The battle of cyber security vs artificial intelligence rages on to what seems to be a climax this year. Industry leaders and professionals warn against the coming threat posed by A.I. in cyber security. Is this just more conjecture-based buzzwords, more sensationalist journalism, or is there some real truth to the supposed threat of A.I. in cyber security?
Role Of A.I. In Cyber Security
Artificial intelligence plays a dual role in the digital landscape as both a shield and a weapon, both a tool for good and a weapon for destruction. Both sides are making leaps and bounds in furthering the development of intelligent network software.
- The Good Side
The need for “machine learning” cyber security is growing simply out of necessity. Hackers and cyber criminals are using the latest artificial intelligence to infiltrate networks and steal data from major companies. Companies are investing more capital to stay ahead of these nefarious types who are up to no good.
- The Dark Side
A.I. is a very useful way for hackers and internet terrorists to multiply their efforts and wage war on a scale never seen before. The most common uses of A.I. in hacking are cloud based ransom attacks (known as ransomware) in which an automated “shotgun” approach is favored. Cyber criminals use smart code to infiltrate a system, wait for the right moment to attack and then lock users out of their own data only to then ask for a ransom to return that data.2
What’s really scary is that it’s working and they are getting away with it. One of the most famous recent ransomware attacks was NotPetya, the end result of which cost pharmaceutical giant Merck $300 million dollars to remedy.2
Current Examples of A.I. in Cyber Security
Some of the largest A.I. security companies are not the anti-virus software firms that you may have heard of. Companies like MacAfee, Norton Antivirus and Bit Defender have vested interests in the development of A.I. in cyber security. However, these companies are focused on maintaining the safety of current customers, with little resources allocated to blocking attacks from artificial sources.
Though Norton’s parent company Symantec has very recently begun developing their own tools to combat A.I. attacks.3
We are still years away from developing complex A.I. for either cyber attacks or cyber defense. There are some companies taking the first steps to face this new threat, most are focusing on protecting clients the old fashioned way: good old fashioned manual labor and training more pros through certified cyber security courses.
Many coding bootcamps are focusing their efforts on the cyber security space because the industry is expanding rapidly. A clear sign that A.I. is not going to turn the industry on its head any time soon.
: Forbes – How AI Is Transforming Cyber Defense
: Tech Republic – The top 10 worst ransomware attacks of 2017, so far
: AI Trends – Here Are 6 Tools That Use AI for Cybersecurity