IT Security AI

Cyber security: AI in vogue – new challenges and strategies for your IT security in 2024

In 2024, companies will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to cyber security: even more complex and sophisticated threats will need to be managed. Increasing digitalisation is intensifying these risks. Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important in order to recognise threats early and efficiently, which requires an agile and technologically advanced IT security strategy. In addition, new subsidies and regulations for the coming year are important factors that will help companies to adapt and evolve in this fast-moving environment.

 

5 cyber trends for 2024

The latest report from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) states that the threat level in cyberspace has never been higher. The situation is not expected to ease in 2024: technological developments and emerging trends will define the future of the IT landscape. The core trends that companies and IT experts will have to deal with include:

1. Increased focus on IoT security

The growing number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices is expanding the attack surface for cyber attacks. In 2024, an increased focus on the security of these devices is expected in order to minimize vulnerabilities in networked systems.

2. Expansion of zero-trust architectures

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) offers improved security and flexibility over traditional VPNs as it is based on the "Zero Trust" principle, which checks every access attempt and only grants specific access to applications instead of the entire network. These features make ZTNA particularly suitable for modern, cloud-based working environments and reduce the risk of security breaches. In the future, ZTNA will therefore replace the VPN.

3. Increase in ransomware/phishing attacks

Despite advanced security measures, ransomware and phishing remain a constant threat. Cyber criminals are constantly refining their methods, forcing companies to continuously improve their defences and train employees on these threats on an ongoing basis.

4. Quantum computing and cryptography

The ongoing development of quantum computing is creating new challenges for cryptography. Quantum computers have the potential to break through conventional encryption methods, which requires the development of new quantum-safe encryption technologies.

5. Cyber security AI

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in cyber defence is becoming increasingly important. AI systems can analyse large amounts of data to detect anomalies and respond to threats in real time. This enables a more proactive and efficient defence against cyber attacks.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that focuses on developing computer programmes that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. This includes activities such as learning, reasoning, problem solving, perception and language comprehension. AI systems can analyse structured and unstructured data, recognise patterns and make decisions based on this information.

The role of AI in cyber security

AI is increasingly being used in cyber security to deal with growing and ever-changing threats that are becoming more and more sophisticated.

How is AI used in cyber security?

  • Detection and defence against threats: AI systems can analyse large amounts of data from network traffic and other sources in real time to identify unusual activity or anomalies that could indicate security breaches or attacks. Through machine learning (a subset of AI), these systems can continuously learn and adapt to new types of threats.
  • Automation of security processes: By automating security processes with the help of Cyber Security AI, recurring and time-consuming cyber security tasks can be automated. This includes, for example, filtering false positives or carrying out regular checks. Such automation increases efficiency and enables security teams to focus more on more demanding tasks.
  • Phishing detection: AI algorithms can be used to identify phishing attempts in emails and on websites by analysing text patterns, images and other characteristics that are typical of such attacks.
  • Behaviour analysis and anomaly detection: AI can monitor and analyse user behaviour to detect deviations from normal behaviour that could indicate account compromise or insider threats.
  • Improvement of the incident response: In the event of a security incident, AI can help to quickly identify the cause, assess the scope of the incident and make recommendations for further action.

The integration of cyber security and AI into a company's security strategy enables a much faster and more effective response to threats from cyber attacks. However, it is important to note that AI systems also have limitations and cannot solve all security problems on their own. They should be considered as part of a comprehensive security approach that also includes other elements such as strong security policies, employee training and a maintained and up-to-date IT infrastructure.

Cyber security: AI as a curse or a blessing?

AI not only plays a role in cyber security, criminals are also increasingly utilising the power of artificial intelligence for their own purposes. The use of AI has both advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of AI

  • Advanced threat detection and response capability: AI can process and analyse large amounts of data faster than humans. As a result, complex and hidden cyber threats can be recognised more efficiently. AI systems can also identify patterns and anomalies that indicate new or evolving threats.
  • Automation and increased efficiency: AI can automate routine and repetitive security tasks, such as monitoring network traffic or sorting false alarms. This frees up security teams and allows them to focus on more complex tasks.
  • Adaptability and continuous learning: AI systems, especially those based on machine learning, can learn from previous cyber attacks and adapt their algorithms accordingly. This enables them to continuously improve their ability to recognise new and changing threats.

Disadvantages of AI

  • False alarms and accuracy problems: AI systems are not perfect and can lead to false positives if they incorrectly identify normal activities as threats. This can lead to unnecessary workload and distractions.
  • Dependence on data quality and quantity: The effectiveness of AI depends heavily on the quality and quantity of available data. Inaccurate, distorted or incomplete data can lead to incorrect conclusions or overlooked threats.
  • Complexity and resource expenditure: The implementation and maintenance of AI systems can be complex and require specialised knowledge and resources. In addition, the constant adaptation and updating of AI models can be resource-intensive.

