April’s Cybersecurity Recap: More AI, More IoT and a Push for More Privacy

May 2, 2018
| |
3 min read

April was another eventful month in the cybersecurity world. The 2018 RSA Conference brought together thousands of security professionals from around the world, and network defense got a boost with new machine intelligence offerings. Meanwhile, C-suites struggled to see cyber risk as more than just an IT issue, and new survey data showcased the increasing gap between consumer trust and corporate data privacy policy.

Let’s break down the big hitters in this month’s cybersecurity recap.

New Trends Take the Spotlight at RSAC 2018

Much of April’s cybersecurity news took place at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. Some of the biggest takeaways from this year’s event included heated debates about the future of blockchain, preparing for emerging threats and the importance of collaboration in security.

Of course, no security meetup these days would be complete without a discussion of Internet of Things (IoT) security. Sessions such as “Eleventh Hour IoT Security,” featuring IBM X-Force Red team members Steve Ocepek and Krissy Safi, examined how to understand the specific challenges around IoT security and “get a handle on this brave new world of embedded devices and new protocols.”

Read the complete Security Intelligence coverage of RSAC 2018

Man and Machine

Artificial intelligence (AI) was also on display at RSAC 2018, where a movement toward “an AI-powered, data-centric model” of cybersecurity was highlighted. This collaboration between man and machine will ultimately impact every industry, and an emerging technology shift should help speed up the process.

As IBM announced at RSAC, the IBM Resilient Incident Reponse Platform (IRP) with Intelligent Organization “dramatically accelerates and sharpens incident response by seamlessly combining incident case management, orchestration, automation, intelligence and deep two-way partner integrations into a single platform,” according to IBM Security General Manager Marc van Zadelhoff. In addition, new IBM X-Force Threat Management services leverage multiple AI engines to query current security incidents against 600,000 historical use cases to help automate threat response.

Not My Problem?

Eighty percent of U.S. executives recognize cybersecurity as a “significant challenge” for their business. But as noted by Chris Esemplare, global vice president and general manager of IBM Security Services, 6 in 10 boards believe that while cybersecurity risk is real, it is an “IT problem.”

The problem with this “not my problem” attitude is that, as IT has become fundamental to business functioning and a key driver of return on investment (ROI), attacks against IT infrastructure can potentially cripple operations.

Still not convinced? Consider the following:

  • Cybercriminals are organized, coordinated and willing to share tools.
  • Attack exposure is growing daily thanks to cloud services and connected devices.
  • Malicious actors don’t always have to do the heavy lifting — inadvertent insiders may unknowingly expose networks to attack risks.
  • The cybersecurity skills gap is getting bigger, meaning more work for fewer available employees who are being actively recruited by the competition.

Cybersecurity risk is business risk. Combating the problem means developing a plan, aiming for robust rather than perfect, and cultivating a culture of top-down cyber risk responsibility.

Consumers Expect Increased Security and Privacy

Last up on the April cybersecurity recap is data privacy. As noted by a recent Harris Poll and IBM survey, public perception of data privacy isn’t stellar: Just 20 percent of U.S. consumers say they “completely trust” organizations to keep their data private. In addition, 73 percent of those surveyed said businesses focus on profits over the need to protect consumer privacy rights.

Consumer attitudes are changing along with their view of data security. For example, 75 percent of survey participants said they would not buy products from a company if data privacy was an issue. What’s more, 67 percent said companies should cover the cost of any third-party data protection after a breach, and 7 in 10 thought governments should take a more active role in data protection “given that businesses have not been able to do enough.”

What does this mean for data-driven organizations? Consumer privacy is no longer a luxury. Without trust, customers won’t risk handing over payment, personal or potentially compromising data.

April was a busy month for cybersecurity: AI enjoyed a speed boost, C-suites demonstrated a flawed perspective and data privacy took center stage among consumers. Read more of the top stories here.

Douglas Bonderud
Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and innovation. In addition to working for...
read more