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Security professionals believe attackers will use AI to unleash a global cyber incident

By Shannon Williams, 24 Jun 2021

Security professionals believe that attackers will use artificial intelligence to unleash a global cyber incident in the next 12 months, according to a new report from Deep Instinct.

The Voice of SecOps Report marks the first annual report to highlight current and emerging threats, the impact these have on the day-to-day lives of SecOps professionals, and how automation will play a significant role moving forward. 

The survey of 600 IT and cybersecurity professionals found that more than half of respondents noted ransomware or zero-day attacks as the biggest threats to their organisation.   

From the Irish Health service attack to the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, ransomware has cemented its status as a global concern. According to 64% of respondents, this is because humans are unable to keep up with the exponential cadence of cybersecurity threats. This reality is compounded by the fact that respondents state they spend about 10 hours a week assessing false positive alerts, and 69% of respondents agreed that low staff morale could result from alert fatigue due to the overwhelming volume of false positives. And 80% of respondents say time not absorbed there is spent addressing time-consuming security patches and updates to ensure solutions remain effective.

“Recent major events have placed a heightened priority on security, but these threats have long deserved the attention they’re just now getting on a global level," says Guy Caspi, chief executive at Deep Instinct. 

"As we work to implement a stronger layer of defense, it will be just as important to protect the hard-working employees that sit in the SOC as it is to secure the business,” he says. 

"The results of this report shed light on the exhausting challenges that today’s security operations teams face on a daily basis. Recognising the need for a new approach, we set out to provide the relief that teams desperately need.”  

Through the lens of SecOps teams on the front lines, this report explores strategic threats, overarching priorities and day-to-day challenges that often go unheard. To that end, other key findings from respondents reveal a deep-seated concern about the dangers posed by AI falling into the hands of malicious adversaries and the majority believe that paying ransom demands should be made illegal: 

  • 78 percent of respondents are concerned that cyber adversaries will develop and deploy AI to cause a global cyber incident in the next 12 months
  • 66 percent believe that paying the ransom should be made illegal
  • 63 percent believe that the level of disruptive innovation in cybersecurity has increased
  • Just 38 percent would definitely repurchase their existing end point detection and response solution

Organisations across industries are in need of reliable, automated, and timely protection that prevents damage from being done, and saves organisations valuable time and money. According to 86% of respondents, the tools driven by data science (AI/Machine Learning/Deep Learning) will make a significant impact in preventing unknown threats and reducing false positives. Taking it a step further, nearly 3/4 of respondents agree that automation of cybersecurity is the only way their company can address cyber threats.

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