The important trends
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used in the cybersecurity industry in many ways, which are still yet to be tapped into. Just as much as other technologies are constantly and dynamically changing, so too is this field. It has just started to make its debut for security applications, and there is a long way to go yet until it is fully adopted and deployed.
But Artificial Intelligence is being used in some key areas in cybersecurity, which are as follows:
- Many cyberattacks are starting to go unnoticed today. There are two primary reasons for this:1) The IT security team is so overworked that they are simply, through no fault of their own, are letting the real threat warnings and alerts fall through the cracks.2) The cyber attacker is becoming so sophisticated that many of the threat vectors that they do launch are very often not detected by the security tools that have been deployed at the lines of defences.
Through the use of Artificial Intelligence tools, many of these kinds of attacks are now starting to get noticed, and by establishing a threshold of interoperability with other devices (such as network intrusion devices, firewalls, routers, etc.) these kinds of threat vectors are now getting stopped in their tracks even before they make an entry into the IT and network infrastructure of an organisation.
- As it has been described previously, the severe shortage of skilled workers in the cybersecurity industry has left a huge void that needs to be filled by the existing employees in the workplace. Thus, this is adding on an even extra layer of burden and workload, especially when it comes to conducting routine and daily tasks. In this aspect, Artificial Intelligence can automate these kinds of job functions, thus allowing the IT security to staff to focus in on the more crucial areas of their job functions. Another added benefit is that depending upon the tool that is being used, many Artificial Intelligence systems of today do not require any sort of human intervention. This simply means that once they have been programmed to any certain kinds of tasks, the reliability of them to deliver a high-quality product is quite robust. The graphic below clearly demonstrates how the use of Artificial Intelligence can help augment an IT security staff, based upon the number of labour hours that can be saved by automating the following tasks:
- In cybersecurity today, one of the hot topics that is coming about is that of Multi Factor Authentication, or “MFA” for short. This is where more than one layer of defence is used in order to protect IT and network assets. For example, rather than just a using a password to gain access to shared resources, there are other authentication mechanisms that an individual will have to go through in order to positively confirm their identity. This could include incorporating the usage of challenge/response questions, RSA tokens, smart cards, biometrics, etc. While all of these are very reliable means of authentication when they are used in conjunction with another, there is still fear that a cyber attacker can still break through any of these. Thus, there is very serious consideration being given to using Artificial Intelligence as yet another layer of authentication. But the difference here is that these kinds of systems can build a profile of the end user and allow for authentication based upon that person’s predictive behaviour. In other words, Artificial Intelligence can make a holistic judgement (based upon an infinite number of variables) in real time if the end user is really claiming with 100% authenticity whom they are to be.
- At the present time, Artificial Intelligence is being used to aid in the protection of certain aspects of the IT and network infrastructure, from both a hardware and software application standpoint. In other words, it is only being used in local instances, not at an enterprise level, which will encompass the entire organisation. It is highly anticipated, by the way that the AI technology is rapidly advancing, that this level of protection will become a reality in the short term.
- One of the oldest and still most widely used form of threat vectors that is used is that of phishing. There are many new variants of it that are coming out today, especially in the way of Business Email Compromise (also known as “BEC”) and ransomware. Once again, there are so many of these that are rampant today that it is close to impossible for an IT security staff to keep up with all of this. For example, it has been cited that 1 out of every 99 email messages is a phishing-based one. While that may not seem like a lot, just think about the total number of messages that are sent in one day from just one business. This ratio can multiply at least 100X. An Artificial Intelligence tool can track these notorious emails much quicker than any human being can at a rate of 10,000 messages at any given moment in time. Another advantage of using Artificial Intelligence there are no geographic limitations in which it can detect for phishing emails (it can virtually understand any language if it has been programmed that way), and it can also differentiate between a spoofed website and an authentic one in just a matter of seconds.
In our next article, we will further examine the specific roles and characteristics of Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity.
Ravi Das is a Cybersecurity Consultant and Business Development Specialist. He also does Cybersecurity Consulting through his private practice, RaviDas Tech, Inc. He also possesses the Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) cert from the ISC2.