How Helpful Is AI in Preventing Cyber Attacks

Technology has evolved over the years and the world is going digital at a fast speed. Digitalization implies that everything moves at lightning speed: industries, entertainment, trends, products, and services, etc. The customer is immediately getting what they require since the service provider has the resources to provide it. 

Although there are many advantages to this new age which are quite evident, however,  it also brings some disadvantages to the table. One of the most serious and crippling threats it presents is that our personal data is at a major risk. Thousands of cases of identity theft, financial losses, and data breaches have been seen in the last decade or so. 

Cyber attacks are getting more common in nature and it impacts people, businesses, and government institutions alike. We are moving into an age in which cybercriminals can target any organization at any time for their own personal benefit. Thus, the need for Cybersecurity is on the rise like never before.

We hear ‘cybersecurity‘ time and again, a lot of time. These days, it is being used with Artificial Intelligence. Cybersecurity initiatives enabled by AI are demonstrating to be better at handling and protecting digital information. 

Now, before diving into the details of what role AI can play in preventing cyber attacks, let us first understand what cybersecurity is.

In the broadest sense, cybersecurity refers to programming techniques used to create security software that tends to help protect networks, programs, and valuable information from attack, harm, or unauthorized access.

What Is The Need For Cybersecurity?

The major task of any type of cybersecurity is to protect the sensitive data, networks, and systems from attacks meant to access, hold ransom or steal altogether. Protecting sensitive information, networks, and systems from attacks meant to obtain, hold ransom or steal altogether is the primary function of any type of cybersecurity. Depending on the objective of a threat (e.g., malware, spyware, software attacks, ransomware, phishing, spoofing), cyberattacks differ in form.  

Over recent years, hackers have developed over time to deploy complicated, automated, and advanced attacks. This renders it a challenging task to keep up with advanced threats, particularly in organizational networks such as governments. This is where cybersecurity comes into play and we realize its importance.

Role Of AI In Cybersecurity

Artificial Intelligence comes in handy when working around these threats. Whenever it comes to developing a layer of protection against hackers, AI is capable of being a strong ally. AI can be equipped to continuously identify and learn patterns for any divergence within it. A key element of AI is machine learning. To continuously enhance its operations and suggest corrective measures to prevent future attacks, it uses collected data. It is ideal for cybersecurity because of its ability to understand and recognize user behavior and identify patterns and understand barely noticeable variances in those trends. In addition, AI may use this data and also establish its own techniques and functions.

How Can AI Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Although the prospects look uncertain, there have been advances in technology with a major impact on cybersecurity as well. Methods and technologies produced and assisted as a sub-set by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are one such significant game-changer in the field of cybersecurity. 

Artificial Intelligence is a term that has been trending a lot over the past few years and is being used in a lot of different industries. Customer service, education, healthcare, automation, etc. are just some of the many industries where AI has facilitated progress. It also plays a major role in the global battle against cybercrime. 

Few ways where Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make a difference by providing cybersecurity are mentioned below:

  1. It can help identify cyber threats

To be able to deter whatever the attackers are planning to do, companies must be able to identify a cyber-attack before it even takes place. Machine learning is that aspect of Artificial Intelligence that has demonstrated to be incredibly helpful when it comes to identifying cyber threats based on data analysis and detecting a threat before it starts to affect your information system. 

Machine Learning helps systems to use and understand algorithms, learn from them, and recognize the necessary modifications based on the data obtained. This would imply that machine learning in a cybersecurity sense helps the system to anticipate attacks and detect any abnormalities with far greater precision than any human would.

  1. It provides better password protection

Passwords are a really critical aspect in terms of security. And they are also the only barrier between the important accounts and organized criminals. It is somehow a d fact we tend to get lazy with passwords, sometimes using the same one across several accounts. As a substitute for passwords, biometric authentication has been tried, but it is not very easy, and hackers can easily bypass this, too. For instance, a face recognition method can be annoying to use when it can’t identify you due to a new hairdo or when wearing sunglasses. Adversaries can also get through it using your pictures from Facebook or IG.

To create a stable framework, developers are using AI to boost biometric authentication and eliminate its flaws. One instance is Apple’s face recognition technology that is being used on iPhone X smartphones. The technology, known as ‘Face ID,’ operates by analyzing the facial characteristics of the person via built-in infra-red sensors and neural engines. By recognizing key similarities and trends, the AI program produces a sophisticated model of the user’s face. Apple says that there’s just a one-in-a-million chance of deluding the AI with this technology and unlocking your device with another face. The design of the AI program can also run in different lighting and account for modifications such as having a new hairstyle, wearing sunglasses, etc.

  1. It can detect phishing attacks simply

Phishing is among the most frequently used techniques of cyber-attack, where hackers attempt to deliver their payload through a phishing attack. Phishing emails are relatively common and once can easily be found in every 99 emails. Luckily, in avoiding and preventing phishing attacks, AI and ML can play a prominent part. 

Tens of thousands of active phishing outlets can be detected and monitored by AI-ML, responding, and remediating much faster than humans can. AI-ML also scans phishing risks from all around the globe, and its knowledge of phishing campaigns is not limited to any single particular location. AI has made it easy to easily distinguish between a fraudulent website and a genuine one.

  1. AI makes use of behavioral analytics

Another significant improvement in security by AI stems from its capacity for behavioral analytics. It generally means that by observing how you normally use your device and digital platforms, ML algorithms can understand and build a pattern of your actions. From your usual login times and IP addresses to your typing and browsing habits, the information will include everything. 

If the AI algorithms find odd behaviors or any activity beyond your daily patterns at any moment, it may label it as being performed by a suspicious user or even block the user. the actions that tick off the AI algorithms can be anything.—  From big online orders shipped at a wrong address, a sudden increase in document downloads from your archived files, logging in from a different device, or a sudden shift in your typing pace.

Can Artificial Intelligence Prove To Be A Bane To Society?

With Artificial Intelligence’s truly extraordinary capabilities, the possibility of hackers arming it and using that to improve and strengthen their attacks is a major threat. One of the main fears is that hackers can make use of AI on a large scale to automate cyberattacks. Today, to formulate and organize their attacks, these attackers rely on human resources. Once they learn using AI and machine learning in their favor, the whole cybersecurity game would change.   

Another important problem is that just as we can incorporate AI and machine learning to supplement the lack of human resources and save cybersecurity costs, these attackers can also use it for the same reason. At comparatively lower expenditure for the cyber attacker, the finances and resources required to conduct and organize such attacks would drop massively, with further danger to cybersecurity.

As AI technology will keep on evolving, it will give birth to new cyber threats. AI can also hack much quicker and better into the weakness of a machine than a person can. AI could be used to so efficiently conceal attacks that one may never understand that their system or device has been impacted.

Key Takeaways

Although the idea of letting AI take control completely is very enticing, we must note that AI comprises a bunch of stuff and is thus very flexible. Although AI has been doing miracles for cybersecurity, it is also making things easier for hackers and attackers. It can do enormous harm if used in incorrect ways and can possibly become a much greater cybersecurity threat. 

As technology advances, attackers are also developing their attack strategies, techniques, and methods to target people and organizations. Artificial intelligence is certainly extremely useful, but it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It is possible to use AI and ML to identify and avoid attacks before they actually occur. As AI continues to see further growth, we will experience the ways of how well we can make use of this technology for our own good and without letting it affect us in the future.