AI to turn the tide in cybersecurity battles

Harnessing the power of AI isn’t just a possibility, it’s an imperative for the modern CISO. Mohammed Al Mohtadi, Chief Information Security Officer at Injazat, discusses how CISOs can leverage AI to supercharge their defensive operations and lead the way in a transformative era for cybersecurity.  

In today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape, many view AI as the cybercriminal’s most potent weapon, making attacks more agile and cost-effective than ever. While the threat that AI poses to cybersecurity is palpable, we, as Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), have a historic opportunity to use AI to strengthen our defensive frameworks, bridge the gaps in our understanding of our cyberdefence territories and bolster cross-industry cooperation against shared threats.

Here’s how we can leverage AI to supercharge our defensive operations and turn the tide in cybersecurity battles.

Amplifying our existing defensive capabilities through AI

In recent years, many of us in the cybersecurity circles have an ongoing debate: does AI provide more assistance to those who defend or those who attack? If both sides equip themselves with AI’s advanced capabilities, who stands to gain more?

For the defenders, AI offers an asymmetric advantage. In contrast to our adversaries, we have an intimate understanding of our cyber territories. AI-powered tools aid us by further amplifying our existing defensive capabilities based on the data and configuration that our organisations already have.

For example, while attackers can operate with AI-generated, ever-more-sophisticated phishing attacks to target our authentication systems, we can use AI-powered algorithms to upgrade our existing capabilities in response, improving the effectiveness of our phishing resistance and cryptographic token-based technology. In doing so, we are establishing all-around defence against various forms of phishing and not just against the few attacks generated by the most advanced AI.

This use of AI also creates a positive feedback loop. Equipped with AI-powered tools – such as threat intelligence platforms and Machine Learning-based intrusion detection mechanisms, our systems can automatically turn every attempted attack into an opportunity to enhance our defence. The result is a continual amplification of our entire cyberdefence ecosystem.

The underlying message is clear: we’re not simply using AI to counter AI; we’re harnessing its immense potential to fortify our entire defensive ecosystem.

Leveraging AI to bridge the gaps in our defensive territories

It’s easy to assume that AI-equipped attackers move faster and stealthier than the defenders. While the attackers do not have to abide by the same systemic constraints that we face, they are limited by the absence of in-depth intelligence on their target. AI might enhance their attack agility, but it doesn’t grant them our internal data.

On the contrary, as defenders, we can use AI to achieve a holistic and continually updated oversight of the domains we protect. The UAE government, for instance, uses AI-driven tools to detect and thwart over 50,000 potential cyberthreats per day, showcasing AI’s power in real-world scenarios. This level of intelligence and precision was unachievable before the age of AI.

Such depth and clarity offer us a significant edge over our adversaries. Think of it as a home-turf advantage: an opponent might understand the game, but we know every blade of grass on the field.

Using AI to bolster collaborative cyberdefence across industries

The age of AI brings us another asymmetric advantage: while our adversaries compete and vie for the same limited pool of illicit profits, we have a shared interest in fending off a common threat.

As AI systems thrive on vast amounts of data for training and optimisation, our defence mechanisms grow stronger with more data at our disposal. So, imagine the strength we could harness through cooperative data sharing.

The opportunity for our collective response is monumental.

This vision of collaborative defence is not theoretical; it’s already in motion. At Injazat, our extensive collaboration with the UAE National Cyber Security Council and other public sector institutions exemplifies this effort. Our state-of-the-art Cyber Fusion Centre, a first of its kind in the region, combines a cutting-edge Machine Learning approach with client-supplied data from over 30 different industries. In doing so, the Centre empowers its clients with holistic insights and curated intelligence that enhances our joint cyber response capabilities.

As we approach GITEX, where we will have the opportunity ‘to imagine AI in everything’, this is a call to action for all CISOs. We are standing at the forefront of a transformative era. The power of AI, while daunting, is also a beacon of hope. We have the tools, understanding and the cooperative spirit to not merely deter threats, but to turn the tide in cybersecurity battles. Together, let’s collaborate, harness AI’s immense potential and safeguard a secure digital future for all.

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent CIO Middle East

View Magazine Archive