Artificial intelligence is emerging and being developed at a rapid pace. Many use it for well-intentioned actions, such as software development - however, AI can also be misused. Cybersecurity is relevant for everyone, and AI can be used on either side of the law.
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a high-tech invention that is essentially designed to make machines think. This means that the machines must be able to perform an action, such as beating a person in a game of chess.
There are two basic ways of thinking about AI; programs that behave like humans, meaning they think like humans; and programs that base knowledge on logic, meaning they think logically to solve different tasks.
There are many advantages to using AI in cybersecurity, as it quickly learns systems and can spot weaknesses.
Rapid detection of the cyber threat
By using AI, you can get a better and faster understanding of your systems. AI can, in addition to providing insight into the systems, provide an assessment of the threat landscape that each company faces.
AI can sift through oceans of data in a very short time, assessing anomalies in the systems and potential entry points for cybercriminals to use. With the rapid analysis of data and software, AI can also shorten the attack time in zero-day attacks, for example.
The holes that AI detects can also be quickly patched by the technology - it is quick and easy patching that minimizes the time for the hacker to penetrate the company's systems. AI is generally much quicker at detecting coding errors in software than the IT managers.
AI will help IT departments to reroute traffic on loaded systems and alert the IT department to the problem so they can try and fix it.
Accurate and efficient technology
AI-based cybersecurity is more effective than regular and manual evaluation of software for a business. Again, AI is undeniably faster than humans, which means that you can be constantly updated in your systems with AI.
In addition, AI can recognize different patterns in algorithms that many humans and IT managers will have a hard time seeing through. This leads to a more accurate assessment and handling of the malware and malicious activity. In addition to being fast, AI-based cybersecurity can free up the IT department to focus on other tasks. AI is thus a support in IT's work tasks, which should ease the pressure that may be on them - especially in relation to cybersecurity.
The response time to malicious activity in a company's software is minimized with AI because it is a machine that analyzes other machines. In addition to minimizing the response time, you will often see a reduction in financial expenses by using AI. You will be able to save time and resources by using AI that can quickly detect malware. If you get ahead of the hacker with AI, you ensure that they cannot access personal data. This prevents it from ending up on the dark web or in a ransomware attack.
AI-powered technology can identify malware and malicious activity. One way it does this is by correlating different data points. When AI does this, it can proactively protect systems.
Risks of depending on AI
Although the efficiency favour using AI in your cybersecurity - and many companies around the world use it - there are various risks that you as a company must consider before implementing it in your cybersecurity.
When making decisions, AI can be misled by various factors - this can be both in relation to information and algorithms that may be shaped in a certain way. If AI is corrupted or influenced by the wrong algorithms, it can end up discriminating different groups and people - this can have severe consequences for the company if it goes that far.
If a decision made by AI is based on a bias, it could lead to false positives, thus blocking legitimate users from accessing company sites and systems. This could lead to loss of customers and a bad reputation for the company.
In addition, there is a risk that the algorithms on which AI bases its knowledge are not transparent, so you cannot control and see what information AI is pulling in. AI can be difficult to interpret, which makes it even more difficult to understand the decisions it makes.
Moreover, it is not only those on the right side of the law who have access to AI. AI can be programmed to quickly detect gaps in the coding chain and patterns - this knowledge is invaluable to hackers as it makes their work much easier. They can access personal data much more easily using AI.
Examples of the use of AI in cyber attacks
Cybercriminals can use AI for several different purposes:
- Hackers can easily create new malware with AI, and thus carry out zero-day attacks on companies. They risk not detecting the attack until major damage has been done.
- AI can create new and more sophisticated phishing attacks. AI thinks like humans and can write and adapt phishing to make it harder for machines to catch phishing before it reaches the inbox.
- Analyze and collect data far faster than the hackers themselves. This can identify new entry points and opportunities for attacks.
- AI can easily create deepfakes - both video and audio - for social engineering.
- Finally, AI can also create new attack methods and generate new hacking tools.
One of the reasons why the aforementioned examples are possible is that AI relies on datasets that can be biased and false positives. This can give a false sense of security and lead to serious real-world consequences.
Best practices when using AI for cybersecurity
AI can be a revolutionary feature in the future of cybersecurity. AI can detect abnormalities in software systems. It can find vulnerabilities and malware that could pose a threat to your business.
It can improve a company's (cyber)security posture. You can implement the following best practices:
- Have clear objectives: you need to know what you want to use AI for and how to use it.
- Use accurate and right data. By using accurate data, you can create correct and accurate AI models. In addition, you should verify the results that AI produces.
- Use multiple AI algorithms to detect potential security breaches. By using several different ones, you can better identify and respond to the threat.
- Keep an eye on the results. By keeping an eye on the AI's results, you can more quickly see if the AI should deviate from the norm, and thus correct the error faster.
The best solution for using AI to monitor cybersecurity is to combining technology with people, i.e. creating a collaboration between the machine and the IT department. This is the best way to ensure that AI works as it should, while at the same time reducing the workload for the IT department.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.