A Deeper Understanding Of AI In Cybersecurity

ai in cybersecurity

Over the past few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been advancing in leaps and bounds. Generative AI is changing the landscape of creativity, while machine learning is being used to not only train AI engines to become more intelligent, but helping us to analyse data in more meaningful ways, and automating mundane processes to give us more time in our days and allow us to focus on growing our businesses.

One area which has also seen substantial growth is the number of companies using AI in cybersecurity. With cyberattacks becoming ever more sophisticated, and attackers themselves using Artificial Intelligence to their advantage, it’s critical for businesses around the world to find ways of leveraging the technology to protect themselves.

In this article, I explore the different aspects of AI and how it can be applied to cybersecurity, as well as how both businesses and attackers are using AI in this field.

Getting A Deeper Understanding Of AI

Before I dive into the specifics of using AI for cybersecurity, it’s important to understand the different types of AI that exist. While most people tend to think of AI as a single technology, there are actually various forms that fall under its umbrella. Some of these include:

• Assisted Intelligence

Assisted Intelligence, also known as weak AI, is the most common form of AI used today. It refers to any system that is designed to assist with specific tasks or solve a particular problem. Examples of assisted intelligence in cybersecurity include antivirus software, intrusion detection systems and firewalls.

• Augmented Intelligence

While assisted intelligence helps with specific tasks, augmented intelligence is designed to enhance human performance and decision-making. In cybersecurity, this could involve using AI-powered tools to analyse large amounts of data and identify potential threats that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

• Autonomous Intelligence

This form of AI is the most advanced and refers to systems that can operate without any human intervention. Examples include self-driving cars and autonomous drones. In cybersecurity, autonomous intelligence is still in its early stages, but there are already developments in using AI to automate threat detection and response.

• Machine Learning

Machine learning is a subset of AI that involves training algorithms on large datasets to enable them to recognise patterns and make predictions. In cybersecurity, machine learning can be used for tasks such as identifying malware or detecting anomalies in network traffic.

• Expert Systems

Expert systems are AI programs that mimic the decision-making abilities of a human expert in a specific field. In cybersecurity, these systems can be used to make decisions on whether to block or allow access to certain websites based on predefined rules and policies.

• Neural Networks

Neural networks are a type of machine learning algorithm that is modelled after the structure and function of the human brain. In cybersecurity, neural networks can be used for tasks such as identifying patterns in user behaviour to detect potential insider threats.

• Deep Learning

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that involves training algorithms on even larger datasets and multiple layers of information. In cybersecurity, deep learning can be used to identify complex threats that may involve many different factors and variables.

How Can You Apply AI To Further Your Cybersecurity?

While the use of AI in cybersecurity is still relatively new, there are already several ways in which it can be applied to enhance your security measures and protect against cyber threats. Here are some examples:

• IT Asset Inventory

AI can be used to automatically scan and detect all devices connected to a network, creating an accurate and up-to-date inventory. This can help identify any unauthorised or vulnerable devices that may pose a security risk. Having an accurate inventory can be a great asset, particularly if your business has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place which allows your humans to work from their own machines, or if you’re worried about Shadow IT – the practice of your teams finding and using apps that help them to work more efficiently, without your being aware of what they are or the data that they’re accessing.

• Threat Exposure

Beyond simply providing an inventory of your assets, AI-powered threat intelligence platforms can also help you to identify vulnerabilities within your systems and devices, giving you the opportunity to address them early, before attackers can take advantage of them. This threat exposure helps businesses to prioritise maintenance, updates and even infrastructure replacements to keep themselves as protected as possible and ensure maximum business continuity.

• Effective Controls

AI can be used to optimise and automate security controls, helping to reduce human error and ensure that your systems are always protected. This can include tasks such as automatically updating software patches, implementing access controls, and detecting and blocking suspicious activity.

• Responding To Incidents

Because AI can help to identify cyber incidents quickly and accurately, it gives your humans the opportunity to respond to any vulnerabilities or threats before they become full-blown attacks. By incorporating AI tools into your Incident Response Plan or Disaster Recovery Plan, you can ensure that your business is well-equipped to recognise potential attacks and react to them in the right way.

• Gaining A Better Understanding Of Threats

AI can help businesses gain a deeper understanding of the constantly evolving threat landscape. By analysing data from various sources, including social media, dark web forums, and network logs, AI can identify trends and patterns in cybercrime activities. This information can then be used to anticipate potential attacks and strengthen your cybersecurity defences accordingly.

