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Role of AI in Cybersecurity: Navigating Threats and Enhancing Defense

Updated: Aug 22, 2023



From streamlining menial tasks to writing reports and organizing inconceivably large data sets AI has become the go-to buzzword defining dynamic innovations in technology today. While AI is often linked with major breakthroughs in science and technology its tentacles can be far reaching.


Navigating the headlines one might think AI has permeated every aspect of our lives. But for cybersecurity professionals, the perceptions just might not be that off from reality. There is seemingly no limit to the level of integration AI can have to amplify security products and better manage cyber risks.


How can organizations leverage AI for cybersecurity?


AI excels in processing and analyzing massive amounts of data that would take even the most gifted analyst ages. In the realm of cybersecurity, AI can assist in quickly determining unusual behavior, flagging hacked code or breached endpoints. Just as important as detecting the threat, AI can implement automation and mediation processes that insulate secure data.


While previous generations of developers were more often than not perpetually bogged down by endless low regard, high volume tasks with even lower chances of finding flaws or outside intervention, today's professionals, with the help of AI can vastly improve detection while dramatically altering broader risk visibility.


From vastly improving system transparency, automating menial tasks and amping up the processing power to be able to search and mitigate threats near instantaneously, AI tools can provide significant value to the risk meditation process.


What are the challenges and limitations of AI in cybersecurity?


When the general public thinks of AI they often blend the highlights of the terminator films and technology with endless possibilities and few firm constraints of their limitations. In practice, today’s AI is successful when hyper-segmenting and nowhere close to achieving the level of so-called ‘Artificial General intelligence.’


According to Security Boulevard “there is a nascent but potentially growing threat landscape in which malicious actors use AI to penetrate weak systems or exploit the complexities of cybersecurity systems that rely on AI. In other words, cybercriminals are often using the same technologies to attack and penetrate systems as organizations use for defense.”


Over reliance on AI or the perception that AI is a limitless cure-all for all cyber-related risk will leave your networks and data at risk.


“The fact of the matter is that AI and ML are not, on their own, silver bullets for your security operations center (SOC),” said Kazerounian. “Not making use of them, however, would leave your SOC woefully in the dark when it comes to a wide range of current and future attacks.”


Can AI predict cyber threats before they occur?


AI can vastly improve the processing of massive data sets, and streamline menial tasks with an error level far below human capabilities. With all the hype in the news cycle, executives worldwide are shifting resources and altering strategies to make AI a central focus in both threat detection and mitigation.


Blackberry supports these claims in their recent research that found that “the majority (82%) of IT decision-makers plan to invest in AI-driven cybersecurity in the next two years and almost half (48%) plan to invest before the end of 2023.”


But can AI not only detect risk but find them before they even occur, a la minority report?


According to the Cyber Management Alliance, the potential application of predictive AI within cybersecurity has significant upside and viable permutations applicable today. From optimizing automotive threat monitoring, and improving incident response analysis to detecting suspicious behavior on social media or notifying admins or zero day vulnerabilities predictive AI can bring value to cybersecurity risk management in the here and now.


The Future of AI in Cybersecurity


While some might project a future dominated by AI in all aspects of our collective lives, the reality often falls short of the jetson-esk expectations. Within Cybersecurity, the possibilities for currently available AI technologies to make a major impact are clear and present. Moreso, the prospects of AI managing menial tasks, and optimizing its data crunching power to detect threats and mitigate zero day attacks are tangibly growing by the moment.


For some the future of AI is already here. With AI increasingly powering antivirus software and detecting cyber criminals. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. From highly efficient malware analysis and password management to vulnerability management process and broader threat detection, AI could revolutionize how developers monitor and ensure their products are secure.



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