Are your Chopsticks (read AI Capabilities) strong enough to hold Cyber Threats?

Many psychologists have deciphered that intelligence is contagious. To a certain extent it might be true. If followed in entirety, the entire world would have been intelligent. Intelligence does create a spark and spreads an aura of enlightenment around the bearer. What if, a machine possesses a similar acumen? Wouldn’t that be a welcoming change? Artificial intelligence (AI), indeed, has been a well-accepted transformation that efficiently combines cognitive science, neuroscience and computer science to deliver tangible benefits. The benefits may be manifold, but the threats are equally voluminous, one key aspect being in the realm of cybersecurity.

Does AI make organizations vulnerable?

It’s both, a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’! Yes, because, despite the presence of the right kind of technology to prevent cyber security breaches and safeguard data, each time hackers manage to develop newer avenues and tools to launch a cyber-attack. On the contrary, some deny this statement because AI plays a prominent role in enabling IT professionals to act proactively and take necessary corrective measures during potential cyber threats, thus ensuring enhanced safety over the company’s data pool.

Focusing on the “Yes”!

Interconnected workspaces couple with a massive and unprecedented growth of cloud and mobile technologies triggered a chain reaction, making the cyber space extremely vulnerable. This rapid growth of the cyber security landscape has compelled industry leaders to embrace AI and compete with hackers. However, hackers too depend on AI to initiate malware, that changes the system structure and prevents anyone from detecting it. Needless to say, the pace at which machine learning is being deployed in the cyber environment, it is seemingly difficult to keep up to that pace and upgrade the cyber security in tandem.

Cyber criminals adopt AI initially with a mindset to learn cyber defense tools in order to bypass the security algorithms to access personal information. Attackers leverage AI to customize email attacks, through which the invaders force individuals to share their security credentials. Such information is, then, misused to cause damage to the entire system. Thus, it isn’t incorrect to state that, AI can, both, be considered as a weapon of destruction and a sophisticated solution to cybercrime; depending totally on the mindset of individuals.

Role of AI in cyber security

AI provides innovative ways to increase cyber security in order to protect the network of the organization from unauthorized access or to prevent damage. Irrespective of the size of the organization, a vast amount of data is generated periodically. Such massive quantity of data, when stored in the company’s system, becomes vulnerable to cyber-attack. When sensitive information or personal or financial data of both, individual and organization, is compromised, it leads to serious consequences. Hence, cyber security is essential to protect data from exploiters.

The implementation of AI by organizations for daily cyber risk operations, has reduced pressure on humans to detect such intrusive attacks. Security software powered by AI can be leveraged to auto detect any suspicious activity and initiate necessary action to ensure normalcy. Since AI is designed to continuously learn and get implemented, hence it becomes more feature-enriched (showcasing better resistance) with each upgrade. In certain instances, companies are even adopting the hybrid approach integrating AI with nominal human intervention to garner optimum results.

Common cyber threats

The following are few cyber threats powered by AI:

  • Trickbot is an AI-based malware that targets only large enterprises.
  • Trojan is a malicious code that can infect systems automatically and it is extremely difficult to detect and remediate.

Organizations that embraced AI in cyber security space

Dodge the clasp of cyber threat

The following can be practiced for a cyber threat-free environment:

  1. Popup blocker should always be enabled, and one should fight the urge to click on a popup to open an unknown site.
  2. Keeping the system and the security tools updated can improve the overall cyber security since, older versions of operating system are vulnerable to cyber-attack.
  3. It is advisable to avoid third-party installations since; it has the potential to infect system with virus and malware.
  4. Periodic backup can also help to protect data.
  5. Finally, good anti-virus tools like ITL Total Security, Malwarebytes and Malware Crusher can ensure initial protection.   

Cyber security powered by AI – Advantages

  1. A cyber security system powered by AI can easily detect unexpected attacks on cyber space and protect the system from further intervention. Mostly, the malware attacks the core system, making it dysfunctional in a way that it is difficult to identify the affected area. This is where AI plays a crucial role in applying relevant algorithms to isolate malicious files in order to protect the system. 
  2. AI successfully reduces human intervention to fight unauthorized entry. Its usage of predictive analytics enhances the speed and competency of cyber security. The specialty of predictive tool is that, it collects user’s credential required to access the system and analyze the same with user behavior to predict any suspicious activity.
  3. AI plays an important part, especially in protecting login credentials based on biometrics. Biometric login access is dependent on fingerprints, palm prints and retina image scanning and large-scale enterprises has incorporated AI, based on global authentication to leverage real-time biometric login access.
  4. Organizations encounter cyber threats daily; it is manually cumbersome to segregate the actionable threats with those that can be ignored. This is where AI plays a big part in detecting actionable cyber threats.
  5. AI-based cyber security system can gauge and prioritize threat and automate threat response to manage security better.

What triggers AI-based cyber security?

According to secondary research, 29% of professionals dealing with cyber security focus on increasing the pace of incident detection. 27% of professionals try to improve system operation through prioritizing incidents and automating remediation of the same. Through AI-based cybersecurity 24% of the technology team can identify risk better and communicate the same to the enterprise as a precaution. 22% of IT professionals also emphasize on improving awareness across the organization.

The growing concerns

Although technology has come a long way yet, the irony lies in the fact that, many enterprises till date are trying to fix the internal security issues manually, whereas, the cyber bullies are launching their attacks leveraging AI. The usage of traditional tools to prevent cyber attacks is a futile effort since, the time lost in identifying the problems can compromise the entire system. Also, there is a shortage of security professionals who can handle challenges related to data security. Secondary research confirms that, on an average, enterprises invest approximately 146 days to fix critical issues. This indicates a need to change the approach in dealing with cyber security.

An ancient Chinese philosopher once said, “Don’t depend on the enemy not coming, depend rather on being ready for him”. So, why not improve the organizational detection and response capabilities through leveraging AI? In the past, protection of network and endpoint, what used to be just sufficient, is no more the situation. The security horizon has expanded beyond human controllable limits. There is also an eminent need to corelate internal security and external threats with business criticality. This can define the actual security gap and the impact it creates on the business. Another challenge that concerns business leaders is whether the cyber security powered by AI will be able to protect organizations in an automated manner.

Addressing challenges: Growing dependence on AI

According to market research, about 32% of companies are dependent on AI for their cyber security and on top of that, only 7% of the employees use cognitive-based AI tools till date. Big enterprises take a dual approach, where in one, AI is leveraged on top of the existing security systems, while in another approach, AI security system is incorporated along with other technologies such as security operations and analytics platform architecture (SOAPA).

As per secondary research, 91% of cyber-attacks trigger from an email which compels the business leaders to enhance security intelligence to safeguard systems. This acts as a game changer by creating a robust system, unaffected by the cruel intensions of cyber criminals. Only time can decide the fate of cyber security in the hands of AI. There is still some time to comprehend whether you have a strong chopstick in hand!