How Are Your Competitors Using AI To Further Their Cybersecurity?

AI in cybersecurity is not just a concept for the future, it is already being used by businesses and organisations around the world. Here are some AI in cybersecurity examples that show how competitors are leveraging the tools to enhance their IT security efforts:

• Finance Sector

The global banking giant HSBC has employed AI in its cybersecurity measures to combat financial fraud. The bank uses AI to monitor transactions, analysing patterns and identifying unusual activity that could suggest fraudulent behaviour. The system is also used to detect phishing attempts, helping to protect customers’ personal and financial information. This proactive and innovative approach to cybersecurity provides an additional layer of defence, drastically reducing the instances of cybercrime and offering customers peace of mind.

• Retail Sector

UK-based small business, ABC Retailers, is another great example of a company that has integrated AI into its cybersecurity strategy. The firm uses AI technology to analyse customer transactions and behaviours in real-time, helping to detect any suspicious activities that deviate from the norm. This system has been successful in identifying and preventing potential fraud attempts before they can cause harm. They also use AI to enhance their threat intelligence, identifying potential vulnerabilities in the company’s IT infrastructure and providing actionable insights to strengthen the security measures. This proactive approach has ensured that ABC Retailers remains resilient in the face of evolving cyber threats.

• Ecommerce Sector

The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, takes advantage of AI technology to ensure the cybersecurity of its vast digital infrastructure. Their AI algorithms are constantly at work scanning for suspicious activity, identifying potential threats and mitigating them before they can cause any damage. With the sheer volume of transactions taking place on Amazon daily, manual monitoring would be virtually impossible. But with AI, Amazon can ensure the security of its customers’ data and the integrity of its services. The system also learns from each interaction, enhancing its ability to detect and prevent future threats.

• Manufacturing Sector

As a multinational engineering and technology company, Bosch has integrated AI into its cybersecurity strategy to protect its manufacturing facilities. The company uses AI to monitor its industrial control systems, identifying potential vulnerabilities and alerting the appropriate team when anomalies are detected. This system greatly reduces the risk of cyber threats and industrial espionage, securing not only Bosch’s intellectual property but also the integrity of their manufacturing processes. AI’s capability to learn from past incidents and predict future threats makes it a key player in Bosch’s cybersecurity arsenal.

• Healthcare Sector

The healthcare sector has been increasingly targeted by cybercriminals due to the wealth of personal and medical data it holds. To combat this, many healthcare providers are turning to AI for enhanced cybersecurity. For instance, IBM’s Watson for Cyber Security uses cognitive technology to analyse vast amounts of data from an array of sources, detecting anomalies that could indicate a cyber threat. Watson not only identifies potential threats but also suggests ways to counteract them, reducing response time and enhancing data security. Similarly, AI is helping healthcare providers meet compliance requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US, by scanning for non-compliant data handling practices and suggesting remedial steps. This proactive use of AI in protecting patient data is increasing trust in healthcare services and paving the way for more widespread use of digital health records and telemedicine services.

How Are Cyberattackers Using AI?

Unfortunately, it’s not only businesses that are using AI to their advantage. Cybercriminals are also leveraging the power of AI tools to further their attacks by automating and expediting their malicious activities, making it harder for traditional cybersecurity measures to detect and respond in time. Some common ways cyberattackers are using AI include:

Automated Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks have long been a popular method for cybercriminals to steal sensitive data or install malware on a victim’s device. With AI, these attacks can be automated, making it easier for cyberattackers to target more victims and increase their success rates.

Social Engineering: Social engineering involves manipulating individuals into divulging confidential information or performing an action that could compromise security. AI-powered chatbots are becoming increasingly sophisticated at impersonating real people, making it harder for individuals to recognise and avoid falling victim to these threats. We have even seen attackers using AI to replicate the voices of people that you might know to use within their social engineering attacks, making them ever more dangerous.

Malware Detection Evasion: AI can be used to create malware that is able to evade traditional threat detection methods. By constantly adapting and learning from its environment, this type of malware can go undetected by security systems until it has already caused significant damage.

Password Cracking: With the help of AI, cybercriminals can now automate the process of Brute-Force attacks, where they try to guess passwords by attempting every possible combination. This method can be very time-consuming and requires a lot of computing power, but AI is able to automate this process and greatly increase the chances of success.

