4 Ways AI Will Change the Future of Cyber Security

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its way from science fiction books and movies to the daily world around us. If you’re a fan of some of those books and movies, you may think of AI in the form of human-like robots that do our bidding — or vice versa, if you happen to be a dystopian conspiracy theorist. But the “predictive power” of AI — its ability to make decisions on its own, so to speak — is already here, and has started to define the future of cyber security.

Supported by advancements in AI, the future of cyber security will usher in new cyber security trends in financial services and other industries that result in better network protection. Let’s go over four ways AI is starting to shape the future of cyber security as we speak.

1. Detecting Hacked IoT Devices

The IoT (Internet of Things”) refers to devices interconnected through the exchange of online data. The connectivity between the devices means that, if one device is hacked, the results of the attack (e.g. spreading a computer virus) could affect exponentially more devices in a short period of time.

Cisco predicts the number of live IoT devices will reach 50 billion by 2020, up from the roughly 20 billion used today. This poses a problem because, as VentureBeat notes, “A high percentage of these devices do not have basic security measures due to limited hardware and software resources.”

Implementing AI on the right model can solve the problem. As VentureBeat explains, “Lightweight AI-based prediction models, which can reside and operate autonomously even on low computing power devices, can enable detection and blocking of suspicious activity in real time on the device or at the network level.”

Bringing a higher level of security to the IoT will be a major impact of the future of cyber security that entails AI solutions. Some cyber security providers already offer AI-based solutions.

2. Guarding Online Financial Activity

Because the IoT is embedded in the financial industry in various ways — from initiating smart device transactions on the customer’s end to maintaining customer financial apps on the financial institution’s end — the future of cyber security will have a major impact on digital financial transactions, especially ones performed using financial apps.

According to a recent report from Arxan Research, “56 percent of the top iOS apps and 100 percent of the top Android apps have been hacked in the past.”

Financial institutions need a way to detect whether mobile apps are malicious or benign before account information travels between the institutions’ servers and third party apps. AI programs have a highly refined “classification capability” that can reveal even the best disguised malicious apps.

To this end, AI applications are set to become one of the major cyber security trends in financial services — a practice that will become a new standard, outliving the lifespan of a trend.

3. Sensing Abnormal Network Activity

Companies and organizations have different patterns of IT network activity, making it hard to create a one-size-fits all network activity sensor that doesn’t use AI. Without AI, an activity sensor typically relies on deep packet inspection — a process some IT professionals consider “intrusive” due to the sense of suspicion it casts on all parties.

With the right AI resource in play, deep packet inspection can be replaced with analyzing correlations between metadata reaching the IT network from internal and external sources. Instead of applying deep packet inspection as a proactive security measure, institutions can use AI to detect abnormal network activity in real-time, and respond to potential threats immediately.

This aspect of AI will strongly impact cyber security trends in financial services. AI will become an important feature in the future of cyber security, especially for large institutions receiving thousands or millions of pieces of metadata daily.

4. Uncovering and Rejecting Malicious Files

File-based attacks remain one of the most common types of malicious network attacks for three reasons: The files are easy to create, easy to disseminate through different channels (email, social media, file sharing, etc.), and the perpetrator can be done with his work by the time the results of the attack peak.

Not only are malicious files easy for adept hackers to create and distribute. They become progressively easier to create, as old, malicious files receive changes in computer code to create new files that may be harder to detect than the originals.

As VentureBeat explains, “A tiny change in a single line of code can generate a new malicious file with the same malicious intent, but with a different signature. Small changes in its behavior trick legacy signature-based antivirus programs, as well as more advanced heuristic-based advanced endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions and even network level solutions such as sandboxing.”

The future of cyber security for detecting tainted files, AI helps innocent parties stop distributing bad files by “[reviewing] millions of features per suspicious file and detect even the slightest code mutations.” Moreover, AI helps companies and organizations avoid playing catch-up with hackers, and stop malicious files dead in their tracks, before they start traveling through IT networks and affecting exponentially more computers.

Need Better Cyber Security?

Hackers are always looking for loopholes in cyber security. Consequently, it’s important for companies and organizations to be vigilant about having the right security solutions in place at all times. With NIC working as your cyber security provider, you can ensure that your IT network and the digital assets it contains are safe from would-be hackers.

To learn more about our security solutions and how they anticipate the future of cyber security, please call us at 1 (877) 721-3330, or send us an email through our contact form. We offer free consultations. Contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your cyber security needs!

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