AI Is The New Weapon In The Cyber Arms Race

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field of technology with potentially significant implications for national security with the United States and other nations actively developing AI applications for a range of military functions.

Indeed, AI promises to change the face of future warfare as it becomes absorbed into autonomous weapons systems and being increasingly used to manage military operations. It has already been incorporated into military operations in Iraq and Syria.

Research is underway for AI to be applied in the fields of intelligence collection and analysis, logistics, cyber operations, information operations, command and control, as well as a variety of autonomous vehicles and the US military is already integrating AI systems into combat via an initiative called Project Maven, which has used AI algorithms to identify insurgent targets in Iraq and Syria.

These investments are the early stages of an AI arms race, similar to the nuclear arms race of the 20th century and this type of military escalation poses a threat to all humanity. Nevertheless, the development of military AI is accelerating and right now AI is now being deployed on multiple military applications, mainly to conduct predictive analysis at a scale beyond human means. 

Hackers are continuously devising new techniques, adapting the latest technology innovations including machine learning and artificial intelligence to devise more destructive forms of attack. Indeed, AI promises to become the next major weapon in the cyber arms race. As companies move to the cloud to gain scale and efficiency and integrated new channels and touch points to make it easier for their customers and suppliers to do business with them, they have also created more potential points of entry for cyber attacks.

The trend of allowing employees to bring their own laptops, smartphones and other digital devices to the office or use to work remotely serves to increase the threat surface.

According to the McAfee Labs 2019 Threats Predictions Report, hackers will increasingly turn to AI to help them evade detection and automate their target selection. Companies will have no choice but to begin adopting AI defenses to counter these cyber-criminals. This escalation reflects the sheer volume of data and transactions in modern life. In businesses like financial services and healthcare it is not humanly possible to examine every transaction for anomalies that might signal cyber snooping. 

AI can also be used to continually monitor and allocate levels of access to a network’s multitude of legitimate users. 
Because cyber attackers have stealth on their side, organisations might need dozens of experts to counter only a handful of attackers. AI can help even the odds, scoping out the potential permutations of vulnerabilities. 

Chief Information Officers advise boards on the growing cyber security threats and although AI programs cannot presently replace experienced cyber security professionals, AI technology can make security staff smarter, more vigilant and more responsive.

Organizations like the US Department of Defense and the space agency NASA, as well as governments around the world are implementing AI-based tools to address the cyber threat and many experts believe that AI will have a significant impact on warfare and it will transform how war happens in the future. 

West Point Modern War Inst:        US Congress Research Service:      FutureofLife Inst:    Fortuna's Corner: Gen. John Allen:

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