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How Can We Use AI In Cybersecurity To Detect Threats And Exploits

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By: Manik

July 29, 2020

For years, we have dreamed of the moment that we see unbelievably advanced technology, like flying cars, time machines, and many others, just like in the movies. Slowly, but surely, we take a step closer to that future. Many have dreams and hopes, and out of them, one stands above all. That reigning aspect would be none other than "Artificial Intelligence". Whenever the term "Artificial Intelligence" (AI) comes to anyone's mind, the first thought they focus on is robots being able to think and work like humans. This thinking often comes with the aspect of robots replacing human beings, but that is not the case. To explain it further, let's move onto the first and most crucial question.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence, in simple terms, refers to the development of a simulated machine with the capability of thinking like human beings and mimicking their actions. With this in mind, the primary purpose of artificial intelligence is to have something in existence that would have highly efficient problem-solving abilities without requiring much time or wasting many resources. Now when we talk about technology, we will never be able to overlook safety with regards to technology. While being extremely crucial, cybersecurity is also the most significant factor in technological protection. Artificial Intelligence has grown a tremendous amount, ranging from simple botnets to witty AI devices like Siri or Google Home, over the years. As these advancements come into action, artificial intelligence slowly steps further and further into cybersecurity. These small, yet crucial, steps drastically impact cyberspace. Conversing over these factors, let's talk about various thoughts that pop into one's mind.

What role does AI play in cybersecurity?

Where the automation of everything is the go-to for everyone, artificial intelligence provides an ability to achieve it. There are millions and millions of websites and vulnerabilities across the internet that must be safe from cyber-attacks. For that purpose, artificial intelligence comes into perspective. With certain security levels in check, AI can be used to detect various sorts of cyber-attacks across different platforms. A single term, yet an infinite number of patterns, can be used to compare incoming cyber-attacks. A single instance indicating a security breach will trigger the AI's security phase and take various actions that possess high priority during the incident.

All of the above was just a basic level of detection. While stepping onto the advanced artificial intelligence stage, let's talk about how it can prevent a cyber-attack. Artificial intelligence, being able to think and act like a human being, will analyze the entire system for vulnerabilities, causing severe damage. With that being said, AI will step ahead and initiate the patching of those vulnerabilities to lower the chances of a breach. These steps will also depend on the advancement of the level of the AI system itself, of course. With AI in the picture, the limitation imposed on time and thinking power exists no more; and the result is nothing but an absolute advancement. All of this is how AI becomes a part of cybersecurity. Now, when we think about it, we often stumble upon a thought which makes us wonder as to how AI will behave for a specific cyber aspect. We will go over this a bit later. Before that, let's talk about the future of AI in cybersecurity.

What is the future scope of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity?

When it comes to the benefits of usage, AI can be a very significant and an efficient ally. Artificial intelligence has constant growth, without pause, and keeps on learning and adapting various patterns across the internet, which can help defend against hackers. Machine learning, a component of artificial intelligence, works with existing data to improve the efficiency of use and to strategize objectives. In regards to machine learning, artificial intelligence learns human behavior and detects even a small variation. Although, why does this even matter? The answer is, why not. Comparing the acts committed traditionally and through AI, the latter would prove to be more efficient and beneficial. Many public and private sectors are adopting AI as a primary source for various uses because of cost efficiency and the extraordinary output.

When it comes to security, many security engineers take a lot of time to determine what steps to protect an organization's assets. This decision highly depends on the capability of the engineer and the type of incident that took place. It is the exact opposite when it comes to artificial intelligence. The AI will continuously collect data, analyze the variation in it, and, if found, take steps to prevent a cyber-attack, all within a matter of a few seconds, without wasting many resources or pausing business production. AI can efficiently detect small changes as well, which otherwise could have gone unnoticed. With advancing technology, artificial intelligence keeps growing and is becoming more and more reliable. It is safe to say that the future will rely on artificial intelligence for all sorts of things. AI, being very advantageous, brings a lot of challenges to cybersecurity as well. What would those be? Let's have a look into them.

Challenges of AI in cybersecurity.

AI has been growing day by day, and a lot of firms have adopted artificial intelligence for their business use. Where AI holds solutions to a lot of issues, it also holds threats to the business. As mentioned earlier, AI learns and adapts to human behavior and acts on that pattern if any variation appears. Due to the same reason, AI algorithms are generating a false sense of security. In other words, the algorithm would mark data with different labels, including malware, clean data, or anything else. If cybercriminals get access to those data sets, they can alter the "label" of the data and use it maliciously. The challenges don't just end there. The firms that rely on artificial intelligence for routine tasks can be at a loss since advanced cybercriminals can manipulate the algorithm through the use of machine learning. Despite these challenges, artificial intelligence continuously minimizes security responsibilities and provides a high-quality output. All of this brings us to the last, yet not the least question.

How does AI work within various aspects of cybersecurity?

This is the foremost question that comes to mind. There are many aspects of cybersecurity that could cause severe damage. With AI taking over automation, it is safe to say that we will possess security against these aspects to an extreme extent. What would those aspects be, and how will we remain safe? Those aspects are nothing but cyber-threats that can use the following application categories:

  • Botnet Detection
  • Fraud Detection
  • Phishing attack detection
  • Network intrusion detection and prevention
  • Secure authentication, and many more

Staying secure in all aspects has been the priority of people for ages. It could be physical protection, mental protection, or digital protection. A lot of times, one is not able to pay much attention to the threat which they need protection against. For that purpose, AI is here; and it has begun, and will continue, to think and act like a human being throughout time.

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