Tech Corner

AI in Cybersecurity: Friend or Foe?

Engati Team
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Sep 15
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7-8 mins

Table of contents

Key takeawaysCollaboration platforms are essential to the new way of workingEmployees prefer engati over emailEmployees play a growing part in software purchasing decisionsThe future of work is collaborativeMethodology

Artificial intelligence poses both a blessing and a curse to businesses, customers, and cybercriminals alike.

AI technology is what provides us with speech recognition technology (think Siri), Google’s search engine, and Facebook’s facial recognition software. Some credit card companies are now using AI to help financial institutions prevent billions of dollars in fraud annually. But what about its applications in cyber security? Is artificial intelligence an advantage or a threat to your company’s digital security?

On one hand, artificial intelligence in cyber security is beneficial because it improves how security experts analyze, study, and understand cybercrime. It enhances the cyber security technologies that companies use to combat cybercriminals and help keep organizations and customers safe. On the other hand, artificial intelligence can be very resource intensive. It may not be practical in all applications. More importantly, it also can serve as a new weapon in the arsenal of cybercriminals who use the technology to hone and improve their cyberattacks.

The discussion about artificial intelligence in cyber security is nothing new. In fact, two years ago, we were writing about how artificial intelligence and machine learning would change the future of cyber security. After all, data is at the core of cyber security trends. And what better way to analyze data than to use computers that can think and do in nanoseconds tasks that would take people significantly more time?

8 benefits of using AI in cybersecurity

Artificial intelligence endeavours to simulate human intelligence. It has immense potential in cybersecurity. If harnessed correctly, Artificial Intelligence or AI systems can be trained to generate alerts for threats, identify new types of malware and protect sensitive data for organisations.  

According to TechRepublic, a midsized company gets alerts for over 200,000 cyber events every day. A team of security experts in an average company cannot deal with this volume of threats. Some of these threats will, therefore, naturally go unnoticed and cause severe damage to networks. 

AI is the ideal cybersecurity solution for businesses looking to thrive online today. Security professionals need strong support from intelligent machines and advanced technologies like AI to work successfully and protect their organisations from cyber attacks. This article looks into the benefits of integrating AI with cybersecurity.

Let’s check them out: 

1. AI Learns More Over Time

As the name suggests, AI technology is intelligent, and it uses its ability to improve network security over time. It uses machine learning and deep learning to learn a business network’s behavior over time. It recognizes patterns on the network and clusters them. It then proceeds to detect any deviations or security incidents from the norm before responding to them. 

The patterns that artificial neural networks learn over time can help to improve security in the future. Potential threats with similar traits to those recorded get blocked early enough. The fact that AI keeps learning makes it difficult for hackers to beat its intelligence.

2. Artificial Intelligence Identifies Unknown Threats

A human being may not be able to identify all the threats a company faces. Every year, hackers launch hundreds of millions of attacks with different motives. Unknown threats can cause massive damage to a network. Worse still is the impact they can have before you detect, identify, and prevent them. 

As attackers try new tactics from sophisticated social engineering to malware attacks, it is necessary to use modern solutions to prevent them. AI has proven to be one of the best technologies in mapping and stopping unknown threats from ravaging a company.

3. AI Can Handle a Lot of Data

A lot of activity happens on a company’s network. An average mid-sized company itself has huge traffic. That means there’s a lot of data transferred between customers and the business daily. This data needs protection from malicious people and software. But then, cybersecurity personnel cannot check all the traffic for possible threats. 

AI is the best solution that will help you detect any threats masked as normal activity. Its automated nature allows it to skim through massive chunks of data and traffic. Technology that uses AI, such as a residential proxy, can help you to transfer data. It can also detect and identify any threats hidden in the sea of chaotic traffic.

4. Better Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management is key to securing a company’s network. As mentioned earlier, an average company deals with many threats daily. It needs to detect, identify and prevent them to be safe. Analyzing and assessing the existing security measures through AI research can help in vulnerability management.

AI helps you assess systems quicker than cybersecurity personnel, thereby increasing your problem solving ability manifold. It identifies weak points in computer systems and business networks and helps businesses focus on important security tasks. That makes it possible to manage vulnerability and secure business systems in time.

