How AI will shape cybersecurity in 2023 and beyond
The recent security events across the globe have brought cybersecurity to the forefront. Previously it was considered good enough for the back-end processes, but vulnerabilities in today’s increasingly digital ecosystem have given it renewed importance.
Many enterprises worldwide, realizing its importance in accelerating and shaping their digital transformation initiatives, have finally given the CISO a seat at the table.
With the power to influence the board for cybersecurity initiatives, many CISOs have been able to create better and improved strategies. Yet, increasing demand for an enriching customer experience, support for remote work, and showcasing the ROI from implementation of cybersecurity programs have only worsened the vulnerabilities of infrastructure, making the lives of cybersecurity professionals even more difficult.
As per Mckinsey’s report on cybersecurity, cyber risk management has not kept pace with the proliferation of digital and analytics transformations, and many companies are not sure how to identify and manage digital risks.
Only relying on the latest tools will not be able to mitigate the threats in the long run. CISOs will need to identify ways to exploit technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities.
AI has proven to be extremely useful in the past when it comes to detecting cyber threats based on analyzing data and identifying a threat. It can be used to identify activities that human oversight would mostly fail to catch. The newer threats like never-before-seen attacks require a much more sophisticated capability.
AI in the cybersecurity market is expected to reach USD 133.8 billion by 2030 as per a report from Acumen Research and Consulting. With threat actors continuously advancing their practices to execute their malicious intent, incorporating AI-related technologies can help to strengthen the overall infrastructure.
The use of AI technology helps to recognize attacks rather than defending a known vulnerability and can make cybersecurity easier, more efficient and less expensive. ML and AI truly protect against modern cyberattacks.
Here are a few ways artificial intelligence will help CISOs to shape cybersecurity in 2023 and beyond:
Network threat analysis
After learning their lessons with the explosion of cyber-attacks in 2020, today’s enterprises fiercely protect their business. They are continuously upgrading their infrastructure to digitize more and more operations. They are updating old and building internal hybrid networks. But these vast network topologies are not only complicated but also need extensive network security resources to manage all communications, transactions, connections, applications as well as policies.
On a broader scale, this requires enterprises to make enormous investments, along with considering the risk of errors, making its reach out of hands for most people. However, incorporating AI technologies can make it a much more efficient endeavor. It allows them to monitor all incoming and outgoing network traffic for mining suspicious activities along with classifying threat types.
Additionally, it provides the right means for cybersecurity professionals to create better strategies that prevent threat actors from breaching the network. In the coming years, enterprises will continue to refine their network threat analysis to tackle more sophisticated attacks.
Enhancement of breach risk prediction
AI systems empower enterprises to determine the IT asset inventory that provides precise and detailed information on all devices, users, and applications with multiple levels of access to various systems. However, after considering the asset inventory and threat exposure, AI-based systems can help enterprises to identify where they can plan and allocate resources to control vulnerabilities.
Moreover, prescriptive insights from AI-based analysis strengthen configuration management and improve controls and processes to reinforce cyber resilience.
Improve identification for zero-day exploits
In the event of a zero-day attack, cybercriminals infect enterprise systems with malware by exploiting a software issue that has yet to be patched by a manufacturer. Examples of this are the vulnerabilities in the Renault-Nissan infrastructure automobile company that halted its operations on a large scale. However, integrating AI technologies to identify these vulnerabilities and capitalize on them may be the correct solution.
Deep learning architectures within AI can help enterprises to identify hidden or latent patterns. and can empower them to identify zero-day vulnerabilities. Additionally, utilizing Natural Language Processing (NLP) can help organizations scan source code for dangerous files and flag them accordingly. With threat actors continuing to improve their threat practices, depending on AI can help enterprises to identify zero-day exploits.
Industrial cybersecurity will witness more AI integration
Tackling cybersecurity in the Industry 4.0 era cannot be done with traditional computing methodologies. The number of devices along with related challenges has exploded in the past couple of years. Moreover, IIoT devices possess limited capabilities and therefore lack the ability to protect themselves.
With the implementation of AI and ML, security professionals can identify devices and hidden patterns while simultaneously processing a large amount of data. They can keep track of incoming and outgoing traffic for any deviations in behavior in the IoT ecosystem. As IoT solutions continue to evolve, there will be more vulnerabilities that need to be addressed and AI and ML will be the perfect solution.
With threat actors continuously evolving their methodologies to execute their malicious intent, the future of cybersecurity is uncertain. While AI can empower cybersecurity professionals to minimize damage or predict security events, it can also arm the threat actors to automate things such as target selection or attack timing.
However, industry experts state that the benefits of AI for cybersecurity can counter the drawbacks of using it. AI will transform cybersecurity and create a better future for enterprises.
[This article is authored by Rahul Bogala, Director – IT Solution Engineering, Pre-sales and Products at Rahi.]