AI/ML for Smarter Cyber Security

Runa Tripathy   

Today when the entire world is in a rush to digitalize their businesses, Cyberattacks are seen to be growing in volume and complexity. While we are all reaping the benefits of the way technology is easing out our business problems, cybercriminals are mushrooming at the same or almost 2X the pace. Cybercriminals pose a threat to all manner of organizations and businesses and the customers and consumers who use them.

Businesses are doing their best to fight off cyberattacks, but it's hard to predict what new threats will emerge and how they'll operate. It’s this uncertainty that the cybercriminals are taking advantage of; the fear of not knowing what to defend your perimeter against.

Cybersecurity too has its own set of unique challenges:

  • A vast attack surface to defend
  • Hundreds & thousands of devices to be protected
  • Uncountable attack vectors to think about
  • Shortage of skilled security professionals
  • The volume of data to be secured

These are just to name a few of the cybersecurity challenges that every enterprise faces. The result of all this is Security Fatigue in your organization’s security professionals.

While all of this might seem like the organizations today are fighting a losing battle with Cybercriminals, the silver lining is that there have also been developments in technology with significant impacts on cybersecurity. One such major game-changer in the field of cybersecurity is tools and techniques developed and supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Today, AI is no longer a buzz word, but AI is helping under-resourced security operations analysts stay ahead of threats. Curating threat intelligence from millions of research papers, blogs, and news stories, AI provides instant insights to help you fight through the noise of thousands of daily alerts, drastically reducing response times.

In fact, it is safe to say, that whether it is Network Security, behavioral analytics, vulnerability management, or phishing detection, AI and machine learning tools are indispensable while dealing with cybersecurity today.


Applying AI/ML to cybersecurity

AI is ideally suited to solve some of our most difficult problems, and cybersecurity certainly falls into that category. While the cyber-attacks today are ever-evolving and to top that there is an ever-evolving usage of devices on the rise, ML & AI are our true allies to help us keep pace with the bad guys. They not only help us automate threat detection and but also ensure we respond more efficiently than traditional software-driven approaches. AI enables you to successfully manage current cyber threats, by bridging the gap between the speed of attack and the speed of defense.

Today, the entire industry is relying heavily on applying AI/ML capabilities to boosting its Cyber Security posture. AI/ML can be used by IT security professionals to enforce good cybersecurity practices and shrink the attack surface instead of constantly chasing after malicious activity.

Some of the most common ways in which different industries are using AI/ML combination to empower their fight against Cyber-attacks are:

  • Machine Learning In Cyber Threat Detection
  • AI, Password Protection and Authentication
  • AI-ML In Phishing Detection And Prevention Control
  • Usage of AI-ML In Vulnerability Management
  • Network Security & Artificial Intelligence
  • Behavioral Analytics with AI

While AI matures and moves rapidly into the cybersecurity space, organizations need also to vary on the flipside to this exciting new technology. One needs to remember that hackers can also use AI to break through defenses and develop mutating malware that changes its structure to avoid detection. What’s also crucial to note is that without a sizeable volume of data and events to classify and gather intelligence from, AI systems will deliver inaccurate results and lead to false positives. Also, If data manipulation goes undetected, organizations will struggle to recover the correct data that feeds their AI systems, with potentially disastrous consequences

In an ideal future world, AI will be the technology that is transforming our lives. Insecurity, it will be able to instantly spot any malware on a network, guide incident response, and detect intrusions before they even start. If AI-based cybersecurity tools continue to develop and improve and are applied correctly alongside human security teams, rather than instead of them, this could help businesses stay secure against increasingly smart and potent cyberattacks.

 In short, it will allow us to form powerful human-machine partnerships that push the boundaries of our knowledge, enrich our lives, and drive cybersecurity in a way that seems greater than the sum of its parts. With AI, we could aim to have a self-learning and self-healing network that can learn about negative behaviors and stop them from happening much in advance.