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AI, collaboration, and harmonisation of cyber security efforts in focus

By Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 04 Jun 2024
Daniel Cuthbert, member of the Cyber Technology External Advisory Group at the UK's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. (Photograph by Lesley Moyo)
Daniel Cuthbert, member of the Cyber Technology External Advisory Group at the UK's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. (Photograph by Lesley Moyo)

The impact of AI on cyber security, and ongoing vulnerabilities exacerbated by a lack of collaboration and harmonisation, were among the key themes to emerge at an executive dinner for CISOs ahead of ITWeb Security Summit in Johannesburg last night.

The dinner and round table discussion focused on new challenges in multi-cloud and hybrid environments, and the need for collaboration, innovation and adaptive security protocols to counteract evolving cyber threats, including cloud vulnerabilities and AI-powered attacks.

Bertus Engelbrecht, Acting Managing Executive: Cybersecurity at event sponsor BCX, said: “AI is a top point of discussion now. CISOs need leadership, resilience and adaptability to adapt to and adopt new technology in our processes and defence.”

Daniel Cuthbert, member of the Cyber Technology External Advisory Group at the UK's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, highlighted the ongoing challenge of vulnerabilities in software.“CISOs should collaborate to share information on vulnerabilities,” he said. 

CISOs also debated the rise of the ‘SBOM’ (Software Bill of Materials), which formally lists components and libraries in software, but also gives malicious actors an easy way to find weaknesses in software, and the emergence of SBOM analysis as a result.

Nanjira Sambuli, fellow, Technology & International Affairs at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, highlighted the importance of enhanced security in Africa’s financial systems and fintech ecosystems. She noted: “As we build super apps for banking, we have vulnerabilities on the user side, such as out of date devices that don’t do software updates anymore, and sociocultural exposure to phishing.”

She said not enough countries had ratified the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection, which would create a harmonised regulatory regime for cyber security in Africa and support more secure digital financial inclusion efforts.

The ITWeb Security Summit, which got underway in Sandton today, features talks on AI, generative AI, cloud security and more agile, adaptable responses to changing cyber risk.

 Keynote talks include an analysis by Daniel Cuthbert of the implications of generative AI for cyber security defence strategies, and a presentation by Nanjira Sambuli on cyber security and cyber capacity building in Africa's digital financial ecosystems.

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