AI is a Threat To Cyber – AI will Save Cyber

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AI Cyber Security

Cybersecurity is a hot-button issue of the day with numerous media reports covering a wide scope of security hacks and breaches. Major retail corporations, credit bureaus, and even governmental entities have been hacked or attempts were made to do so. The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ has never been truer and as hackers and the tools they use become more advanced so will the cybersecurity methods used to stop them. One aspect that will see use on both sides is the use of artificial intelligence.

An AI Arms Race

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used in a multitude of ways both to attack and protect information. As an attack tool, it is currently being implemented to breach and gather information. For example, one of the most devious tactics is using AI for information phishing. AI can create phishing emails of such high quality that to even an informed user can look legitimate and fool people into handing over their information. Remember many information breaches aren’t performed through advanced technological skills but through information theft and social engineering. On the security side, you have AI-powered chatbots which distract phishing attempts and waste cybercriminals’ time. Even a distraction approach is very useful as many attempts at security breaches fail when there isn’t an obvious security flaw or way to gather protected information such as logins and passwords covertly.

AI and Cyber Security

The above example illustrates the paradox that AI is both the cause and solution to future security concerns. This is not a new concept in the general sense. As long as cybersecurity has existed hackers and digital criminals have been improving their methods which have required better security countermeasures. Artificial intelligence is just another aspect of this concept. AI implementation in cybersecurity will include (but not be limited to) further implementation of the following:

  • Monitoring Security Alerts: the sheer amounts of alerts generated by many businesses are too much for a security team to review, AI implementations can monitor and help filter alerts. This monitoring can also extend to a company’s network traffic detecting unusual behaviour among a company’s normal internet usage patterns.
  • Blocking Malicious Files: many hacks are implemented through file based attacks that are downloaded or sent via email. These can be .exe files, .pdfs, and other malicious files which can be indistinguishable from legitimate versions. AI can read these files line by line detecting even the best disguised files and then block them when altered code is detected.
  • Keeping ‘The Internet Of Things’ Safe: with refrigerators and watches being online now there are new targets for cybercriminals to attack and make use of. AI can monitor network level traffic and block suspicious activities from these less secure devices.

Final Considerations

The implementation of AI in cybersecurity will be a necessity due to the ever-increasing complexity of cybercrime. As a tool AI will not only serve to protect from malicious AI threats but also increase effectiveness against existing general threats. A key strength of AI is its ability to review vast amounts of information far more quickly than a human ever could and detect abnormalities. As a tool AI will allow you to detect potential threats and prevent them and even in a worst-case scenario can limit the scope and impact of a data breach.

Take action! Attend the AI & Tech Business Breakfast

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On 5th May 2018, there will be an AI & Tech Business networking breakfast in Bracknell. Come along and participate with industry experts in a meeting where AI and Cyber will be hotly debated.  

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