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9 Big Questions About AI in Cyber Security — Answered

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Even
though most people in developed nations have a familiarity with technology —
e.g. they have smartphones, use the internet, etc. — most people don’t truly
understand artificial intelligence. Movies and TV often depict AI as sentient
software inside a human-shaped robot that exists in an unfamiliar future. As a
result, many people often develop empathy toward AI, believing it to have
thoughts and feelings like you and me, while also believing AI is something
that won’t come to pass in their lifetimes.

The truth is that AI isn’t sentient; it
isn’t even conscious. Further, AI isn’t only in some far-distant future; it
exists now, and it is already being applied in fields like cyber security to boost
software functionality and improve people’s lives. Some questions you might
have include “What?” and “How?” — and we’re going to answer all of those right
here.

1. What Is AI?

Artificial intelligence is a type of
software that makes decisions based on certain data, similar to how human
brains make decisions using the information they have gathered. While AI
doesn’t perfectly mimic the human brain or decision-making process,
improvements in AI science and technology have created applications that can
take in huge amounts of data and analyze it effectively in a short period of
time.

2. What Is the Difference Between AI and Machine Learning?

The meaning of AI continues to morph as
experts and non-experts use the term to describe varied concepts and solutions.
At present, AI is a wide field in which we strive to make computers behave in
ways once thought to require human intelligence. Meanwhile, machine learning is
a relatively confined field in which we build algorithms that allow computers
to automatically improve through experience. Machine learning is often
considered a branch of AI.

3. Is It Possible to Detect Cyber Attacks Before They Happen?

A “Minority Report”–style precog system
isn’t exactly what AI is like. Instead, because all cyber-attacks follow a cyber kill chain, a
series of steps that allows infiltration and execution of any attack, AI can
catch the first stages of the attack and stop it before any real damage is
done. You might say that AI is detecting the cyber attack before it happens,
but in truth AI systems are recognizing the early signs of an attack already in
progress.

4. How Does AI Work in Malware Detection?

In non-AI-backed security, security firms
need to swiftly identify individual malware signatures to add to a list that
antimalware programs apply to keep users safe. Unfortunately, malware is
evolving at a break-neck pace, and many cyber security firms are struggling to
keep their signature lists adequately updated.

Meanwhile, AI-backed security can remain
effective against malware threats for longer without human intervention. This
is because AI doesn’t rely on lists of malware signatures to identify malware;
it instead learns about common signatures and extrapolates trends to stay ahead
of the curve. The AI system is trained to distinguish between malware and
non-malware using information like accessed APIs, consumed processor power,
environmental products and amount of transmitted data.

5. What Types of AI Are Used in Cyber Security?

 AI
is useful in cyber security because security experts cannot be on hand to scour
every piece of data on all devices around the globe. Plus, AI-backed security
can do more to identify threats that human security experts have never seen
before. Here are some of the application categories for AI in cyber security:

  • User authentication
  • Spam filters
  • Network intrusion detection and prevention
  • Fraud detection
  • Botnet detection
  • Hacking forecasting

6. What Is an Example of an AI Algorithm Used in Security?

There are many open-source AI projects that
can give you greater insight into how AI security tools work. For example, in
Spamassassin, an AI project built for spam mail filtering, analyzes features
from emails using the Naive Bayes
algorithm to determine whether the message is spam or not. In truth, this
is a machine learning algorithm.

7. Is AI Successful in Cyber Security?

AI remains a relatively new technology, and
as the technology changes, its success rate will also change. However, various
research on AI used in detecting cyber attacks has found success rates between
85 and 99 percent.

8. What Companies Use AI in Cyber Security?

It’s safe to say that all major security firms are working on AI products. While some security companies jumped on AI sooner than others, it’s likely that most trusted cyber security solutions will have some AI functionality in the coming years.

9. Where Can You Get More Info About AI?

The web is filled with valuable information about artificial intelligence largely because it is the internet that has allowed the availability of data necessary to build functional AI. You can read in-depth articles about AI at websites like Machinelearnings.co and Cybrml.com, or you can take courses on the subject from Google as well as top-tier universities like Stanford and Columbia.

[Image via: Google Images]

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