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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Cybersecurity

AI and Cybersecurity

Artificial intelligence (AI) enables machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, including making decisions, recognizing human speech, perceiving visual elements, and translating languages. AI uses training data to comprehend context and determine how to respond or react in different situations.

Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity is increasingly critical to protecting online systems from attacks by cyber criminals and unauthorized access attempts. If used correctly, AI systems can be trained to enable automatic cyber threat detection, generate alerts, identify new strands of malware, and protect businesses’ sensitive data.

Benefits of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity include leveraging AI techniques—such as deep learning, machine learning (ML), knowledge representation and reasoning, and natural language processing—for a more automated and intelligent cyber defense. In this way, organizations can discover and mitigate the thousands of cyber events that they can come across daily. 

Is It Safe To Automate Cybersecurity?

Strengthening cybersecurity currently requires human intervention. However, tasks such as system monitoring can be automated through AI. Automating the process will increase organizations’ threat intelligence capabilities and save them time discovering new threats. This is vital as cyberattacks increase in sophistication.

Cybersecurity automation using AI is safe because it is built on existing use cases in various business environments. For example, human resources (HR) and information technology (IT) teams use AI to onboard new employees and provide them with the resources and appropriate level of access to do their job effectively. 

Automation is particularly important in cybersecurity given the ongoing shortage of expert security staff. This allows organizations to enhance their security investments and improve operations without having to worry about finding additional skilled personnel. 

The benefits of automating AI in cybersecurity include: 

  1. Cost-efficiency: Pairing cybersecurity with AI results in faster data collection. This makes incident management response more dynamic and efficient. It also removes the need for security professionals to carry out manual, time-consuming tasks so they can focus on more strategic activities that add value to the business.
  2. Removing human error: A common weakness of traditional security defenses is the need for human intervention, which can lead to costly human error. Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity removes the human element from most security processes. This is a more efficient approach because human resources can be reallocated to where they are most required. 
  3. Better decision-making: Automating cybersecurity helps organizations identify and correct potential deficiencies in their security strategy. In this way, they are able to implement formalized procedures that can result in more secure IT environments.

However, organizations also need to be aware that cyber criminals adjust their methods to resist new AI cybersecurity tools. Hackers also use AI to create advanced attacks and deploy new and updated forms of malware to target both traditional and AI-enhanced systems.

How Can AI Help Prevent Cyberattacks?

AI in cybersecurity reinforces cyber threat intelligence, enabling security professionals to:

  1. Search for characteristics of cyberattacks
  2. Strengthen their defenses
  3. Analyze data—such as fingerprints, typing styles, and voice patterns—to authenticate users
  4. Discover clues as to the identity of specific cyberattackers 

Applications of AI in Cybersecurity

Password Protection and Authentication

With AI in cybersecurity, organizations can better protect passwords and secure user accounts through authentication. Most websites include features that allow users to log in to purchase products or contact forms for people to input sensitive data. Extra security layers are necessary to keep their information secure and prevent it from getting into the hands of malicious actors. 

AI tools, such as CAPTCHA, facial recognition, and fingerprint scanners enable organizations to automatically detect whether an attempt to log in to a service is genuine. These solutions help prevent cybercrime tactics like brute-force attacks and credential stuffing, which could put an organization’s entire network at risk.

Phishing Detection and Prevention Control

Phishing remains one of the biggest cybersecurity threats facing businesses across all industries. AI within email security solutions enables companies to discover anomalies and indicators of malicious messages. It can analyze the content and context of emails to quickly find whether they are spam messages, part of phishing campaigns, or legitimate. For example, AI can quickly and easily identify signs of phishing, such as email spoofing, forged senders, and misspelled domain names. 

ML algorithm techniques allow AI to learn from data to make analysis more accurate and evolve to address new threats. It also helps AI better understand how users communicate, their typical behavior, and textual patterns. This is crucial to preventing more advanced threats like spear phishing, which involves attackers attempting to impersonate high-profile individuals like company CEOs. AI can intercept suspicious activity to prevent a spear-phishing attack before it causes damage to corporate networks and systems. 

Vulnerability Management

As cyber criminals deploy more sophisticated methods and techniques, thousands of new vulnerabilities are discovered and reported every year. As a result, businesses struggle to manage the vast volume of new vulnerabilities they encounter every day, and their traditional systems cannot prevent these high-risk threats in real time. 

AI-powered security solutions such as user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) enable businesses to analyze the activity of devices, servers, and users, helping them identify anomalous or unusual behavior that could indicate a zero-day attack. AI in cybersecurity can protect businesses against vulnerabilities they are unaware of before they are officially reported and patched. 

