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Emirates companies turn to AI in pursuit of cybersecurity 

AI can help companies foil cyberattacks, but can also be useful to criminals seeking more sophisticated methods Pexels/Mikhail Nilov
AI can help companies foil cyberattacks, but can also be useful to criminals seeking more sophisticated methods
  • 50,000 cyberattacks a day
  • Using AI can address skills gap
  • Criminals can also make use of AI

More than 90 percent of UAE organisations plan to increase investment in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to strengthen their cybersecurity strategies, according to a study conducted by a UK-based market research consultant Censuswide and commissioned by Palo Alto Networks.

UAE companies can make use of AI in their cybersecurity strategies by using it to analyse previous cyberattacks.

The UAE, on a daily basis, is forced to deter 50,000 cyberattacks – “and the number is only increasing,” Dr Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, the government of the UAE’s head of cyber security, said in a statement.

AI has emerged as a powerful tool in cybersecurity, offering benefits such as early threat detection, phishing attack prevention and offensive cybersecurity applications.

It is also seen as a potential solution to the industry’s pressing issue of the cybersecurity skills gap by lightening the workload of existing security teams.

The global market for AI in cybersecurity is projected to expand from $15.25 billion in 2022 to $96.81 billion by 2032, with a compound annual growth rate of around 20 percent, according to Indian research consulting firm Spherical Insights.

Revolutionising threat detection

By analysing past attacks and vulnerabilities, AI can predict potential threats and vulnerabilities, equipping organisations to bolster their defences in advance. 

Furthermore, AI can simulate cyberattacks in a controlled environment, exposing vulnerabilities that organisations can then patch before cybercriminals can exploit them. This pre-emptive approach reduces the likelihood of successful cyberattacks.

For instance, in the UAE, multinational conglomerate Landmark Group implemented US networking company Extreme Networks’ AI-based solution to enhance network visibility and make it easier to track device activity. 

The solution’s predictive abilities help to identify anomalies and potential threats, ultimately improving network security.

“Predicting the tech landscape can be challenging, but AI appears here to stay, poised to reshape jobs, operations and customer interactions,” said Maan Al-Shakarchi, regional director at Extreme Networks.

AI-powered cyberattacks

However, the same technology that enhances security can also be weaponised by cybercriminals.

AI-powered attacks can be targeted, making them even more dangerous. Cybercriminals have leveraged AI technologies, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, to generate phishing emails and malware. 

American-Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies uncovered cases where bad actors offered services using OpenAI’s software to create malicious content for a fee.

Such situations have prompted discussions on AI governance. 

At the recently concluded Dubai Assembly for Generative AI, Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE minister of state for artificial intelligence, digital economy and remote work applications, said, “The current global discussion on AI governance is a non-starter. You cannot govern AI. Instead of attempting to govern the technology, we can govern the use cases.

“While the governments and societies must openly address concerns around AI, fear should not dominate the discussion.”