Tag Archive cyber security

ByJayanthi

AI and Cyber security

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Artificial intelligence” or “AI” is a word that has been generously splashed all over and is omnipresent in our lives today and yet most of us are hardly aware of it. From Siri to Alexa to spam filters to smart searches, AI is powering our lives and simplifying it wherever we go.  

What is AI and how does AI work?

In simple terms, AI is a part of Computer Science that tries to simulate human intelligence in machines. Machine learning is a sub-topic of AI and is used along with AI or independently. 

Considering ‘gmail’ as an example, have you ever wondered how regular unwanted email gets pushed into the  “Spam” folders? One way “spam” can be detected is by making use of AI. By carefully studying hundreds and thousands of messages, the machine learns that the messages with certain “keywords” fall into “Spam”.  In our example here, the machine is trained to be “artificially intelligent” to detect “spam”.

This type of learning is close to our learning process as well. The more we read, understand and comprehend – the more decisions we can take. 

We can also see AI and ML(machine learning) powering the job sector with bots speaking to job seekers and helping them get an appropriate  job.

Cyber security:

“Cyber security” is a branch of study which is used to secure personal and business assets through various means and possibilities (like firewalls, VPNs, anti-virus definitions and more) It also involves studying different types of attacks and preventing them in addition to in-depth topics like phishing, ransomware, pen testing, vulnerability assessment and more.

This is a minimal list of cyber security duties –

The cyber security analyst is expected to read a lot of network data in traffic packets and understand the patterns and anomalies in them. This will enable them to detect threats early and sound the alarm for organizations to prevent breaches. Cyber security engineers also work to detect viruses by comparing new files against a signature list of virus definitions.  

So, what happens when “cyber security” makes use of AI?

There are many ways where AI helps cyber security:

  1. Human beings get weary and tired of doing network analysis for a prolonged period of time. Detecting threats and tuning applications is a tedious job, and prone to errors as fatigue sets in. “Alert fatigue” is real and human beings get exhausted looking for patterns and anomalies in the network. This is where AI steps in to enable the user to detect threats more easily. Machines never tire and the power of “artificial intelligence”  and “machine learning” is harnessed by using algorithms that detect “keyword matching, statistics monitoring, anomaly detection”(Source: https://resources.infosecinstitute.com/ai-in-cybersecurity/#gref)
  2. AI systems are also trained to detect malware in software rather than only human beings doing it. 
  3. Making the users click on malicious links in an email is the simplest form of hacking. Innocent users click on poisonous links that lead them to part with their precious data. These phishing emails can also be detected by using AI by employing appropriate algorithms.
  4. The power of artificial intelligence can also be harnessed when responding to security incidents. Human intelligence and artificial machine intelligence can work together to speed up detection and response times to security incidents.

These are some ways that cyber security engineers can make use of AI. But it has be remembered that AI can be used by hackers and other miscreants for their own benefit too. It is up to cyber security professionals to keep ahead of the game and thwart them with appropriate techniques.

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