News Article

Leveraging AI, Machine Learning for Cybersecurity Defense

By Antonio Gozain | Fri, 06/03/2022 - 09:09

New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are transforming all industries, including technology and cybersecurity. While AI and ML have become important tools for companies to defend their systems, they are also used by cybercriminals, opening the door to an automated fight between machines. Under these circumstances, it is crucial to use the right tools and technologies to fight intelligence with intelligence, agreed industry experts.

“AI and ML have revolutionized all industries. The possibility to predict events transforms a sector in every possible way. The cybersecurity and cybercrime industries are not the exception. On both sides, there are people who understand how AI and ML work and leverage them for their purposes. Companies must use these tools to build a cybersecurity culture,” said David Casillas, Founder and CEO, Nyx Technology and Pixframe Studios.

The space for cyberattacks is vast and continues to grow and evolve rapidly. In response to this challenge, AI-based tools for cybersecurity help information security teams to reduce breach risk and improve their security. AI and ML have become critical technologies in information security, as they quickly analyze millions of events and identify several types of threats, from malware to risky behavior that may lead to a phishing attack. These technologies learn and improve over time, utilizing data from the past to identify new types of attacks now.

“There are many cybersecurity tools that leverage AI for more robust detection. The idea is precisely to detect anomalous behavior, compared with normal user behavior. We cross-check these behavioral metrics with hundreds of breach models to detect unusual activity,” said Pablo Carrillo, Account Executive, Darktrace. It is not efficient to bring a human into a battle between machines, since not even the greatest expert can always respond in time, he added.

Although AI and ML seem futuristic, they are already playing an important role across several industries, said Israel Gutiérrez, Chief Technology Officer, A3Sec. Attackers are increasingly becoming more professional, robust organizations, forcing companies to invest in cybersecurity, he added.

With the proliferation and evolution of cyberattacks, ML and AI enable companies to keep up with attackers, automating threat detection and responding more efficiently than traditional software-driven approaches, according to Balbix. These technologies help cybersecurity teams due to the unique challenges they face, such as hundreds of attack vectors and masses of data that have moved beyond a human-scale problem.

As AI’s popularity increases, there are several offerings that do not meet the AI test, as reported by Forbes. Pure AI is not only a technology that analyzes data and lets results drive certain outcomes, it is about reproducing cognitive abilities to automate tasks. AI systems get smarter the more data they analyze; they learn from experience and become increasingly capable. “The foundation of AI is data. You have to collect the right data to generate effective algorithms. The more data these systems have, the smarter they become,” said Casillas.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation across the world. In Mexico, several companies were forced to implement teleworking, adding new cybersecurity risks. Cyberattacks in Mexico increased by 600 percent during the pandemic, according to TotalPlay Empresarial. While attacks become increasingly prevalent in the country, only four out of every 10 companies have a plan to strengthen their cybersecurity, reported El Economista. Fifty percent of companies that suffered a cyberattack were reportedly unable to identify its origin.

“The cybersecurity environment within companies is complex. In some cases, they operate through silos, with a lack of knowhow. AI and ML tools help mitigate threats and even prevent them. Companies must become more proactive and analytic regarding their cybersecurity strategies,” said Alfredo Sastre Barraza, President, Csoftmty.

Fully avoiding cybercriminals is almost impossible so a company should not try to become impenetrable, which would be the ideal situation; its focus must be to become resilient, said Daniela Hernández, CISO, Grupo Converse de México, and Vice President of Cybersecurity, AMEXICOM: “Attackers can easily predict what we will do and for us it is not that simple. AI and ML can be our weapon to fight this cyber war.”

Beyond all the benefits that AI and ML bring to information security teams, these technologies also help to face the pronounced demand for cybersecurity talent in Mexico, which has considerable training gaps. “The automation of certain functions reduces human errors. Beyond the technical aspects, training is crucial. In addition, synergy between IT and cybersecurity teams is important. AI and ML are new IT assets that must be administered under a new focus, security,” said Hernández.

Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst