Artificial Intelligence is enhancing Cybersecurity- Why, What and How?

Online Editor Grace Byers looks at cybersecurity exploring everything from cybersecurity attacks, encryption, ethical challenges and how AI can be used to tackle these issues
Graphic Credit: Grace Byers

According to the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report (ACR) “Businesses will fall for ransomware attacks every 14 seconds.” In the time it takes to pour yourself a cup of coffee in the morning, a business has already been hacked.

There are many ways in which privacy is compromised over the internet. This article shines a light on how artificial intelligence can be used to enhance cybersecurity technology as well as the ethical challenges we continue to face when using such technology with personal, private data.

 

How AI can be Implemented into Cybersecurity

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There are many types of attacks that harm businesses daily. A few of the most common attacks are; malware, phishing, DOS(denial of service), and MitM (man in the middle) attack. Artificial intelligence can be used in many ways to resolve these issues such as early detection, and updated security databases.

Artificial intelligence can be used to overthrow attacks with early detection. This can be done through feeding these machines known data on attacks and security breaches. Artificially intelligent machines can identify trends or patterns that may not be noticeable to the human eye, at least not straight away. Studies show that it does take a very long time for companies to realize there has been a data breach. According to the 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study: “US companies took an average of 206 days to detect a data breach.” Not only is this extremely dangerous, it is also expensive. The same report states that it costs businesses $5.99 billion to detect a data breach. In cases like these, time is money. Artificial intelligence can be used to reduce the time it takes to identify these problems, as well as reduce the costs. The Capgemini Research Institute found that 74% of executives said that artificial intelligence did in fact enable a faster response to data breaches.

Artificial intelligence can also be used to keep security databases updated with the latest information. Oracle’s Autonomous Database uses machine learning (a subset of AI) which allows it to self patch, repair and update. These were once routine management processes that would have been performed by database administrators. This allows the administrators to do more stimulating work. This database is an extremely secure database due to the fact that it continuously encrypts (converts information to a coded format) data. The self patching aspect of the autonomous database ensures that any bugs are fixed and any vulnerabilities are covered. This improves the overall performance of the database as well as the security. 

 

Technologies being used in Industries Today

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There are quite a few companies that have created products to aid the progression in Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity. However, I will be focusing on DarkTrace as they have made a significant impact in both the technology and the cybersecurity field.

DarkTrace is a company that is currently a world leader in Cybersecurity AI. They provide three main products using artificial intelligence to tackle cybersecurity issues. They detect and respond to attacks before any harm is done. These are the Enterprise Immune System, Industrial Immune System, and the DarkTrace Antigena.

The Enterprise Immune System is a fascinating development in technology as it is modeled after the human immune system. It uses unsupervised machine learning and artificial intelligence to learn itself once implemented. It is so advanced that it can detect slight changes in real time. This design doesn’t depend on any prior rules, it understands itself to the fullest ability.

The Industrial Immune System works with information and operational (machines) technology. This also uses unsupervised machine learning. It learns what looks “normal” throughout the data. It is so advanced that it can detect slight changes in real time. This system has been implemented into smart cities that use IOT (internet of things), linking infrastructures and services together to create a cohesively run city, saving time, waste and costs. The Industrial Immune System’s cutting-edge technology protects these systems as it can detect threats prematurely.

DarkTrace Antigena is the world’s first autonomous response solution. It doesn’t require people to manage it, it is able to respond to cyber threats immediately. Again, this technology is modeled after the human immune system, more specifically, an antibody (a protein that neutralizes pathogens). DarkTrace Antigena uses artificial intelligence to create a targeted response. According to their website, DarkTrace responds to a cyber threat every 3 seconds. This kind of quick response prevents damage being done.

 

Ethical Challenges of using AI in Cybersecurity

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There are many ethical challenges that must be considered when looking to use artificial intelligence in cybersecurity. The main challenge that seemingly will cause most hassle is the malicious use of cybersecurity. We have already seen the misuse of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity in the recent Cambridge Analytica Data scandal.

In keeping with what Jo Ann Davis has said: “Our country increasingly relies on electronic information storage and communication, it is imperative that our Government amend our information security laws accordingly.”

One of the most prominent arguments is data protection. Privacy is a topical issue at the moment, especially in terms of data. We have seen the unethical use of people’s data from Cambridge Analytica. They gained access to information on over 87 million Facebook accounts and used the data in both UK and US political campaigns. The consequence of such actions, over one billion dollars lost. As of the first of May 2018, the company Cambridge Analytica was defunct.

Graphic Credit: Grace Byers

“As we’ve come to realize, the idea that security starts and ends with the purchase of a prepackaged firewall is simply misguided” — Art Wittmann

There is much more to cybersecurity than just software that is included in a package deal. I hope you have gained some insight to how artificial intelligence can actually be implemented to cybersecurity, and the benefits it can have. I also highlighted the ethical issues that may be raised in terms of using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence in cybersecurity.