Cybersecurity threats in banking sector discussed

MANAMA: A machine-speed response which can adapt as fast as a cyber attack propagates is the only way to tackle the looming threat of offensive Artificial Intelligence (AI), experts have warned.

“Organisational resilience depends not on throwing more people into the mix, or even upskilling existing teams – machine-speed attacks need a machine-speed response which can adapt as fast as an attack propagates,” says Marcus Fowler, a director of strategic threat at Darktrace, a British American AI company that specialises in cyber defence.

In a blog posted on the Darktrace website, Mr Fowler says self-learning AI technology is critical in tackling the unpredictability and speed of the threats of today, and of tomorrow.

Darktrace has underlined the emerging threat from offensive AI, saying the financial services sector will continue to be challenged to protect sensitive data and systems, during a webinar organised by the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (Cibafi), a global umbrella of Islamic financial institutions.

Titled ‘Cybersecurity: A Rising Risk with Important Implications on the Financial Sector’s Resilience’, the webinar discussed the major threats and the main factors that have posed serious challenges to cybersecurity in the digital banking sector.

During the event, Cibafi secretary general Dr Abdelilah Belatik noted how the continuous implementation of technology in various aspects of financial institutions’ operations has also heightened the risk of cyber attacks.

Released last month, the council’s Global Islamic Banker’s Survey (GIBS) Report highlighted banks’ growing concerns over cybersecurity risk due to the rising digitalisation and automation in the Islamic banking industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further advanced this digital transformation as banks adopted financial technologies to meet the increasing demand for online products and services.

Moreover, banks are facing some operational challenges that contributed to an increased cybersecurity risk, for example, business execution and system failures as well as business disruption due to changes in employee working arrangements.

These facts drove Cibafi to organise the webinar with Darktrace which gathered financial services industry and subject matter experts from different countries, said Dr Belatik.

As threats emerge, it is clear that a new approach to cybersecurity is needed.

The webinar saw Darktrace presenting case studies on how digital acceleration has reshaped the threat landscape; the major cybersecurity challenges faced by financial institutions; and the different approaches to security in finance.

Also featured was a panel session on ‘Neutralising Cyberattacks: Strategies, Measures, and Trends’ where industry experts examined the growing in speed, sophistication, and scale of cyberattacks.

The panellists were Mirza Asrar Baig, founder and chief executive of EDX Labs; Roly Stride, regional director for Middle East & Africa at Darktrace; and Murat Gökten, head of enterprise architecture at AlbarakaTech Global.

The discussion was moderated by Cibafi senior research analyst Rachid Ettaai.




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