5. Better Overall Security

The threats that business networks face change from time to time. Hackers change their tactics every day. That makes it difficult to prioritize security tasks at a company. You may have to deal with a phishing attack along with a denial-of-service attack or ransomware at a go.

These attacks have similar potential but you must know what to deal with first. Bigger threats that can make security a challenge are human error and negligence. The solution here is to deploy AI on your network to detect all types of attacks and help you prioritize and prevent them.

6. Duplicative Processes Reduce

As mentioned earlier, attackers change their tactics often. But, the basic security best practices remain the same every day. If you hire someone to handle these tasks, they may get bored along the way. Or they could feel tired and complacent and miss an important security task and expose your network. 

AI, while mimicking the best of human qualities and leaving out the shortcomings, takes care of duplicative cybersecurity processes that could bore your cybersecurity personnel. It helps check for basic security threats and prevent them on a regular basis. It also analyzes your network in depth to see if there are security holes that could be damaging to your network.

7. Accelerates Detection and Response Times

Threat detection is the beginning of protecting your company’s network. It would be best if you detected things like untrusted data quickly. It will save you from the irreversible damage to your network.

The best way to detect and respond to threats in time is by integrating AI with cybersecurity. AI scans your entire system and checks for any possible threats. Unlike humans, AI will identify threats extremely early and simplify your security tasks.

8. Securing Authentication

Most websites have a user account feature where one logs in to access services or buy products. Some have contact forms that visitors need to fill with sensitive information. As a company, you need an extra security layer to run such a site because it involves personal data and sensitive information. The additional security layer will ensure that your visitors are safe while browsing your network. 

AI secures authentication anytime a user wants to log into their account. AI uses various tools such as facial recognition, CAPTCHA, and fingerprint scanners amongst others for identification. The information collected by these features can help to detect if a log-in attempt is genuine or not. 

Hackers use credential stuffing and brute force attacks to access company networks. Once an attacker enters a user account, your whole network could be at risk.

Downsides of AI in Cybersecurity

The advantages discussed above are just a small chunk of the potential of AI in improving cybersecurity.

However, as with anything, there are also some downsides to using AI in this field. In order to build and maintain an AI system, organizations would need substantially more resources and financial investments.

Furthermore, as AI systems are trained using data sets, you must acquire many distinct sets of malware codes, non-malicious codes, and anomalies. Acquiring all of these data sets is time-intensive and requires investments that most organizations cannot afford.

Without huge volumes of data and events, AI systems can render incorrect results and/or false positives. And getting inaccurate data from unreliable sources can even backfire.

Another major downside is that cybercriminals can also use AI to analyze their malware and launch more advanced attacks, which brings us to the next point.

Use of AI by Adversaries

AI can be used by cybersecurity professionals to reinforce cybersecurity best practices and minimize the attack surface rather than continually being on the lookout for malicious activity.

On the flipside, cybercriminals can take advantage of those same AI systems for malicious purposes. Adversarial AI “causes machine learning models to misinterpret inputs into the system and behave in a way that’s favorable to the attacker,” according to Accenture.

For example, an iPhone’s “FaceID” access feature uses neural networks to recognize faces, making it susceptible to adversarial AI attacks. Hackers could construct adversarial images to bypass the Face ID security features and easily continue their attack without drawing attention.

To conclude

AI is fast emerging as a must-have technology for enhancing the performance of IT security teams. Humans can no longer scale to sufficiently secure an enterprise-level attack surface, and AI gives the much-needed analysis and threat identification that can be used by security professionals to minimize breach risk and enhance security posture.

Moreover, AI can help discover and prioritize risks, direct incident response, and identify malware attacks before they come into the picture. 

So, even with the potential downsides, AI will serve to drive cybersecurity forward and help organizations create a more robust security posture.

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Engati Team

At the forefront for digital customer experience, Engati helps you reimagine the customer journey through engagement-first solutions, spanning automation and live chat.

Andy is the Co-Founder and CIO of SwissCognitive - The Global AI Hub. He’s also the President of the Swiss IT Leadership Forum.

Andy is a digital enterprise leader and is transforming business strategies keeping the best interests of shareholders, customers, and employees in mind.

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