How Can You Use AI To Combat These Artificially Intelligent Attacks?

While it may seem daunting that cyberattackers are using AI against us, it’s important to remember that you can also use AI for good in cybersecurity. Here are just a few ways that you can use AI tools to combat artificially intelligent attacks:

Combatting Automated Phishing: AI can be an effective tool against automated phishing attacks. By leveraging Machine Learning algorithms, AI systems can learn to identify patterns and anomalies that signal a phishing attempt. These can include unusual email patterns, suspicious links, or the manipulation of familiar logos in an attempt to trick the recipient. AI can also help you to detect and block phishing websites by analysing website behaviours and the use of common phishing terminology.

Thwarting Social Engineering Attacks: AI can be instrumental in fighting against social engineering attacks by implementing Natural Language Processing techniques. AI can analyse communication and flag any suspicious patterns or anomalies like sudden changes in email writing style, unusual requests, or suspicious language patterns. You can also use AI to educate your humans by simulating potential social engineering attacks, improving their ability to identify and respond to these threats effectively. The greater the exposure to such simulations, the better prepared your humans will be to confront actual threats, fortifying your overall cybersecurity posture.

Counteracting Malware Detection Evasion: While malware often deploys sophisticated algorithms to making traditional detection systems ineffective, AI uses anomaly detection models to identify usual behaviours or deviations from the norm. These models are continually learning and adapting to new potential threats, enhancing their ability to identify and respond to malware, even in its most concealed forms.

Defending Against Password Cracking: AI-based password protection systems can learn and evolve based on user behaviour, making it substantially more difficult for cyberattackers to crack passwords. For example, AI systems can identify behavioural patterns such as typing speed, commonly used devices, and regular login times to flag any unusual activities. On top of that, AI can also help in developing stronger password policies by analysing prevailing cracking strategies and advising on password complexity that can resist these tactics efficiently.

How Can Solid Systems Help?

Using AI in cybersecurity can be a daunting prospect, as you may have already realised. There is so much potential behind AI tools, but how can you make sure that you’re putting them to the best use for your business to keep yourself as protected as possible? This is where having the right technology partner can be one of your biggest assets.

Solid Systems has spent over two decades helping businesses to protect their data, their assets and their users. But more than that, we LOVE seeing the advancements in technology like AI and what how they are helping humans to work more productively, effectively, and securely. Our certified IT Pros are always upskilling themselves on the latest cybersecurity trends and techniques, ensuring that when you partner with SOLID as your Managed IT Services Provider, you are getting the best possible support, advice, strategic technology planning and more, to see your business not just achieving your long-term goals, but exceeding them.

Want to learn more about how Solid Systems can make the use of AI in cybersecurity the best option for your business? Schedule a free consult with us today, and let’s see you stepping into the future with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AI in cybersecurity?

AI in cybersecurity refers to the use of artificial intelligence technology to identify and respond to cyber threats. It enables automated detection of anomalies, accelerates response times, and predicts potential vulnerabilities. The implementation of AI in cybersecurity improves system resilience and bolsters overall data protection measures.

What is the main challenge of using AI in cybersecurity?

The main challenge of using AI in cybersecurity lies in its complexity and the expertise needed to manage it. AI systems require large amounts of high-quality data to learn effectively and can be prone to false positives. As AI-based security solutions evolve, so do the methods that cybercriminals use, which is why AI platforms need regular training and updating. This is where having the right technology partner by your side to help you implement, train and maintain the right AI tools for your business can be one of your biggest assets.

Is AI replacing cyber security?

AI is not replacing cybersecurity, but rather boosting it. The use of AI in cybersecurity helps in automating tasks, identifying threats faster, and responding to incidents more efficiently. However, AI is a tool to assist cybersecurity professionals, not replace them, as the human judgement remains essential for strategic decision-making and managing complex situations.

Michael Claxton

Michael Claxton

Co-Founder and CEO of Solid Systems | I am a father of two, and a mentor of many. My calm focus makes me a natural leader, both in and out the office, and I have a unique skill in nurturing leadership qualities in others as well. But most of all, I understand the true value of time and the ways that technology can optimise efficiency within a business and see humans making the most of the time available to them, both in terms of productivity, and in terms of personal growth. 

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