Cybersecurity is of increasing importance to enterprise and public leaders. In their efforts to mitigate cybercrime, organizations are increasingly leveraging data to protect sensitive information. Now, the world’s computer scientists are levering big data technology to stay ahead of hackers. But, the key will be to improve global cybersecurity.

Statistical research, among other data science techniques, is generating impressive advancements in cyber defense. Time is of the essence in this regard. As the Internet of Things (IoT) expands the digital universe, cybercriminals are leveraging this increasingly prominent attack vector to compromise information networks.

Data on the front lines of cyber defense.

Historically, the media represented hackers as mischievous teens with a penchant for wreaking havoc. More recently, however, the media — as well as the general public — increasingly recognize that hackers are cunning craftsmen who compromise networks for profit.

On the other side of the coin, ethical hackers acquire the same skills as cybercriminals to protect sensitive enterprise data. In addition, data scientists develop programs that detect unusual traffic to thwart the work of cybercriminals.

Although cybersecurity is a global problem, the United States experiences the most incidents of cyber breaches.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. organizations were attacked by cybercriminals over 100 times in 2018. The intrusion events represented the most significant number of breaches in any single country in the world.

Due to the rise of cyber breaches, many organizations employ ethical hackers to protect their sensitive data. White hat hackers start their work by learning what information needs protection. Furthermore, they develop theories as to what hackers could do with that information. Ethical hackers also assess an organization’s current cybersecurity resources and practices.

Ethical hackers are using varying tools to discover and repair network vulnerabilities.

Their toolkit includes software designed especially for cybersecurity. As an example, information security specialists use the NMAP tool for port scanning and identifying operation systems. They also use Nikto or Metasploit to scan for Web server attack vectors.

Increasingly, cybersecurity specialists use big data analyses to test for network aberrations. Data, however, is not the only new resource in the ethical hacker toolkit.

The latest in high-tech cyber defense.

A growing digital universe generated by innovations such as social media and the IoT has provided hackers with an increasing amount of valuable bounties. Today, expert hackers collaborate with criminal syndicates and even government agencies to compromise organizational networks.

Digital malicious actors are skilled at finding any and every vulnerability in a network. Hackers easily bypass advanced security measures that enterprises believe will keep their information safe. Resultingly, security vendors are working on creative technologies to stymie cybercriminals.

One company is working on what could become the evolution of the firewall. Illusive Networks specializes in using virtual and augmented reality to create facsimiles of enterprise networks.

The idea is that the faux digital networks will contain malicious actors by providing a harmless twin environment. Once hackers have entered this false environment, they will continue their efforts to compromise the network and eventually give up, or administrators will kick the intruders out of the system.

The technology is a new branch of cybersecurity called deception technology. Illusive Network officials express that their innovation can map potential attack vectors, help administrators patch vulnerabilities and provide real-time forensic reporting.

Skilling up for the fight.

Professionals across many industries and fields leverage data to improve operations. However, select professions are only open to individuals with mathematics or statistics training. These professionals help organizations solve intricate information related problems. They also analyze data generated by emerging innovations such as deceptive technologies. What’s more, they work with security vendors to develop new, powerful cybersecurity resources.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine gathered to discuss cybersecurity in 2018. The main topic was the rapidly growing threat that’s emerging because of security gaps in the Internet of Things.

According to symposium literature, malicious actors have executed notable cyber attacks using IoT devices. Standard technologies such as firewall and encryption are designed to stop these intrusions. However, cites the group, IT professionals need new countermeasures to discover and react to malicious activity. The conversation about securing the IoT and neutralizing cyber threats is an ongoing discussion among IT security experts.

Data scientists are developing amazing technologies to protect the world’s information. Time, however, will tell which side will emerge as the victor.

One day, data scientists may succeed in creating impenetrable information networks. For now, researchers are looking to innovations such as deceptive technologies as the next best alternative to bulletproof security. Soon, malicious actors could face myriad obstacles, making network intrusion a trivial pursuit.

Ryan Ayers

Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.