December 03 - 06, 2019
Hyatt Regency New Orleans

AI and Cybersecurity

By: Vamika Anand

Rumor has it that very little or any true form of artificial intelligence (AI) is being incorporated within enterprise security software. However that’s not the case. Pure AI is about reproducing cognitive abilities and machine learning, one AI’s many subsets, is largely incorporated into security software. 

In the past, cybersecurity was used as a function to protect a server or two and a handful of endpoints from viruses every now and again. Nowadays, the size and scope of infrastructure that companies need to protect and the volume of threats is at large – that is why AI is crucial to use in cybersecurity measures.

Although AI is not a new concept, as it has existed for decades, it is only now becoming a popular terms and use for business. It is especially being used to defend cybersecurity threats. No company, no matter the size, has the resources to identify and defend 450,000 new threats a day using manual, human processes effectively. Machine learning can be very effective when it is trained with a high volume of data from the environment in which people it will be used by know what they are doing. Machine learning works better at more targeted tasks or set of tasks, than a wide-ranging mission – which is why it’s so beneficial into cybersecurity practices.

Most IT managers understand that manual processes won’t be enough to defend the amount of cyber threats that come through. Many are less clear on the fact, however, that legacy cybersecurity tools are also ineffective. Firewalls, intrusion detective systems and endpoint security solutions designed for a traditional network architecture are not equipped to monitor and protect a hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure. Cybersecurity solutions that rely on signatures to detect and block threats cannot keep pace effectively with the volume of threats that companies face.

AI is imperative because the IT environment and threat landscapes today are too overwhelming for human intervention or legacy cybersecurity tools. However, the combination of AI and human experts is a great defense. AI has emerged as a crucial source for cybersecurity because it can proactively recognize threats without requiring signatures, and it can keep up with the scale of cloud infrastructure and pace of new threats.

The next generations of cybersecurity products are increasingly incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. By training AI software on large datasets of cybersecurity, network and physical information, solution providers aim to detect and block abnormal behavior – even if it does not exhibit a known “signature” or pattern. Over time, it is said that companies will incorporate AI into every aspect of their cybersecurity products.

Timing in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity solutions utilizing AI and machine learning can greatly reduce the amount of time needed for threat detection and incident response. These technologies help reduce and prioritize traditional security alerts. This increases the efficacy of existing investments and human analysts.

Cybersecurity product companies turn to artificial intelligence to provide insights that would otherwise be impossible for humans to find on their own. These companies use AI to identify anomalies, speed up detection and increase the effectiveness of their products.

AI can also be used to aid analysts who may be overwhelmed with the amount of security alerts and identifying patterns that may indicate a threat. When properly trained, AI threat analysis can apply human-like intuition to every interaction on the network and pluck a single strange packet from millions of other to review. When properly monitored, solutions that detect threats using machine learning can reduce the time from breach to discovery, reducing the amount of damage an attacker can cause. Shortening the time to discovery is critical for security, especially when the average breach still takes over 260 days to discover.

Cyber Crime

Unfortunately, AI is being used by hackers and other cyber criminals. Attackers who pose threats to cybersecurity use AI and machine learning to better understand their target companies and launch attacks on them. AI increases the ability for companies to defend attacks, but on the flip side it could also help hackers educate themselves and attack. Overall though, artificial intelligence is a huge advantage in cybersecurity because it’s able to churn over 800 attempts of threat, compared to the human’s 130 attempts in the same amount of time. 

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