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UMGC Global Media Center
AI, Tighter Budgets, and Rise of Evil Digital Twins: UMGC Cyber Trends for 2023

By Alex Kasten

The role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in securing systems and reducing breaches is top-of-mind among the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology faculty. Two out of four of our trends to watch focus on how companies will continue to use AI to detect breaches and secure the cloud. Meanwhile, our faculty also predicts that tighter budgets will lead to an uptick of incidents, as well as the emergence of evil digital twins. 

Artificial Intelligence Will Continue to Play a Prominent Role in Detecting Data Breaches

In 2023, more workers will still telework and utilize individual gadgets to connect to work networks remotely. Connecting to networks with non-secured remote or cloud-based devices may unwittingly fall prey to more phishing attacks and hacking of credentials. Improved artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can identify and reduce systems vulnerabilities with weak security in 2023. Companies that use AI and automation to detect and respond to data breaches have better safeguards. Security vendors can effectively examine the vast amount of data moving across networks in real time with the most recent and sophisticated algorithms. -- Philip Chan, PhD, Adjunct Professor, School of Cybersecurity & Information Technology

Cloud Security Strategies Will Continue to Focus on Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning

Cyberattacks have grown exponentially over the past decade. These attacks vary from state-sponsored and individual attacks on government and businesses for their own benefits. The increase in cyberattacks have made it difficult for human cybersecurity expects to quickly react or predict an eminent attack on their cloud infrastructure. Implementing AI and ML algorithms within cloud deployments to examine data and resource movement in the cloud in real-time can help predict attacks in timely manner to develop counter measures to curb such attacks. -- Patrick Appiah-Kubi, PhD, Program Director, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity & Computer Networking, School of Cybersecurity & Information Technology

Tighter Budgets Will Cause Increased Cybersecurity Incidents

As much as we have good intentions in securing our Infrastructure through better education, more trained cyber warriors, and adoption of stricter, more rigid security controls, budget and financial constraints caused by a possible economic recession and complicated by global instabilities from conflicts and war may not allow us to fully fund our cybersecurity efforts. This may result in more cybersecurity incidents from poorly tested and documented software along with Internet of Thing devices that were pushed to market too quickly. Even in a tight or reduced budget we must all be vigilant and work to minimize the risks. -- Jimmy Robertson, EdD, Program Director, Cyber Operations, School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology

2023 Will Usher in the Rise of Evil Digital Twins

Digital twins are virtual software models designed to mimic the tendencies, behaviors, and attitudes of people. These are commonly used in marketing, research, and hyper-environments such as Metaverse. Over the coming year, we will witness a rise of evil digital twins. This malicious virtual software model will be used to enhance cybercriminal activities such as ransomware, phishing, and highly targeted cyber warfare. Such attacks will demonstrate a significant increase in effectiveness compared to traditional methods because of the specificity provided through the evil digital twin models. -- Jason Pittman, Sc.D., Collegiate Faculty, School of Cybersecurity & Information Technology