How To Use AI To Increase Cybersecurity

Olin Hyde
September 24, 2017

Artificial intelligence and machine learning methods are appearing at the forefront of most technological developments. Tesla’s freaky autopilot which can predict and warn users about car accidents even before outlines the beginning of the integration of these sorts of technologies involving AI into our everyday lifestyles. But cybersecurity and privacy threats are also being made increasingly possible through the adoption of this technology.

The Increasing Presence of AI in Security Efforts

Whether it’s autonomous drivers and truckers, the digital cashier and check out agent for convenience shops, or even your home assistant, there is a global demand in the marketplace for the application artificial intelligence to solve real life problems, save businesses money, and revolutionize industries. It’s undeniable the AI is becoming a significant market force and even poses the question of making a number of people’s completely unemployable.

In fact, McKinsey & Co report that in sectors involving predictable physical labor, machines may be gearing up to replace 78% of jobs. Now, the relevance of AI to cybersecurity has never been more salient than it is now because of its wide potential to make global impacts.

The Looming Threats of AI to Cybersecurity

Regardless of if your company wants to make technological advances or not, the threat of cybersecurity breaches for companies that are slower to adapt is growing at an exponential pace. If you look at any recent case in the news, you’ll quickly realize that even government and medical organizations, whose security measures we’re inclined to trust with our most sensitive information, are not safe from the some of the best hackers.

Two big cases underscore the looming threat to cybersecurity that sophistication in hacking methods through AI pose. One of the most infamous was the ransomware infection that crippled the advanced systems of the NHS by making a lot of sensitive patient data inaccessible through encryption. Of course, the scope of this ransomware attack was not limited, and automation methods helped spread the malicious software far and wide.

The Economist reports a concerning trend regarding this cybersecurity threat, noting that ransomware attacks are calculated, adjusted, and adapted for a global market through the use of AI: “The cyber-attack, dubbed ‘WannaCry’, was built to go global. It helpfully offers victims translations of its demand for money in 28 different languages, and does not discriminate much in its targets.”

Automation and encryption methods, usually tools used by federal and financial authorities to keep their customer information safe, has now been compromised and used against those very agents in an ironic twist. Moreover, the second major attack occurred just this past month and it concerns the security of a key market regulator, the SEC.

That’s right, the SEC revealed that its systems were hacked in a press release to the public and noted that this leaked information may have been used to make illegal trades on the stock market. We’re reaching a point where a market regulator who is in charge of managing consumer information and ensuring that the market exists as both a fair and free entity is at risk. If both the government and financial regulators are at risk when it comes to cybersecurity threats, what’s to say that your business isn’t?

AI-Based Cybersecurity Measures

In a world, market, and culture that is about to be dominated by automation and technology, your business needs to prepare the appropriate cybersecurity measures to counteract the use of these advances against your business’ security systems. For example, a common way that many malicious organizations prefer to bring down sites is through a coordinated and automated attacked that involves multiple computers known as a DDOS.

DDOS-type attacks have been around since computers have been popular, but security threats that strain and really test the security limits of a site are now being developed through advances in AI because of how these attempts can become replicable. For example, automated hacking systems are already being developed and tested formally by researchers for millions of dollars in prize money.

As a company, you need methods that allow for comprehensive and extensive coverage of all aspects of your online personas and websites in real time. FireEye’s end point security solutions are a key example of a software that allows you to account for virtual attacks that occur on multiple fronts and in real time. A primary mechanism of this new cybersecurity technology lies in its responsiveness and adaptability to new threats: “With detailed context on blocked and unknown threats, analysts can adapt defenses to all cyber attacks.” The contextualization of automated attacks is a great way that your business can mitigate the risks of cybersecurity breaches as AI becomes more prevalent in the future.

Further Reading

Olin Hyde
April 8, 2020
. 5 min read
Lainey Mebust
November 4, 2019
. 15 min read
Lainey Mebust
October 9, 2019
. 5 min read