To summarise, it is important to recognise that the use of cyber security AI can be considered neither a pure curse nor an absolute blessing. Rather, it is a multifaceted technology that brings both significant benefits and certain challenges. In today's increasingly digitalised world, where cyber threats are becoming more complex and diverse, the integration of AI into security strategies has become essential. It offers advanced threat detection and defence capabilities that go far beyond what traditional manual approaches can achieve. At the same time, however, you need to be aware of the potential pitfalls that come with the use of AI. Ultimately, you need to find a balanced way to utilise the benefits of AI while keeping an eye on and managing its weaknesses so that you can succeed in the ever-changing world of cyber security.

2024 in focus: guidelines and subsidies

In view of the increasing cyber security threats, the European Union is tightening its regulatory framework. A key item on the agenda for 2024 is the implementation of the NIS2 directive into the respective national laws of the member states. This process is important not only because of the increased security requirements, but also because it is flanked by specific funding programmes. These aim to provide companies with financial support so that they can optimise their security strategies in accordance with the new legal requirements.

NIS2

What is the NIS2 and what are its goals?

NIS2 is the revision of the original which was first adopted by the European Union in 2016. The main objectives of NIS2 include strengthening security requirements, improving cooperation between member states and raising awareness of cyber risks. By expanding the scope of application, more companies and critical sectors are to be included, thus ensuring universal and more standardised protection against cyber threats in the EU.

Who is affected by NIS2?

The NIS2 Directive is relevant for a wider range of organisations than its predecessor. It applies not only to critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, healthcare and financial services, but also to important digital services such as cloud computing services, social networks and online marketplaces. In addition, NIS2 also extends to public administrations and other sectors that are considered essential to the maintenance of important societal or economic activities due to their size or influence. This extension of the directive encourages a wide range of organisations to step up their cyber security measures and prepare themselves against both current and future cyber threats.

DORA

DORA, the Digital Operational Resilience Act, is a new regulation of the European Union. This regulation only affects the financial sector and will come into force in January 2025. The aim of DORA is to protect the European financial market from cyber risks and IT incidents.

 

Promotion Go Digital

The "go digital" funding programme is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK). It was developed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and craft businesses in Germany with digitalisation. The programme offers financial support and expert advice in three areas:

  • Digital business processes
  • IT security
  • Digital market development

The funding programme has been extended by the BMWK until the end of 2024, until then you can submit your applications.

Secure future technologies in a hyper-connected world: AI

There is currently a call for proposals for funding on the topic of AI. This is of interest to companies that are already working with AI. SMEs can also take part in this programme.

The main objective of this funding programme is to promote research, expertise and value creation in the field of IT security in Germany in the long term and to achieve progress in the safe application of AI technologies.

How can you guarantee your cyber security in 2024?

Professional IT security management with MSSP

A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is a specialised service provider that offers companies a wide range of cyber security services and solutions to prevent, detect and respond to digital threats. In addition to their specialist expertise, MSSPs have a number of other advantages:

  • Comprehensive security monitoring: MSSPs continuously monitor your network security to detect signs of suspicious activity or breaches. They utilise advanced tools and techniques to proactively identify and combat security threats.
  • Updated security measures: MSSPs keep their security systems up to date to protect against the latest threats. This is essential these days as the world of cyber threats is constantly evolving.
  • Adaptability: MSSPs offer customised security solutions that are tailored to your company. Even if the size of your company changes and you need "more demand" at short notice, MSSPs can adapt flexibly.
  • Compliance support: MSSPs help you to fulfil your industry-specific security standards and compliance requirements - be it in the form of regular audits or through continuous evaluation of security measures.

Regular software updates

Make sure all your systems and software are up to date. Regular software updates are crucial to close potential security gaps that could be exploited by cyber criminals.

Train and sensitise employees

Training and sensitising your employees is another important point to ensure the cyber security of your company in 2024. Your employees should be aware of current cyber threats and be able to recognise suspicious activity. A well-informed team can help to identify and minimise potential security risks at an early stage, which significantly strengthens the overall security of your company.

Info:

Even the best security system is useless if employees do not have the right awareness and appropriate skills for handling sensitive company data. This is where MSSPs come in, offering cyber awareness training for employees. In these training courses, employees learn how to protect themselves from cyber threats, how to recognise phishing emails, use secure password practices and generally help to increase the company's digital security.

Data management

Data management is playing an increasingly central role in cyber security, especially with regard to compliance with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This regulation lays down strict rules for the collection, storage and processing of personal data, and breaches of these rules can result in significant financial penalties. In the future, the room for error in this area will become even narrower as the authorities pay more attention to compliance with the GDPR. Comprehensive data management is not only an important protection against legal consequences, but also a significant contribution to strengthening cyber security.

MFA

Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a crucial step in increasing cyber security in your organisation. MFA requires users to use more than just a password for authentication, making access to systems and data much more secure. This makes it more difficult for attackers to access your account or data, even if they know your password.

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