Boosting Cybersecurity with the Use of A.I.
Date: May 3, 2017
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Cybersecurity, the set of frameworks geared towards protecting computers and computer networks from malicious software and unwarranted access to computer systems, is a major concern across almost all industry sectors. After the recent hacks of various sites’ servers thought to be “secure” people have started to realize that the concept of security in the computer world is quite relative. Despite the tremendous efforts from the security experts side, the malicious hackers (aka crackers) appear to catch up to the newest security measures fairly quickly. Moreover, the fact that they have access to more and more computing power only makes things easier for the intruders. Could it be that Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) holds the key to keeping these cybercriminals at bay?

Challenges of Modern Cybersecurity

Before we tackle this question, let’s look at the problem of cybersecurity more closely and attempt to identify the issues we need to tackle to have a secure computer ecosystem. First, the various attacks on computer systems and networks are quite diverse and relatively unique, making them very hard to pinpoint accurately. What’s worse, they can mutate rapidly making them tough to tackle again, once identified. And most importantly, the majority of modern systems are very complex and the threats they may receive are very hard to track with a conventional rule-based cybersecurity system. All these issues make cybersecurity a very challenging task, while the stakes of it delivering protection against malicious hackers have never been higher.

Intelligence to the Rescue

Even if all these issues appear daunting, things are hopeful in cybersecurity, thanks to Artificial Intelligence and sophisticated systems based on it, such as those employing IBM’s Watson. Some of the ways Artificial Intelligence benefits cybersecurity is:

  • Faster and more effective remediation. Basically, this involves immediate notification about potential security breaches and steps to intervene, when possible. This way whatever damage the breach causes is kept at a bare minimum.
  • Better risk level evaluation. Determining the actual risks involved in a compromising of a system’s security is very hard, especially in sophisticated networks. Artificial Intelligence can tackle this challenge efficiently and thoroughly, oftentimes without continuous human supervision.
  • More accurate threat identification. The vastness of potential threats would make it unfeasible to identify them accurately and in a timely manner. However, Artificial Intelligence can aid in that in a way unimaginable before. This is particularly useful for large organizations that usually attract malicious hackers.
  • More effective use of available data. This enables the A.I.-based cybersecurity systems to learn and evolve constantly. With data becoming increasingly abundant, particularly with the Internet of Things movement, Artificial Intelligence systems like deep learning, that require a large amount of data to work effectively, are becoming better and more practical, making the available data more useful in fending off cybersecurity issues.

The best part is that Artificial Intelligence technologies are evolving too, so A.I. is bound to get even better at all these, making it a more robust defense against cyber-attacks.

The Flipside of A.I. in All This

Things are not all rosy, however. The misuse of Artificial Intelligence is apparent, not to mention dangerous, when it comes to black-hat hacking. For example, Artificial Intelligence based systems have been used in improving network attacks, as well as phishing using ransomware to collect data in order to emulate a user’s writing style to trick his contacts into clicking on some suspicious attachment the hacker sends to them. Also, Artificial Intelligence is used maliciously when it comes to vulnerability searching, a process otherwise slow and difficult that enables black-hat hackers to exploit a computer system.

Summing Up

Not everything is doom and gloom, however. As more and more effort goes into Artificial Intelligence research, through initiatives like Elon Musk’s OpenAI, and with more people gaining awareness about A.I. tech, it is possible to thwart the cyber intrusions and protect your data and software. This is not possible with an out-of-the-shelf cybersecurity system though. To ensure an effective use of Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity it is best to have an expert onboard, even as a consultant. Data Science Partnership offers access to such experts, so that you too can benefit from the great things Artificial Intelligence has to offer in this ever-significant domain. Please feel free to contact us for a free one hour initial consultation with Data Science Partnership.

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Zacharias Voulgaris

Zach is the Chief Technical Officer at Data Science Partnership. He studied Production Engineering and Management at the Technical University of Crete, shifted to Computer Science through a Masters in Information Systems & Technology (City University of London), and then to Data Science through a PhD on Machine Learning (University of London). He has worked at Georgia Tech as a Research Fellow, at an e-marketing startup in Cyprus as an SEO manager, and as a Data Scientist in both Elavon (GA) and G2 (WA). He also was a Program Manager at Microsoft, on a data analytics pipeline for Bing.

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