At the end of last year, when I wrote about 2018 trends, I noted that technologies like AI and ML were definitely popular buzz terms, but as for their potential in cybersecurity, they were most useful in helping to decrease the skills gap.
But that was last year. As 2019 gets under way, AI and ML continue to generate a lot of buzz. Pedro Abreu, chief strategy officer with ForeScout, said we should expect the use of the technologies to be a major player in the skills gap, with an improved collaboration between humans and machines, or intelligence automation. Malcolm Harkins, chief security and trust officer at Cylance, agreed, adding that AI and ML allow organizations to gain better control of their data with improved classification. Harkins added in an email comment another way we’ll see AI and ML affect cybersecurity in 2019:
Companies are also beginning to automate penetration testing, allowing pen testers to work on more unique or advanced red team/pentests. Additionally, these automated processes allow for control validation, which lowers costs and provides researchers with a higher degree of assurance. In order to keep up with this rapid growth, traditional companies will need to accommodate automation by further developing their solutions or seeking integrations with new automation-focused industry vendors.
AI will also help with identity verification, according to fintech and identity expert Sunil Madhu. Writing for the Socure blog, Madhu wrote:
While Artificial Intelligence (i.e. neural network technology) will not become more prevalent in production environments for identity verification in the short term, the technology will become much more involved in the development of production models.
However, not all of the cybersecurity predictions surrounding AI and ML are positive. The bad guys are also eyeing the technology. Avira predicted that cybercriminals will start using AI as a way to generate more targeted yet stealthy attacks. Also, added Ivan Novikov, CEO of Wallarm, as the technology becomes more sophisticated, the chance of vulnerabilities increases. We know from experience, where there are vulnerabilities, there are hackers waiting to exploit them. So in 2019, while we can expect AI and ML to make a greater impact on addressing security within our organizations, we should also anticipate the technologies to be used to generate new and harder-to-detect attacks.
Sue Marquette Poremba has been writing about network security since 2008. In addition to her coverage of security issues for IT Business Edge, her security articles have been published at various sites such as Forbes, Midsize Insider and Tom's Guide. You can reach Sue via Twitter: @sueporemba