April 20, 2024

Ai and Machine Learning Could Pose a Significant Threat in 2023: Acronis

Ziad Nasr

Last Updated on November 13, 2023 by newseditor

Tech News ME caught up with Acronis during GISEC, 14 to 16 March 2023. In the interview, Acronis’ representatives elaborated on the potential risks posed by AI and machine learning, stating that the technology could be used to automate and accelerate cyber attacks. They also noted that AI and machine learning could be used to deceive and manipulate users, such as by creating convincing deepfake videos or impersonating trusted individuals. In addition, the representatives discussed the need for organizations to implement robust security measures, including multi-factor authentication and encryption, to protect their data from these emerging threats. They emphasized that cybersecurity should be a top priority for businesses and governments alike, and called for greater collaboration and information sharing to combat the evolving threat landscape.

In an exclusive interview with TechNewsME, Ziad Nasr, General Manager (Middle East) at Acronis shares his insights into the rapidly evolving world of AI and machine learning, and the potential risks it poses to society in the near future. Drawing on his wealth of experience in the tech industry, Ziad offers a unique perspective on how AI and machine learning could impact the region in the coming years.

Overall, Acronis’ warning about the potential threat of AI and machine learning underscores the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital landscape. As these technologies continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, it is essential for organizations to stay vigilant and invest in robust security measures to protect their data and networks from cyber-attacks.

Here is the full interview with Ziad Nasr, General Manager (Middle East) at Acronis:

What are you presenting at GISEC this year?

During this year’s GISEC event, we presented our new-to-market cyber protection solutions designed to deliver integrated, automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security challenges of the modern digital world. In addition to our current, tried-and-tested offerings, which include AI-enhanced anti-malware, signature-based AV, automated vulnerability scanning and patch management, advanced email security, DLP, backup, and disaster recovery – all of which are managed from a single platform with a single endpoint agent, we also introduced our EDR solution in 2023. Our goal for this year’s participation was to further educate individuals on the importance of safeguarding their data and planning for disaster recovery. We also addressed the security threat landscape by highlighting potential cyber risks and offering solutions to mitigate them.

What are the current cyber protection threats and challenges facing the Middle East, and how are they evolving?

Looking ahead to 2023, customers will face the significant challenge of striking a balance between expanding their business and navigating economic uncertainty. This will involve making decisions on how much investment to risk, given the uncertain return. The complexity of managing multiple vendors and software licenses involved in their infrastructure has also emerged as a significant challenge for many businesses. In addition, the crowded tech market is making it increasingly difficult to acquire and retain IT talent.

The issue of the cyber skills gap remains a crucial topic in boardrooms globally. Furthermore, companies will have to contend with the persistent threat of ransomware attacks, which are expected to increase in 2023. Our latest Cyber Threats Report highlights that ransomware continues to be the top threat to businesses of all sizes, and the average cost of a data breach is predicted to reach $5 million in 2023. While businesses may believe that only larger organizations are targeted, every company or individual with a digital footprint is at risk. Investing in cybersecurity measures early can help save a company millions of dollars in lost revenue and operational expenses, while also safeguarding its reputation and customer trust.

How do the cyber protection threats and challenges in the Middle East compare to those in other regions of the world, and what unique factors contribute to them?

In 2023, the Middle East is anticipated to experience several trends concerning cyber threats and malware. Cybercriminals are expected to employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to conduct more advanced attacks. There is also expected to be a surge in supply chain attacks and a greater emphasis on securing critical infrastructure, including transportation systems and power grids. The region is expected to place more emphasis on cybersecurity due to government initiatives aimed at enhancing digital transformation and safeguarding national infrastructure. This is likely to lead to greater investment in cybersecurity technologies and personnel, as well as increased collaboration between government and private sector entities.

How is the penetration and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacting cyber protection in the Middle East, and what opportunities and challenges does this innovation present?

Our experts have cautioned that the use of AI and machine learning (ML) technologies could pose a significant threat to unprotected digital ecosystems, as cybercriminals are likely to leverage these tools to increase the efficacy of their attacks by creating harder-to-detect assaults. This could include the development of malware or phishing emails, lowering the entry barriers to the cybercrime space and resulting in a higher frequency of attacks. Cybercriminals can leverage new AI tools like ChatGPT to enhance their attacks, such as by creating phishing emails with no apparent grammatical or spelling errors. To keep pace, businesses will need to implement more tightly integrated defenses, leverage AI and automation-enabled tools, implement a robust data protection strategy, and provide ongoing security awareness training for all employees, including executives who are frequently targeted by phishing attempts due to their elevated privileges.

What are the implications of the growing popularity of AI for the development of cyber protection technologies and strategies in the Middle East, and how can they be leveraged to enhance IT infrastructure security?

As cybercriminals employ increasingly sophisticated methods and tools to ensure the efficacy of their attacks, the Middle East’s growing interest in AI presents a promising opportunity to enhance IT infrastructure security. By enabling real-time detection and mitigation of cyber threats, AI has the potential to improve the efficiency of cyber protection technologies and strategies. To benefit from AI’s potential, regional organisations must implement AI-powered security solutions such as AI-enhanced anti-malware, signature-based AV, automated vulnerability scanning and patch management, and advanced email security that can continually learn and swiftly respond to emerging cyber threats. To achieve this, it is critical to develop trustworthy AI models capable of analyzing vast amounts of data, identifying emerging patterns and inconsistencies, and delivering precise predictions.

What can we look forward to from Acronis in 2023?

Acronis is dedicated to helping our partners succeed by providing them with an array of new product launches such as enhanced EDR capabilities, solutions for Data Loss Prevention, and ransomware protection, as well as other advancements. We are constantly investing in expanding the functionality of our solutions to make it easier for our partners to deliver secure and rapid cyber protection services to their customers. Our partner portal is being updated with additional resources, including training, content, marketing, and sales materials to help our partners grow their businesses and meet their customers’ needs.

We have made it easier for partners to join the Acronis #CyberFit partner program, and we have expanded the benefits to zero-commit service providers. We have also created unique programs for various partner types, including the Sales Development Funds (SDF) program, which provides joint marketing investment from Acronis to MSPs committed to faster growth. Additionally, we have updated the #TeamUp program to enable more partners to collaborate with their favorite sports clubs.

Lastly, we are committed to acquiring and retaining the best cybersecurity and IT talent to ensure the quality of our services and products.

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