The world of cybersecurity is full of interesting things. There is a constant battle between hackers that come up with new tricks to make personal gains from security loopholes and security enthusiasts who try to make the internet a safe place for everyone. In light of this fact, it becomes easier to see why cyber-battles are becoming more common. The scale of these battles and their implications have prompted government and media to take notice. In the recent past, cybersecurity has become a major point of debate. Recently, the point of cybersecurity was raised due to the WannaCry cyber-attack incident, which was called the largest ransomware attack in history. This has led to the creation of an industry dynamic where there’s a need for constant change. Among the emergent industry changes is that of AI or Artificial Intelligence:
AI and ML: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI and ML are two domains of technology that run side-by-side. They are specifically meant for data interpretation in newer ways. Contrary to popular notions, AI is not for robot armies or virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri. Rather, it is about data assimilation and interpretation. More specifically, it has to do with the huge amount of data we create daily and deriving conclusions from it.
In terms of cybersecurity, AI can be used to establish highly-functional yet complex models and use data for future prediction. This can potentially help us identify weak links within an array of data. The conclusions will then enable researchers to optimize the decision making processes. However, the same technology can be used by hackers for their own personal gains as well.
What Kind of AI systems Is Currently Being used in the Cybersecurity World?
Here are some areas of cybersecurity that have important AI applications:
- Detecting spam
- Detecting and preventing network breaches
- Detecting fraud
- Calculating credit and anticipating emerging offers
- Detecting botnets
- Authenticating users securely
- Rating cybersecurity
- Anticipating hacking attempts
Are AI Systems Used for Detecting Cyber Attacks? What is their Success Rate?
AI has a very promising role to play in future cybersecurity apps. Several academic studies have shown that AI can detect cyber attacks with 85-99% accuracy. The incidents of false positives are also very rare.
With some years, certain software such as DarkTrace has started to use AI for threat detection. According to the official data about the software, it can detect over 99% of possible threats with a minimum number of false positives.
Spam Detection in Email
Spam detection is a great way of understanding how AI can be used for improving cybersecurity. SpamAssassin is one such app based on open source coding. It works by creating a filters list to determine the spam status of any email.
Can AI Be Used for Weak Point Detection in Software and Addressing Them?
The average software these days contains about 50 hundred thousand coding lines. Going through all of these individually is impossible even for highly trained people. No software can be made truly secure if it is tested solely by humans.
However, AI can be used for detecting any anomalies and addressing them. In case the problem is more complex than the AI can handle, a human can be called in to address it correctly.
Detecting Ongoing Attacks Using AI
Detecting any attack while it is taking place is not an easy thing to do. This is why breaches are often detected once the attack is complete. Potential attacks can be identified by recognizing malicious network traffic. Such traffic is usually distinct from other kinds of traffic.
AI can be used to automatically evaluate previous traffic and current traffic. This can help in detecting anomalies and enhance overall security. This study will also help it in securing the systems from similar attacks in the future.
No matter what kind of AI system is being used, it will require data for training. The biggest problem in using AI for cybersecurity is providing it with data on attacks made earlier. Some AI agents like Watson are collaborating with numerous companies to eliminate this problem.
Normally, companies (especially financial ones) are wary of sharing data on security breaches. Since this might undermine the sense of security among their clients, it is considered a risky move. However, they also want better security systems and so they can potentially be asked for the right information on the condition of anonymity.
Such collaborations can be a real boost to the efforts of cybersecurity agencies trying to prevent cybercrimes. And the biggest beneficiaries of all would be online financial firms.
How Many Companies Are Currently Developing Cybersecurity Apps Using AI?
On the whole, there are a very large number of companies who are involved in creating cybersecurity apps based on AI. The first companies to explore this domain also witnessed a steep incline in their finances. Here are a few instances
DarkTrace is a cybersecurity company founded in 2013. One of its products provides anomaly detection features on networks through machine learning. Currently, this company is worth approximately USD 825 million.
Cylance is another company like Dark Trace and was founded in 2012. One of its products has been developed to prevent high-level cyber attacks. At present, the company has a net worth of USD 1 billion. There are many such companies and in the future, we might see AI running on our individual systems, preventing attacks.
When VPN was created, it was used just by large corporations. It has become a common household name now. This might be the case with AI as well.
AI’s popularity has risen significantly in the past couple of years. A staggeringly large number of startups are exploring this domain along with cybersecurity. According to CB Insights, cybersecurity is the 5th most frequently used AI application in the world.