AI providing both challenges and opportunities for cyber security

It’s clear that the age of AI is upon us. ChatGPT, Bing and Google are all developing AI systems that can mimic areas of human behaviour.

It isn’t just blog posts and Valentine’s cards that AI his helping us with. It’s every area of business, from process automation to security.

Like most innovations, the early stages of AI provide both challenges and opportunities. It is being used for and against businesses.

One aspect of that is cyber security.

In an area populated by automated systems ands bots, how will AI change the cyber security landscape?

AI and the business challenges

Like all areas of technological development, AI can be used as a force for evil.

For example:

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

APT attacks are long term intrusions into networks that take many more resources than a typical hack.

There is some evidence that AI is being used to help avoid detection and remain within networks to perform a number of nefarious tasks.

Vulnerability detection

Bots have long been used to detect vulnerabilities in network security and AI is likely to take over from bots soon.

Their speed of operation and of learning makes them the perfect tool for scanning websites, identifying vulnerabilities and communicating those vulnerabilities to other processes performing scans.

Malware design and adaptation

The time it took for a programmer to adapt code to advances in defences gave us breathing space between attacks to prepare for the next.

The speed at which AI can understand and modify code means far less time between attack types. Rather than days or weeks before malware is modified, it could be seconds!

AI and the business opportunities

The time of AI also provides opportunities as well as challenges for business.

Automated network defence

AI is already providing network defence tools that can protect us from the majority of current attack vectors.

Not only can AI scan and measure faster than ever before, it can learn, adapt its own policies and heal network defences. There are already AI-driven security products out there doing this.

Backdoor scanning and identification

Anyone who has worked in IT for any length of time knows just how difficult it can be to identify backdoors or APTs.

Fortunately, as AI is helping with APTs, it is also helping defend against them. There are AI programs already that can scan networks for vulnerabilities, backdoors and APTs. Expect them to become even smarter over time.

Behavioural scanning

Behavioural scanning has been part of antivirus and malware scanning since forever. That’s now stepping up a gear, or three.

Where security software could check hundreds or thousands of behaviours per minute or hour, AI can scan millions.

It can also adapt code to defend against anything it finds instantly, which is frankly amazing!

AI and cyber security

The era of AI is going to be an exciting time for tech but especially for cyber security.

What was already an exceptionally challenging area to work is going to become both more exciting and even more challenging.

Fortunately, we are developing as many opportunities with AI as there are challenges. So, even though the technology changes, the same game of cat and mouse continues.

It’s good to see that even in an industry as fast-moving as technology that some things stay the same!

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