Cisco reimagines cybersecurity at RSAC 2024 with AI and kernel-level visibility

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Attacking organizations’ endpoints, infrastructure and menace surfaces with current cyber protection techniques can’t all the time establish or cease what the world’s most deadly attackers attempt for. From cybercrime gangs using AI and machine studying (ML) specialists to nation-state adversaries who recruit one of the best and brightest from their universities to affix within the world cyber combat, at the moment’s organizations want to only as aggressively pursue resilience.  

Resilient networks are actually a board of director-level precedence, in keeping with a number of CISOs VentureBeat spoke with at RSAC 2024 who requested anonymity. Boards need proof of progress on threat administration targets. A noteworthy takeaway from RSAC 2024’s CISO discussions is their want for higher efficacy infrastructure-wide and extra visibility to the container and kernel degree. 

“There’s overconfidence within the skill to deal with cyber-attacks, with 80% of firms feeling assured of their readiness, however solely 3% are really ready. The draw back results of not being resilient are tragic. We should shift to creating a primary technology of one thing fully new,” Jeetu Patel, govt vice chairman and basic supervisor of Safety and Collaboration for Cisco, advised VentureBeat citing findings from the 2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index.   

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VentureBeat’s conversations with CISOs throughout RSAC help Patel’s level. Their high considerations are enhancing the resilience of their cloud infrastructure, securing software program provide chains, enhancing software program invoice of supplies (SBOM) compliance and securing the myriad of connections with companions and suppliers in opposition to attackers’ relentless stream of recent tradecraft.  

Redefining cybersecurity for an adversarial AI world 

“What we now have to do is ensure that we use AI natively for defenses since you can’t exit and combat these AI weaponization assaults from adversaries at a human scale. You need to do it at machine scale,” Patel defined.

Patel elaborated on the numerous challenges dealing with organizations in turning into extra resilient in opposition to sooner, extra subtle cyberattacks. Cisco sees the challenges of preserving infrastructure present, staying present on patch administration, and containing breach makes an attempt with robust segmentation as tough challenges all organizations are dealing with at the moment. Letting them go too lengthy creates weak menace surfaces that attackers will inevitably discover and exploit.  

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Most organizations procrastinate about patching and solely double down their efforts after a breach. Ivanti’s current cybersecurity standing report discovered that patches that affect mission-critical techniques are assigned the best urgency 61% of the time. Nearly all of IT and safety professionals, 71%, see patching as overly advanced and time-consuming. As well as, 57% of those self same professionals say distant work and decentralized workspaces make patch administration much more of a problem, with 62% admitting that patch administration takes a backseat to different duties. 

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Segmentation is thought to be one of the vital difficult facets of pursuing a zero-trust safety framework regardless of its innate skill to restrict attackers from shifting laterally via infrastructure. There’s additionally the problem of updating the infrastructure itself, together with firewalls and community gear, which is usually sluggish as a result of restricted change management home windows. With no extra automated strategy to preserving infrastructure present, important techniques change into outdated and weak.

Why Cisco says cybersecurity wants to vary 

Defending in opposition to adversarial AI-based assaults and the torrent of recent tradecraft attackers are creating requires a brand new strategy to cybersecurity. Cisco’s Patel and Tom Gillis, senior vice chairman and basic supervisor of Cisco Safety, advised VentureBeat. Cybersecurity must take full benefit of native AI, kernel-level visibility, and {hardware} acceleration, resulting in extra resilient, self-upgrading safety techniques. 

Patel and Gillis expanded on that imaginative and prescient and defined why now could be the time to reimagine cybersecurity of their co-presented keynote, The Time Is Now: Redefining Safety Within the Age of AI. Cisco is doubling down on native AI because the core of its go-forward cybersecurity technique. It begins with the just lately launched HyperShield, their new hyper-distributed framework that acts as an enterprise-wide safety cloth. 

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“It’s extraordinarily laborious to exit and do one thing if AI is considered as a bolt-on; it’s a must to give it some thought. The operative phrase over right here is AI getting used natively in your core infrastructure,” emphasised Patel in the course of the keynote. 

Gillis advised VentureBeat that he’s seeing the necessity of their clients for cybersecurity to be reimagined to help extra contextually clever, autonomous segmentation, automated patch administration and a extra environment friendly, safe approach of preserving infrastructure present.

“We’re speaking about infrastructure that upgrades itself. HyperShield can apply compensating controls, protect recognized vulnerabilities, after which take away these controls as soon as patched, offering lifecycle administration,” Gillis mentioned. “This isn’t simply ensuring that we construct the following model of one thing that already exists. It’s constructing the primary model of one thing fully new. And what that’s is a totally reimagined structure for hyper-distributed safety,” added Patel. 

Three technological shifts are altering cybersecurity 

“There are three key technological shifts which are occurring, that are going to basically change how we clear up these issues. The primary is AI, the second is kernel-level visibility, and the third is {hardware} acceleration,” Patel mentioned. Patel says these three technological shifts kind the inspiration of Cisco’s new technology of cybersecurity hyper-distributed frameworks, beginning with HyperShield.   

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Patel and Gillis defined the technological shifts and their implications on why and the way cybersecurity must be reimagined. Here’s a abstract of every of the shifts: 

Artificial Intelligence (AI). Gillis and Patel predict AI will result in stepwise positive aspects in safety operations heart (SOC) accuracy and efficiency, which is why having native AI is integral to any cybersecurity platform’s success. “These AI instruments are outstanding in what they will do for safety. Not a small increment however a leap ahead in effectivity. We’ll all the time construct them in a fashion that they earn the belief of the person. All of them have a form of semi-automatic mode the place they’ll current the person with ‘I’m about to make this determination, and right here’s my reasoning why,’” Gillis advised VentureBeat. 

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Kernel-level Visibility. “You’ll be able to’t shield what you don’t have visibility in opposition to. That’s why I feel prolonged Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) goes to be a really crucial know-how, which lets you exit and look within the coronary heart of the server and the working system and see what’s occurring with out truly being contained in the working system,” Patel advised VentureBeat. 

Gillis added, “eBPF offers us the flexibility to look into the appliance and, perceive its interior workings after which know if it has modified. Was the app up to date? Is that this a brand new model? Did one thing change in order that we all know, ‘Hey, ease up on these restrictions,’ after which tighten them up once more. The deeper our understanding of the appliance, the extra we are able to say with confidence if these guidelines are correct or not.”​
{Hardware} Acceleration. Gillis and Patel see the fast positive aspects in graphics processing items (GPUs) and information processing items (DPU) as a catalyst that may proceed to drive the reimagining and redefinition of cybersecurity. “We talked about {hardware} acceleration with GPUs. Assume additionally about DPUs… you possibly can have a large acceleration of throughput for safety operations and I/O operations… connection administration and encryption that may be accomplished a thousand occasions sooner than what you would do earlier than”, Patel mentioned. He continued, “With {hardware} acceleration, issues like DPUs—that are specialised subsystems for computation for I/O operations and repetitive community capabilities like connection administration or encryption—permit us to offer an surroundings that may be a thousand occasions extra performant than conventional means.”

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