Enterprise-level cybersecurity requires a sophisticated, multifaceted approach. Organizations must leverage all available resources to protect their networks – including artificial intelligence (AI). With AI, cybersecurity teams can implement continuous monitoring, helping identify patterns and nuances that often go unnoticed.
AI can be used maliciously as well. Hackers have turned to AI to improve their skills and perform even more sophisticated attacks. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits and risks associated with AI for cybersecurity.
The Benefits of AI in Cybersecurity
When deployed effectively, AI for cybersecurity can be transformative, significantly improving threat detection and response. AI-driven technologies create an automated, self-improving system that monitors suspicious or unusual activity 24/7.
Specific examples of AI's use in cybersecurity include:
- Real-time detection: Analyze vast amounts of data from disparate sources to detect known and unknown malware, malicious domain names, insider threats, and other dangerous activities.
- Automated response: Generate automatic responses that require manual intervention, such as diverting network traffic.
- Access control: Create a system of access control that can be updated more quickly and accurately than manual systems.
- Fight bot activity: Recognize and neutralize botnets before they can cause damage.
Above and beyond these benefits, successfully implementing AI into cybersecurity operations can lead to significant cost savings. According to the most recent IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, organizations that have fully implemented security AI and automation experience a cost reduction of $3.05 million per data breach compared to those without these technologies.
With AI, companies can swiftly identify and flag potential threats in real time, significantly reducing the time it takes to mitigate risks. This proactive approach not only limits the potential damage caused by cyber attacks but also helps reduce financial losses associated with data breaches, system downtime, legal liabilities, and reputational damage.
These cost savings can extend beyond incident response. AI can also give your employees back time from mundane security tasks, enabling them to focus on higher-value activities like complex threat hunting, analysis, and strategic security planning.
The Risks of AI in Cybersecurity
Unfortunately, cyberhackers and scammers can also take advantage of AI and machine learning (ML). With the introduction of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools, it’s expected that hackers will be able to write unidentifiable phishing emails, generate deep fake speeches and images, crack CAPTCHAs and guess passwords, and build hard-to-detect malware strains that are difficult for even experienced IT professionals to handle.
AI can also create large networks of bots that mimic human behavior. Hackers use these botnets to carry out various malicious activities, such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal data, and launch automated malware campaigns. In a recent announcement by Impreva Inc, it was revealed that in 2022, nearly half (47.4%) of all internet traffic came from bots. This was a 5.1% increase from the previous year. “Bots have evolved rapidly since 2013, but with the advent of generative artificial intelligence, the technology will evolve at an even greater, more concerning pace over the next 10 years,” says Karl Triebes, Senior Vice President of Imperva.
Ethical and Privacy Concerns
AI has enormous potential to improve cybersecurity, but raises ethical questions about privacy. In particular, AI programs are often trained on large volumes of sensitive data, and there are worries among stakeholders about how that data will be used if it is not regulated.
For example, facial recognition AI can identify and track users. In addition, biometric data, such as fingerprints and iris scans, are increasingly vulnerable to attacks from AI-driven programs. But it is crucial to establish clear accountability within organizations to ensure these systems don't infringe on personal privacy or civil liberties when deploying such systems.
While it can greatly enhance cybersecurity defenses, it's essential to recognize that AI is far from perfect. It cannot detect all forms of malware, nor can it identify every potential attack vector. Therefore, it remains crucial to employ a comprehensive cybersecurity approach that combines AI technologies with human expertise and other traditional security measures to achieve the highest level of protection against evolving cyber threats.
Leveraging AI for Better Cybersecurity
To utilize AI effectively, organizations need an understanding of the technology, its capabilities and risks, and a plan for integrating it into existing cybersecurity strategies.
First, organizations must assess their current security posture and determine areas where AI can be used to strengthen data protection. This step makes the most sense when the necessary resources, such as skilled personnel and appropriate hardware, are available.
Organizations should also consider developing an ethical framework for using AI in cybersecurity. The framework should specify how and when the technology will be used and who is responsible for developing, deploying, and monitoring its use.
Training staff on how to use the technology is the last essential step. Everyone within the organization should understand the software they're working with to harness the full potential of AI. This ensures staff members are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to utilize the technology optimally, enabling them to make informed decisions, effectively respond to threats, and contribute to a stronger overall security posture.
The Importance of Caution and Vigilance in AI Adoption
AI is a valuable tool for improving cybersecurity, but it's necessary to exercise caution when introducing the technology. Adopting AI too abruptly can lead to security challenges that are difficult to anticipate and manage.
Organizations must ensure they have the right resources, personnel, and training before embarking on an AI-driven security program. Ample preparation will help mitigate the inherent risks, particularly those related to ethical and safety concerns.
When the AI security system has been implemented, ongoing vigilance is essential to protect against emerging threats and stay ahead of cybercriminals.
The Future of AI in Cybersecurity
In the coming years, AI is poised to evolve and continue enhancing the security landscape for businesses. AI holds the potential to bolster cybersecurity systems, enabling IT professionals to effectively identify malicious activity, detect threats in real time, and prevent new attacks. With AI’s advanced capabilities, organizations can establish more robust defenses and stay a step ahead of cyber threats.
By embracing AI, businesses can enjoy a more automated, comprehensive way of protecting networks and data. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with AI's use in cybersecurity before implementing an AI solution in your organization. A thorough understanding of the benefits and risks leads to security protocols that are as effective as possible.
If you’d like to learn more about AI and how to consider its use in your organization, check out our article “How Your Company Can Responsibly Use Generative AI,” then contact SafeBase to schedule a free demo and explore how our platform can help you harness the powerful capabilities of AI while ensuring your security.