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Security and AI: meteors coming at the business world

By JON TULLETT, research manager for IT Services at IDC South Africa

The illicit proceeds of global cybercrime had reached $US1.5 trillion annually according to a 2018 study. Norton Security estimates that by 2023, a total of 33 billion records would be stolen each year. Internet of Things (IoT) attacks increased by 600% and Microsoft cloud user accounts saw a 300% increase in cyber-attacks, over the past year. It is, therefore, little wonder that worldwide spend on security-related hardware, software, and services are forecast, by IDC, to reach $US103.1 billion in 2019. There is a need for a new security paradigm that makes greater use of emergent technologies and is more agile and effective than in the past.

The security challenges and requirements for business 2.0 require far greater use of analytics and machine learning to identify the baseline behaviours of people, applications and infrastructure. This will allow for rapid responses to potential threats and makes better use of cloud technologies – both public and private – to build out an in-depth defense that is consistent with oversight within the organisation.

Incident response will always be a part of security, but the sad reality is that it is also always behind. That said, the next generation of cloud technologies and analytics can greatly improve security capabilities and help organisations overcome that sense of always being left behind. While there will be a new generation of threats loping casually beside – and ahead – of technology’s evolution, the measurements that assess the efficacy of a security system should be around response times. Did the business respond faster than it did in the past?

A much faster and more agile infrastructure needs new thinking about policies and compliance. Orders of magnitude increase in data transactions and volumes require different ways of thinking about protection and threat mitigation. This is further affected by the fluidity of on-demand applications and API access as they increase the number of unpredictable types of access to systems that were, in the past, easy to secure.

Going forward, security must place scale and agility at the centre of design thinking and planning. The security team must build capability that allows them to move faster and take more effective and decisive action with greater insight and confidence. Today’s security products aren’t ready for this. What’s needed is a next-generation set of thinking and tools that are in line with the technologies that preceded them.

This isn’t an incremental change. Most of today’s security tools and many of today’s security companies probably will not survive to see the next generation of business. The changes that are coming are going to have a disruptive impact on market, business and security thinking.

Of course, in the meteor shower of disruption, it’s hard to avoid the conversation of artificial intelligence (AI). Every organisation, and individual, wants to know what impact of this technology will have on them. The reality is that the changes it will make to life and business will be mundane.

It will offer better insights, efficiencies, and more confident decision-making. There will be outliers where an AI model will create a completely new business or achieve an unheard-of improvement, but they will be the black swans. There will also be some businesses that may be dramatically impacted by AI in the next five to ten years, but it will be limited within a niche. For most the future is mundane improvements, but for that niche, the disruption will be severe.

Perhaps the question isn’t the impact of AI but rather the impact of not investing in AI. Can the organisation afford not to make a move towards a technology that has proven results and delivers improvements to the bottom line?

If your competitors are improving their customer experience and gaining efficiencies, you must keep up. The good news is that a lot of AI won’t require separate investment. All the enterprise software vendors have a plan to leverage AI capabilities within their products so they will be a subscription service for most customers. And that will effectively answer both questions.


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Eugene Kaspersky posts from 2050

In his imagined blog entry from the year 2050, the Kaspersky Lab founder imagines an era of digital immunity

In recent years, digital systems have moved up to a whole new level. No longer assistants making life easier for us mere mortals, they’ve become the basis of civilisation — the very framework keeping the world functioning properly in 2050.

This quantum leap forward has generated new requirements for the reliability and stability of artificial intelligence. Although some cyberthreats still haven’t become extinct since the romantic era around the turn of the century, they’re now dangerous only to outliers who for some reason reject modern standards of digital immunity.

The situation in many ways resembles the fight against human diseases. Thanks to the success of vaccines, the terrible epidemics that once devastated entire cities in the twentieth century are a thing of the past.

However, that’s where the resemblance ends. For humans, diseases like the plague or smallpox have been replaced by new, highly resistant “post-vaccination” diseases; but for the machines, things have turned out much better. This is largely because the initial designers of digital immunity made all the right preparations for it in advance. In doing so, what helped them in particular was borrowing the systemic approaches of living systems and humans.

One of the pillars of cyber-immunity today is digital intuition, the ability of AI systems to make the right decisions in conditions where the source data are clearly insufficient to make a rational choice.

But there’s no mysticism here: Digital intuition is merely the logical continuation of the idea of machine learning. When the number and complexity of related self-learning systems exceeds a certain threshold, the quality of decision-making rises to a whole new level — a level that’s completely elusive to rational understanding. An “intuitive solution” results fromthe superimposition of the experience of a huge number of machine-learning models, much like the result of the calculations of a quantum computer.

So, as you can see, it has been digital intuition, with its ability to instantly, correctly respond to unknown challenges that has helped build the digital security standards of this new era.  

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M-Net to film Deon Meyer novel

A television adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel Trackers is to be co-produced by M-Net, Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, and HBO subsidiary Cinemax, which will also distribute the drama series worldwide. 

Trackers is an unprecedented scripted television venture and MultiChoice and M-Net are proud to chart out new territory … allowing local and international talent to combine their world-class story-telling and production skills,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment, Yolisa Phahle.

HBO, Cinemax, and M-Net also launched a Producers Apprenticeship programme last year when the Cinemax series Warrior, coming to M-Net in July, was filmed in South Africa. Some other Cinemax originals screened on M-Net include Banshee, The Knick and Strike Back. 

“Cinemax is delighted to partner with M-Net and ZDF in bringing Deon Meyer’s unforgettable characters and storytelling—all so richly rooted in the people and spectacular geography of South Africa—to screens around the world,” says Len Amato, President, HBO Films, Miniseries, and Cinemax.    

Filming for Trackers has already started in  locations across South Africa and the co-production partners have been working together on all aspects of production 

Deon Meyer, whose award-winning crime novels have been translated into more than 20 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide, serves as a supervising screenwriter and co-producer; British writer Robert Thorogood (Death in Paradise) is the showrunner. The team of South African writers on the project includes the Mitchell’s Plain playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jephta (Die Ellen Pakkies Story) and local writer/directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe. 

The cast for the six-part miniseries includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander and Thapelo Mokoena. 

Trackers will make its debut on M-Net 101 in October 2019 and will also be available on MultiChoice’s on-demand service, Showmax. The six-part drama series is produced by UK production company Three River Studios as well as South Africa’s Scene 23. 

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