The Future of IT Security: 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Game
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the dynamics of many organisations across almost every industry. Companies and the leaders at the helm of these businesses have long realised the benefits of harnessing AI algorithms in their daily operations. From automating and streamlining various business processes to preventing fraud to enhancing data analytics for targeted marketing and better decision making, the impact of AI on enterprises has been nothing short of groundbreaking.
Now while AI development and technological advancement in general has paved the way for various innovations, it has also opened many opportunities for malicious actors to exploit. This is why artificial intelligence has been a major boon but somewhat a bane as well to the IT security industry. Let’s start with the negative ways that AI has affected online security.
IT Security in an AI-Reliant Era
The growing dependence on AI and machine learning solutions has altered the cyberthreat environment. Some of the challenges that the IT security sector faces include:
Adversarial attacks. Adversarial attacks are malicious attacks on data that may seem above board to the human eye but are actually intended to deceive classifiers in a machine learning pipeline. It entails manipulating ML algorithms by injecting deceptive data and/or exploiting vulnerabilities, thus causing malfunction in the model and leading to misclassification or compromised security. For instance, some studies have shown that making small, indiscernible changes to an image can deceive a medical data analysis system into misclassifying a benign mole as malignant.
AI-driven phishing campaigns. When we say that most organisations are utilising AI, this means even cyber criminals are too. Artificial intelligence has greatly enhanced phishing campaigns, with attackers creating extremely convincing and contextually accurate phishing messages using AI-powered content. Further, the volume of phishing emails and texts have significantly risen now that hackers don’t have to spend as much time crafting and refining messages. The potential volume could easily overwhelm average users, traditional email filtering tools, and enterprise cyber security departments.
False Positives and False Negatives. AI-powered security solutions may generate false positives and false negatives. False positives flag legitimate activities or transactions as security threats, causing unnecessary disruption, alert fatigue, and resource wastage. False negatives, on the other hand, indicate that threats have remained undetected, allowing malicious activity within the system to continue. There are several reasons why online security systems may give false positive or false negative alerts. These include insufficient training data, lack of contextual information, adversarial ML attacks, and attack techniques that have evolved to avoid detection.
AI-Powered Defence to Counter Evolving Cyberthreats
Despite these challenges, AI-driven systems are still the best answer to defend against the rapidly-evolving threats in the IT security environment. Here are 5 ways in which artificial intelligence and its algorithms are being leveraged, proving to be invaluable in the cyber security landscape:
Threat/Vulnerability detection. AI plays a major role in the defensive side of things, starting with its applications in sophisticated threat detection. Online security professionals utilise AI-powered solutions to probe into immense volumes of code and data to detect potential weak points and zero-day vulnerabilities, and to identify patterns that could indicate malicious activity and possible security breaches. These AI tools indicate the organisations’ determination to adopt a proactive approach and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
Incident response automation. In today’s highly-digital world where cyber breaches continue to be a threat (41.9 million records compromised in March 2023 alone), it’s important to be able to respond to security incidents quickly and effectively. AI-driven incident response automation tools automatically analyses and correlates data to identify and triage incidents that threaten the enterprise. These security solutions can autonomously perform tasks such as isolating compromised systems, blocking suspicious traffic, and triggering alerts for incidents that may require further investigation. This helps minimise potential damage and increase the efficiency of the IT security team.
Internal testing and vulnerability assessment. Artificial intelligence systems are also being utilised by security teams for internal testing procedures. As compared to traditional methods, AI-driven techniques have allowed assessment tasks such as penetration testing, vulnerability scans, and code analysis to be carried out more effectively and productively. AI tools incorporate advanced features such as automatic detection of security flaws, comprehensive data analysis, and adaptation to new threats into the internal testing process which boosts the business’ overall security.
Intelligent Authentication and User Behaviour Analytics. Using AI systems can improve authentication mechanisms. This can be done by incorporating biometrics—facial recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint scans—to fortify access controls, and monitoring behavioural patterns to ensure proper authentication. In addition, user behaviour patterns can also be further analysed to detect anomalous activities that could indicate compromised accounts.
Predictive analytics. AI and machine learning are valuable tools as well in helping ensure protection against alarmingly sophisticated malware, ransomware, phishing, and social engineering attacks. Grounded in its capability for contextual reasoning, AI can synthesise data and draw statistical inferences which can help in predictive modelling and anomaly detection, and in turn, assist in predicting and mitigating threats.
Strengthen Your IT Security with AI
Defending against advanced threats in the cyber landscape requires new tools that are capable of protecting your company. This where AI-powered solutions can be your answer. Talk to your managed services provider today to find out what AI tools would best fit in your security arsenal.