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Un chief warns of perils of ’weaponising digital technologies’ and malicious activity in cyberspace - Netscout CTO comments

June 2024 by Darren Anstee, chief technology officer for security at NETSCOUT

At the United Nations conference yesterday, Secretary-General António Guterres raised alarms about the growing risk of weaponising digital technologies*. He said that activities by both state and non-state actors in cyberspace are on the rise, with sophisticated tools, particularly those driven by artificial intelligence (AI), being used to carry out cyberattacks.

The UN chief also noted that cybersecurity breaches have become "disturbingly common", affecting all sectors including health, banking and telecommunications services. He also warned of "relentless illicit activity" from criminal groups and so-called "cyber-mercenaries" as significant threats to global peace, security, and stability.

Darren Anstee, chief technology officer for security at NETSCOUT, offered insights into the impact of cybercrime globally, with advice on how organisations can protect themselves:

"The UN’s concerns about the growth of weaponised digital technologies, such as AI, align with what we have observed. The rise in use of AI is allowing bad actors to more easily generate more customised attacks – allowing them to scale their operations and increase their odds of success. Social engineering, where generative AI can be used to create realistic-looking emails and documents that are very difficult to distinguish from the genuine article, is one example of this. We expect the use of AI to continue to grow as tools become both more generally available and easier to use.

"Given the above, organisations must ensure they have both broad and deep visibility into north-south and east-west traffic within their infrastructures. Visibility enables organisations to properly identify and assess threats against their business assets – and – gives them the power to more quickly investigate and remediate any problems."


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