In the 1950s, artificial intelligence (AI) became a hot topic of scientific conversation in science fiction novels. The prospect of attacks by intelligent machines became a trend that led the imagination down dark paths of technological domination.
AI is no longer science fiction and is on a path of destruction, but not one that could have been predicted 60 years ago. It is playing no small role in the prevention of cybercrime, and leading the fight back in protecting data.
Machine learning is providing teams with the capability to thwart APTs (advanced persistent threats) through zero day attacks and with the analytic prowess they need to identify both internal and external threats. Cybercrime may well be about to meet its virtual match without impacting on the future of the security professional.
>See also: Robots to the rescue: How artificial intelligence will impact cybercrime
In March 2016, Google DeepMind’s AI, AlphaGo, defeated the best Go player in the world, Lee Sedol. It wasn’t supposed to have been able to do this for another ten years, at least. This computer is the best example of deep learning, which is the fundamental precept of true AI and something that has potential in the field of security.
Machine learning algorithms can be used to create a behaviour profile of users. Based on this profile it is possible to differentiate normal and abnormal behaviour from each other. Deep learning has become the key that unlocks the door to powerful AI capabilities, like these.
AI vs. the human element
At the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference in Colorado in July 2015, Symantec CTO Amit Mital said: ‘Cyber security is basically broken.’ Spend is on the increase as enterprise and public sector continues to seek out solutions to protect against the rising tide of hackers.
The solutions are embattled and at a loss as the list of hacked corporations continues to rise with Sony, the IRS, the federal Office of Personnel Management (USA), Ashley Madison and Gemalto being just some of the big names brought down by hacks in 2015.
Many of these attacks took place years before they were discovered – others were swift and deadly. In all cases, people were too slow to stop the hack.