Using artificial intelligence to outsmart cyber criminals
Do you ever feel like the hackers are coming after your organization? Trust those feelings. While the economy and our social lives have significantly slowed down, cybercrime is booming. In fact, the FBI reported that cybercrime losses have tripled over the past 5 years, and ransomware attacks have seen a 97 percent increase over the past two years. Even during quarantine an escalation in the number of malware attacks have risen from a few hundred daily, to more than 2,600 attacks per day on average.
Perhaps more than other industries, professional services firms must remain resolute in the fight against cybercrime. Sensitive client information – business documents, intellectual property, and financial data – is of especially high value to hackers.
The reactive approach
While businesses are doing their best to fight off cyber attacks, it's hard to predict when the next threat will emerge and what the mode of attack will be. Antivirus and anti-malware tools do important work, but they are reactive, in that they rely on knowledge of existing threats to identify and prevent them from doing damage. Antivirus or anti-malware software, firewalls, password protectors and spam filters are examples of reactive cybersecurity protection. It's far more difficult to defend your organization against new, unknown threats.
AI: A proactive approach
While reactive cybersecurity involves defending against known threats or attacks that have already happened, a proactive approach involves identifying and addressing security risks before an attack occurs. Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in that effort.
AbacusNext partners with Sophos, a leader in security technology, to provide robust security to our hosting clients. A Sophos defines it, artificial intelligence is the use of “agents capable of perceiving something about their environment and acting in ways that help them achieve specified goals.” By taking a new approach to protection, Sophos blocks threats by identifying and preventing the techniques, behaviors, and calling cards used in almost every attack.
AI in the prevention of cyber-attacks
Artificial Intelligence has proven to be extremely useful in detecting and thwarting threats based on data analysis and machine learning. Here are a few ways you will see Artificial Intelligence at work in boosting cybersecurity:
1. Password protection and authentication
We humans tend to use weak passwords, keep them too long, and use them repeatedly in multiple applications. New AI technologies are moving away from password management toward more effective solutions. AI enhances biometric authentication, such as fingerprint recognition or facial recognition technology. Apple estimates a one-in-a-million chance of fooling the AI and opening your device with another face.
2. Phishing detection and prevention control
It is estimated that one of every 99 emails is a phishing attack. AI technology today can detect and track more than 10,000 active phishing sources and block them rapidly. AI can also analyze and differentiate fake websites from legitimate sites.
3. Identifying system vulnerabilities
Systems built on artificial intelligence get smarter over time. Using information from a wide variety of activities and sources, such as user behavior patterns, network activity, and even hackers’ discussions on the dark web, AI can identify potential vulnerabilities in information systems and alert IT security staff to take action.
4. Network security monitoring
Critical work done by network security teams involves creating a security policy and understanding the organization’s network topography. AI is now being leveraged to observe and learn network traffic patterns, and even suggest improvements to security policies.
You need not be an AI expert to get the benefits of AI into your cybersecurity infrastructure. Talk with your organization’s hosting providers and security software suppliers – or reach out to us to learn more about how we use AI to strengthen our customers' defenses.
As always, focus on employee education. Phishing and social engineering attacks are expected to get a lot better and more difficult to detect. Aware employees who know what to look for can reduce risk on the front lines.