AI Is The Future Of Defensive Cyber Security

Digitalisation and the growing network of industrial machines and systems mean an increased risk of cyber attacks on companies and organisations around the world, as well as an increase in the accuracy and complexity of these attacks. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already widely in cyber security, but often it is difficult to determine and to clarify how AI products and services work. 

In fact, AI is gradually becoming an integral part of cyber security, helping organisations of different sizes and industries increase the efficiency of their cyber security. Information technology and telecommunications are the industries with the fastest and most advanced AI adoption process. While AI won't solve all problems, it provides a growing toolbox for accelerating security workflows and better detecting threats. In fact, there are several ways in which AI is already revolutionising cyber security.

Until recently, most cyber-threat detection was performed using small, handwritten pattern-matching programmes (called signatures, rules, or indicators of compromise). The widespread adoption of AI has changed this. Now, security vendors are working to augment signature-based detection technology with AI being used  in every context -  detecting phishing emails, malicious mobile apps, malicious command executions among others.

There are good reasons why AI is unlikely to  replace signatures, because these technologies are complementary to each other.

  • Signatures are good at detecting known threats, AI algorithms, trained on vast threat databases that cyber security companies have accumulated over the years, are better at detecting previously unseen threats. 
  • Signatures can be written and deployed quickly, while AI technologies take a lot longer to train and deploy. And while signature authors can control precisely what threats their signatures will and won't detect, AI is fundamentally probabilistic and harder to control.

Unfortunately, many security technology vendors are not exploring AI applications beyond the its use for attack-detection and to keep pace with future  threats, it will be necessary to explore new application of AI to reinforce the skills of the human operators who are the most important line of defence against attacks. 

This is a real challenge and requires that cyber security leaders keep track of the rapidly evolving AI research and development space just as we track trends in cyber security practice and cyber security threats. 

Main Functions Of AI in Cyber Security 

Detection:   Organisations use AI mainly to detect cyber threats. According to a research from CapGemini, more than 50% of organisations that have implemented AI-based cyber security solutions use it for detection purposes. This is due to the unique capabilities of AI to identify irregular traffic through machine learning or deep learning.

Prediction:   A considerable number of organisations use AI to predict cyber threats. This is done by scanning through data and making predictions based on the system’s training. 
Organisations that adopt AI for prediction purposes can also use the technology to identify critical vulnerabilities, automatically identify their assets and network topology, and continuously improve their network defences against any potential cyber attacks.

Response:   The AI forms of responding to cyber threats evolve continuously. Organisations can now use AI to detect attacks and stop them at the same time. They can automate the creation of a virtual patch for a detected threat or develop new protection mechanisms in real time. 

AI can helps reduce costs, improve threat response time and respond to breaches, regardless of the  specific characteristics in which it is used.

With the rapid evolution and growing complexity of the  threat landscape, CIOs, CTOs, and IT and SecOps teams have to commit to exploring new and creative ways of applying AI technology that focus on helping the human operators that our network security ultimately depends on.

Organisation which intending to implement strong defensive measures need a skilled and experienced cyber security workforce, which is not easy to find. The number of individuals interested in taking courses in cyber security is increasing. This trend is only expected to grow as the demand is much higher than the supply of cyber skilled security professionals  

For advice and recommendation on  Cyber Security Education & Training please contact Cyber Security Intelligence.

Dark Reading:       Nexus Integra:      PECB:      CapGemini:   Allianz:      Mistral Solutions

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