Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Cyber Security

The digitisation of businesses processes shows no signs of slowing down and cyber attacks have increased in this modern technology environment. It’s effects are massive and it continues to grow rapidly. This means that analysing and improving an organisation’s cyber security posture needs more than mere human intervention.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming essential to information security, as these technologies are capable of swiftly analysing millions of data sets and tracking down a wide variety of cyber threats, from malware menaces to shady behavior that might result in a phishing attack.

These technologies continually learn and improve, drawing data from past experiences and present to pinpoint new varieties of attacks that can occur today or tomorrow.

Two years after the beginning of the pandemic, cyber criminals continue to take full advantage of consumers living their lives online. Previously breached data is being used to tap into a rich vein of additional personal information held in online shopping, social media, and healthcare sites, among others. The ForgeRock 2022 Breach Report reveals that data records containing usernames and passwords are the perfect "seeds" for perpetrating new breaches.

Effective AI can save you money and reduce risk of breaches, says Peter Barker, Chief Product Officer, at the digital identity product firm ForgeRock

As organisations struggle to build robust defences and balance data security with digital transformation, hackers bide their time, waiting for the perfect moment to attack. Additionally, the rise of remote working and increase in network-connected devices has resulted in more frequent cyber security attacks with two-plus billion usernames and passwords breached in 2021 alone

Digital-first businesses and solutions mean employees and customers are using more online services, and the large amount of customer identity data leaves institutions with an expanding number of potential weak points where they’re vulnerable to attack. The vast number of remote and ‘unusual’ login attempts, coupled with a chronic shortage of cyber security analysts able to authenticate these attempts, means distinguishing friend from foe is getting more difficult. 

A single vulnerability can be catastrophic as data breaches cost companies millions while shattering customer trust in the process. 

New solutions like Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a very powerful tool to repel persistent, sophisticated threat actors, and avoid the reputational and financial damages of a data breach. AI has huge potential to help prevent cyberattacks. Modern AI-driven solutions can protect organisations, their customers, and employees by stopping threats at a massive scale and reducing the risk of account takeovers. 

Many organisations are overwhelmed by data and  AI-driven applications can help them organise and identify key learnings that are used to make smarter business decisions with more accuracy and speed. This, coupled with the increased threat of unauthorised access and attacks during authentication, organisations need a better way to protect themselves so they can focus on their business. AI-driven solutions can do just that. 

The integration of AI in cyber security continues to grow as more organisations and CISOs better understand its value and how it works. AI-based solutions analyse large amounts of data to evaluate access behaviour to prevent known attacks and detect new threats or unusual behaviour. By learning ‘normal’ user patterns, AI-driven solutions can detect abnormal and malicious login attempts from bots and suspicious IPs. 

When deployed alongside existing security teams, AI acts as a force multiplier, empowering IT admins to make intelligent decisions more quickly, and with a higher degree of confidence, leading to lower deployment costs and easier integration. 

AI solutions can help prevent fraud and emerging threats, leading to higher prediction success rates for identifying and eliminating threats. Ultimately, AI can help manage a rising number of increasingly complex security threats, at scale, and in a more proactive way. It’s no surprise that the global market for AI cyber security is already expected to triple by 2028 to $35 billion.

Over the last decade, we have seen a rise in “AI-washing”, where AI is used as a label for anything with some form of algorithmic capability. More recently, we have seen this trend emerge in cyber security, which means it’s important to understand the criticality of deploying AI correctly. Some have also raised concerns about data poisoning, whereby attackers manipulate data used for machine learning (ML) to turn AI to their own advantage. 

The good news is that there are two easy steps enterprises can take to protect against this. 

  • Firstly, companies should ensure their external training data is clean by using verifiable data sources and open source data with extreme caution. 
  • Secondly, organisations should establish an end-to-end ModelOps process to monitor the internal processes of AI modelling, as well as hiring experienced data scientists to implement and oversee all AI-based systems. With this in mind, the benefits of AI-powered cybersecurity undoubtedly outweigh the risks. 

Amid a rising tide of malicious actors, AI is a powerful force multiplier that can help organisations combat ever more sophisticated cyber security threats quickly and effectively even against a backdrop of sharply rising cost pressures.  

Organisations that embrace AI successfully will therefore enjoy a competitive edge with fewer breaches and a higher ceiling in their cyber security team’s capacity. If organisations implement the standard checks and balances to guard against AI poisoning, AI powered cyber security defences can be one of the strongest tools organisations have in their arsenal against cyber crime.

Forgerock:      Computer Society:      Professional Security:

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