AI the new theatre of war in cybersecurity

Simulated cyber attacks driven by AI are set to become more common, just in time for real-life attacks to be powered in the same way.
12 March 2018

AI may be the new weapon against cybersecurity attacks. Source: Shutterstock

I​n the next few years, it is likely that cyber attacks will be advanced enough that assaults can take place with barely any human input, with hackers using artificial intelligence technologies (AI) to change their tactics and attack vectors in real time.

However, the white hat cybersecurity experts believe that it is possible to stem the tide of progressively advanced threats from hackers by using much the same technology.

During a Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit, the tech firm’s research vice-president Earl Perkins argued for the importance of automation as one of the emerging trends in cybersecurity.

According to Perkins, the continued evolution of cybersecurity means that AI-driven security measures would likely become the bread and butter of enterprises within the next few years. With this in mind, Perkins stated that adaptive skills would likely be the next phase of cybersecurity.

AI-powered automation systems have been around for a while now, though the technology’s penetration remains marginal. As noted in a recent report from SME Web, simulated cyber attack penetration tests today are still dominantly run by humans.

By 2020, however, it is expected that roughly 10 percent of authorized simulated cyber attacks will be initiated by AI-driven machines, and they will behave almost exactly like real-world hackers.

With this in mind, the next few years will be incredibly vital for AI-driven cybersecurity systems. There will be advances in cyber-tools which will ultimately help protect SMEs and other enterprises, such as deception technologies and other similar countermeasures, would likely become prolific.

The same thing is true with firewalls — with the added intelligence provided by systems that are capable of machine learning, businesses with an online presence can keep their valuable data secure.

Considering that hackers are not going away anytime soon, the idea of ever-evolving threats in the digital landscape is something that businesses, regardless of their size, must take into consideration. Threats online are only getting smarter, and within the next few years, cyber attacks would likely get advanced enough to the point where they would need very little human input to cause significant damage.

Fortunately, cybersecurity measures are advancing at roughly the same pace. Security systems and countermeasures are also progressively getting smarter, and with AI-driven systems, businesses would be as secure as they could be, as noted in a CSO Online report.

Considering the trends in the digital landscape, there is even a pretty good chance that by the time AI-powered cybersecurity systems fully mature, they would be faster, more efficient, and more affordable than they are today.