The future of Cybersecurity according to Cisco: how it changes with AI and machine learning

During the presentation “The future of Cybersecurity“, which took place yesterday in Milan, Cisco wanted to highlight several key aspects that have to do with upcoming developments on the IT security front. In reality, as the company managers have underlined, the change is already underway if we think about the growing role ofartificial intelligence in all fields, as well as in the cybersecurity sector. Hand in glove with the AI ​​theme is that of privacy. Ciscofor its part, is committed to educating companies, professionals and individual users on the correct management of data and on the importance of scrupulously complying with the provisions on privacy and protection of personal data.

Users are increasingly concerned about privacy-related aspects

The investigation Cisco 2023 Consumer Privacy Survey has clearly highlighted a trend that has been strengthening in recent times. 87% of users are aware of the problems related to privacy and 46% of them, worldwide, have already abandoned the services of some companies, to prefer others, precisely on the basis of privacy policies applied by each organization. The percentage in Europe is a little lower (32%) but still significant.

The number of people is also growing significantly users exercising rights granted to them by privacy regulations (for example deletion and modification of data stored by various subjects): from 24% in 2022, it went to 28% in 2023.

In general, the privacy rules they are perceived as a positive tool that impacts in a constructive way on people’s lives and on the confidentiality and integrity of their data.

Artificial intelligence: cross and delight

Cisco highlights the growing role of artificial intelligence in business workflows and explains how it uses it in its products to protect corporate security and data stored on systems. On the other hand, AI-powered applications give back important challenges in terms of transparency, fairness, responsibility, privacy and security.

In our country, 42% of those interviewed believe that artificial intelligence solutions can have a positive impact; furthermore, 61% are oriented towards share personal data in anonymized form to contribute to the improvement of generative models and their continuous training. 53% of people, however, look with great skepticism to the use of artificial intelligence in the field working.

Building trust in AI solutions

According to the findings of the report published by Cisco, companies can take a series of actions to build trust around the modern and most advanced artificial intelligence solutions:

  • Application audits: 72% of consumers say they would be more comfortable with the use of AI if organizations subjected applications to audits, i.e. useful checks to identify and correct any preconceptions or discrimination capable of lowering or invalidating the quality of the results produced by the generative models.
  • Explanation of how AI works: 75% of consumers would like greater transparency. They would like organizations to explain how AI-based applications work and, more importantly, how they are integrated into decision-making processes.
  • Involvement of a human being in the decision-making process: 78% of consumers believe it is important for human involvement in the decision-making process conducted by AI solutions. This means that decisions made by AI should be supervised or confirmed by humans.
  • Implementation of an ethics program: 78% of consumers say that it would be desirable to establish specific programs to comply with stringent ethical standards in the use of AI. Organizations should also adopt “ad hoc” policies to ensure responsible and morally acceptable use of artificial intelligence.

Cisco and the challenges of artificial intelligence in the IT sector

In recent years, artificial intelligence and the machine learning have revolutionized the IT and data industry, introducing a variety of challenges and opportunities. Cisco explains how it is addressing these challenges by adopting new tools responsibly to ensure the security and transparency of its products and services.

One of the main obstacles in the adoption of AI, is the lack of transparency in the decision-making processes of algorithms. Patterns can be complex and difficult to interpret. Furthermore, who is responsible in case of incorrect decisions or harm caused by AI-based algorithms?

Furthermore, as we have seen in other articles, they are lurking there legal issues and related to licenses, especially when personal data is involved; there is the theme of regulation, taken over by government authorities around the world; the risks of violation of classification standards of company data.

Any attackers can also exploit the vulnerabilities of AI systems for malicious purposes, use social engineering techniques to manipulate algorithms, use AI systems to generate phishing attacks increasingly effective, to generate code useful for spreading malware or violating other people’s systems and networks, poisoning artificial intelligence, making training procedures useless and much more.

Cisco’s approach to using AI models

Starting from principles of transparency, fairness, responsibility, privacy, security and reliability (“Security by Design“, “Privacy by Design” e “Human Rights by Design“), Cisco has integrated artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions into its products and services, especially in the field of IT security. Some of the key points include:

  • Natural language analysis for spam and phishing email detection: Cisco uses AI to identify and block fraudulent emails and potential threats.
  • Statistical modeling based on global intelligence: The Cisco Talos team uses machine learning models to analyze millions of events in real time, automatically detecting malware, ransomware, and other threats.
  • Multi-layer analysis of network traffic: Cisco uses machine learning to analyze network traffic without the need to decode the contents of encrypted packets (think of the various application layer protocols that use data encryption…).
  • Risk-based vulnerability management: Cisco employs neural networks and exploit prevention to effectively manage vulnerabilities and improve security.

Cisco recognizes the importance of a dual approach to the problem of IT security: as also emerged in yesterday’s meeting, theartificial intelligence cannot act autonomously in response to any type of event. The detection of dangerous or potentially dangerous situations can take full advantage of the use of AI algorithms but cannot ignore a verification by real IT administrators.

In other words, AI is the all-seeing eye in defense of the company infrastructure but human contribution, with careful analysis and verification, is often (not always) necessary.

The importance of cybersecurity training

Cisco emphasizes the importance of training and of skills on the cybersecurity side. The program Cisco Networking Academy and initiative Cyber Secure City aim to provide individuals with the skills necessary to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Cybersecurity Scholarship will allow 1,000 people between the ages of 16 and 45 to train as IT security experts, one of the most sought-after professional figures by large and small companies. The scholarships – made available by Cisco not surprisingly in October, on the occasion of International Cybersecurity Month – allow you to follow the course for free Cybersecurity Career Path as part of a study activity that lasts 6 months, from December 2023 to June 2024. Online lessons, webinars with sector professionals and final workshops will be offered by Cisco Academy partners from all over Europe.

Participants will also have access to the community of Networking Academywith all its opportunities, and will be able to come into contact with companies operating in the digital sector.

To apply, you must have attended the introductory course by 27 November 2023.Intro to Cybersecurity” and send the registration form. All information is available on the Cisco Digital School website.

The opening image is taken from the Cisco newsroom.


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