Network Security

Network security involves the time-intensive processes of creating policies and understanding the network’s topography. When policies are in place, organizations can enact processes for identifying legitimate connections versus those that may require inspection for potentially malicious behavior. These policies can also help organizations implement and enforce a zero-trust approach to security

However, creating and maintaining policies across multiple networks requires a significant amount of time and manual effort. Organizations often do not deploy the correct naming conventions for their applications and workloads. This means security teams may have to spend more time determining which workloads belong to specific applications. AI learns organizations’ network traffic patterns over time, allowing it to recommend the right policies and workloads. 

Behavioral Analytics

With behavioral analytics, organizations can identify evolving threats and known vulnerabilities. Traditional security defenses rely on attack signatures and indicators of compromise (IOCs) to discover threats. However, with the thousands of new attacks that cyber criminals launch every year, this approach is not practical.

Organizations can implement behavioral analytics to enhance their threat-hunting processes. It uses AI models to develop profiles of the applications deployed on their networks and process vast volumes of device and user data. Incoming data can then be analyzed against those profiles to prevent potentially malicious activity. 

Benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Managing Cyber Risks

Implementing AI in cybersecurity offers a wide range of benefits for organizations looking to manage their risk. Typical benefits are: 

  1. Ongoing learning: AI’s capabilities constantly improve as it learns from new data. Techniques like deep learning and ML enable AI to recognize patterns, establish a baseline of regular activity, and discover any unusual or suspicious activity that deviates from it. AI’s ability to learn on an ongoing basis makes it more difficult for hackers to circumvent an organization’s defenses. 
  2. Discovering unknown threats: As cyber criminals devise more sophisticated attack vectors, organizations are left vulnerable to unknown threats that could cause massive damage to networks. AI provides a solution for mapping and preventing unknown threats, including vulnerabilities that have yet to be identified or patched by software providers.
  3. Vast data volumes: AI systems can handle and understand vast amounts of data that security professionals cannot. In this way, organizations can automatically discover new threats among vast amounts of data and network traffic that might go undetected by traditional systems. 
  4. Improved vulnerability management: In addition to discovering new threats, AI enables organizations to manage vulnerabilities better. It helps them assess their systems more effectively, improve problem-solving, and make better decisions. It can also identify weak points in networks and systems so that organizations are constantly focused on the most critical security tasks. 
  5. Enhanced overall security posture: Manually managing the risk of a range of threats, from denial-of-service (DoS) and phishing attacks to ransomware, can be difficult and time-consuming. But with AI, organizations are able to detect various types of attacks in real time and efficiently prioritize and prevent risks.
  6. Better detection and response: Threat detection is a necessary element of data and network protection. AI-enabled cybersecurity can result in rapid detection of untrusted data and more systematic and immediate response to new threats.

Future of AI in Cybersecurity

AI in cybersecurity is increasingly playing a pivotal role in the fight against more advanced cyber threats. Because AI continually learns from the data it is exposed to, new technologies built on AI processes and techniques are crucial to identifying the latest threats and preventing hackers from exploiting new vulnerabilities in the quickest time possible. 

How Fortinet Can Help?

Fortinet offers AI-powered cybersecurity solutions to protect organizations against known and emerging cyber threats. FortiAI, which is a deep-learning solution designed specifically to remove the need for time-consuming manual investigation of cyberattacks, enables organizations to accelerate their responses to advanced threats by identifying and classifying attack vectors in real time and instantaneously blocking them from reaching corporate networks. 

FortiAI relies on data from FortiGuard Labs, which provides the latest insight into emerging security threats. FortiAI empowers organizations to detect and protect against the millions of threats that FortiGuard Labs discovers every day.  

FAQs

How is AI used in cybersecurity?

AI in cybersecurity is used to help organizations automatically detect new threats, identify unknown attack vectors, and protect sensitive data.

What is artificial intelligence in cybersecurity?

AI in cybersecurity is the use of techniques like deep learning, machine learning, and natural language processing to build more automated and intelligent security defenses.

How does AI help in cybersecurity?

AI in cybersecurity helps discover and mitigate new cyber events and attack vectors. It allows organizations to keep pace with the evolving threat landscape and handle massive volumes of threats. 

Is AI a benefit or threat to cybersecurity?

AI systems are a huge benefit to organizations’ cybersecurity teams, helping them protect their networks from the latest emerging threats in real time. However, it is worth noting that cyber criminals increasingly use the same AI tools to evolve their attack vectors.