Home Artificial Intelligence: A Tool or a Threat to Cybersecurity?

Artificial Intelligence: A Tool or a Threat to Cybersecurity?

Security threats to businesses have always been there -now it only shifted from physical to cyberspace. So, today’s business world revolves around “data,” which adds intrinsic value to both businesses and consumers. Since business operations have become smarter with technology, so does the manipulation. Enhanced technology changes the very nature of business. Manipulation in the hands of technology is especially true for all the leading business giants, investing in AI to foster their cybersecurity system.  Concerning artificial intelligence; a tool or a threat to cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity raises questions on the very existence of AI technology makes AI a technical “hot potato” and erupting an argument: “Whether AI is a cure or curse to cybersecurity for businesses.” The answer to the case will require a better understanding of AI at a deeper level.

The Prevailing critical Threats to Businesses

This information-driven age has somewhat made cyber threats more of a norm than an exception for businesses. Until now, most organizations had a small team responsible for their IT and cybersecurity operations. We can follow cyber-crime in automation. Recent developments suggest that these companies need more significant defenses as cyber crooks and their malware become more and more sophisticated.  

To prevent data theft following cyber disasters such as Marriott International/Starwood multi-year theft, every industry has been taking large measures to mitigate these cyber threats by improving data security across the board. One of which includes harnessing AI and machine learning to fortify their cyberspace against potential cyber risks. 

Moreover, as the digital economy expands, the cyber threat landscape typically follows suit. Compounding the situation is the application of machine learning and AI as hackers, and other bad actors look to scale their malpractices. The information all sounds nothing less than a harbinger of a worse hacking landscape in 2019.

How Are Companies Bolstering Cybersecurity Operations with AI?

According to Comcast Community, last year, businesses encountered more than 53,308 security breaches, of which 2,216 were data breaches. More than two-thirds of those crimes took six months or longer to detect. Besides, companies pay on average $40 million for a data breach that affects 1 million records.

Companies struggling with cybersecurity have more to lose than their data and potential profits; the loss could stretch to their customers. Seventy-eight percent of the U.S. customers taking part in a recent CBC poll said a company’s capability to keep their data private is extremely important, and 75 percent said they would not do business with organizations they’re unable to entrust their data to.

On the other hand, the cybersecurity industry is considering AI as a silver bullet in the face of a current shortage of almost 3 million cybersecurity experts globally. The shortfall of qualified security specialists is tainting how well organizations can react to existing cyber threats and head off new ones. 

AI technology is providing indispensable insights into cyber threats and buoying up the current IT security strategies. Moreover, the AI cyber security market is expected to reach a height of  $35 billion by 2024, as businesses recognize the threats are too challenging to manage without advanced technology.

AI-enabled technologies render a plethora of services related to running a healthy security posture, from network monitoring and risk control to detecting rising cyber threats and recognizing the scam. 

Hackers with their Real Intelligence Can Manipulate this “Artificial” Intelligence

Now, let’s see a different side of the same coin. Implementation of artificial intelligence in cyber security is enabling IT experts to predict and react to rising cyber threats quicker and more efficiently than ever before. But, how can they expect to respond when AI goes to the wrong hands? There has to come a better way to train employees more quickly to close the skills gap to help keep company information safe.

Yet AI technology can also become a real headache for cyber security specialists around the world. Just as security firms can use the AI algorithms to spot attacks, so can the hackers in a bid to launch more sophisticated attack operations.

One example out of many is Spear phishing – as implementing machine learning algorithms can enable cyber crooks to craft more enticing messages meant to dupe the victim into giving the intruder access to sensitive data or installing malicious programs.

Meanwhile, ransomware attacks are still a burning question, especially after the WannaCry episode that reportedly cost the British National Health System a whopping £92 million in losses – £20 million during the crime, between May 12 and 19, 2018, and a more of £72 million to refine and upgrade its IT networks – and the aftermath brought 19,000 healthcare appointment cancellations. We are all looking at the technology cybersecurity, even globally.

What does the Future Hold for AI?

The intelligence may be “artificial,” but the widespread risks could be too real. As more and more businesses are ready to embrace AI-driven tools as part of their security approach, researchers fear that this could trick the IT professionals into a false sense of security. 

Yet lowering our defense in the face of emerging cyber-crime trends could be a deadly mistake. AI tools aren’t  100% foolproof – as no cyber security program is – so coming up with a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach should be a priority for businesses. 

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Nabeel Ahmad

Nabeel Ahmad is the founder of Mogul Press, a public relations and communications agency that specializes in media placements, personal branding, and marketing strategy. Apart from that, Nabeel Ahmad is the founder of Vertabyte, a full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to drive their growth and achieve all their business goals. At Vertabyte, his special focus is on leveraging the power of social media to boost businesses exponentially. A marketing expert, Nabeel has a deep understanding of what it takes for a business to completely crush it on the social media landscape. His expertise in marketing has allowed…

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