Is AI The Future of Cyber Security?

Right now, Artificial Intelligence (AI)  is being used in many businesses to analyse large amounts of data and to streamline processes. It is also increasingly being used as a method of cyber security protection by alerting organisations of unusual activity.  AI and machine learning tools help reduce cyber crime in a variety of ways, from automatic network security monitoring to behavioural analytics to phishing monitoring. 

Cyber attacks are one of the largest threats to businesses, government and all organisations.  To defend against cyber attacks, the traditional approach has been to focus on the perimeter to repel intruders.

But over time the perimeter has become broken with gaps like a sieve. Today’s hackers easily find ways through or around it

AI can be a valuable tool to help defend against hackers. It can be trained to constantly learn patterns in order to identify any deviation in it, much like a human does. 99 percent of exploited vulnerabilities are already known. Unfortunately, we all tend to rely on firewalls as a defence. But firewalls will not stop a determined hacker.

For now, it’s just humans who try to anticipate what the other human might do before they do it.

Machine learning, a component of AI, applies existing data to constantly improve its functions and strategies over time. It learns and understands normal user behaviour and can identify even the slightest variation from that pattern. But besides gathering information to detect and identify threats, AI can use this data to improve its own functions and strategies as well.

Private sector businesses and corporations have already deployed AI systems and even some governments are using the technology. AI can save time and money by going through structured data quickly, as well as comprehensively reading and learning unstructured data, statistics, words, and phrases.

This can be used to provide proactive and quick responses to new challenges, potentially before a human could spot them. Essentially, AI could save money as well as national secrets.

Hackers are always  trying to identify out ways to beat the machines, sneaking in through cracks we didn’t know existed. Currently it can take months before an organisation detects a data breach. By then, the hacker is long gone, along with all the sensitive data. On the other hand, AI can sit back, collect data, and wait for a hacker to appear. AI looks for behavioural abnormalities that hackers display, for instance, the way a password is typed or where the user is logging in.

AI can detect these small signs that otherwise might have gone undetected and halt the hacker in their tracks. This can also be useful in spotting user error or manual changes to system protections that could let a hacker gain access to the network.

Any system can be exploited. In the constant chess match of cybersecurity, human hackers will always probe the weaknesses in every system, including AI. Artificial intelligence is programmed by humans, and thus can still be defeated. While AI’s ability to process information is impressive, it can only work as well as it was programmed to.

As hackers adjust to AI systems, human programmers will have to deploy new countermeasures. The cat and mouse game will continue, but AI forms a welcome reinforcement in the war to protect data.

AI far outweigh the problems and limitations and offer a potential secure way forward. And so combining cyber security talent and AI-enabled technology results in 20 times more effective anti-attack coverage than traditional methods.

Cap Gemini:        CNA/Hardy:       CyVent:      ReadWrite:         ramsac

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