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article imageIT leaders turn to AI to defend against AI-powered cyberattacks

By James Walker     Dec 15, 2017 in Technology
Over 90% of cybersecurity leaders are concerned hackers will use AI to attack their company, according to a new report. Faced with increasingly sophisticated threats, businesses are looking towards defences which use AI to proactively respond to attacks.
"Critical component"
Some 91 percent of cybersecurity professionals are worried that next-generation cyberattacks will be based around AI, a study from Webroot found. As TechRepublic reports, most of the experts surveyed said they will defend against AI-based attacks using more AI. 87 percent of organisations surveyed have already added AI to their cybersecurity strategy.
Almost all the businesses (99%) intending to use AI are optimistic it will improve their cybersecurity responses. The technology is being used in three key ways to augment existing anti-malware solutions. 68 percent of firms said it's helping to identify threats that would otherwise be missed. 65 percent use AI to limit the impact of successful attacks with 62 percent viewing it as a way to cut down on false positives.
These percentages aren't the same across the globe. Companies in the U.S. are leading the trend towards defensive AI solutions, with 95 percent agreeing it's a "critical component" in a modern cybersecurity strategy.
In Japan, only 93 percent of professionals placed so much value in the technology. Almost 80 percent of respondents in Japan said current AI systems are "too unreliable" for use in frontline environments, compared to just 59 percent in the U.S.
Reacting to a shifting landscape
The findings show that organisations are approaching AI as a way to bolster their existing defences. It's used to provide a cross-context overview of a company's cybersecurity posture.
However, deployments are being held back by ongoing concerns about its real-world accuracy. In addition, the technology is so far effectively unproven in defending against next-generation cyberattacks that may also be AI-based.
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Over the next few years, AI will be used more widely as malicious actors evolve their techniques. The development of AI-empowered malware capable of responding in real-time to cybersecurity solutions will necessitate new approaches. The volume of threats will also grow as networks become more complex and new devices come online. The cybersecurity software will have to continually adapt in the same way as the malware itself.
"There is no doubt about AI being the future of security as the sheer volume of threats is becoming very difficult to track by humans alone," said Hal Leonas, Webroot Chief Technology Officer. "We stress to organizations the importance of a contextual view of threats that also incorporates visibility and data points from networks, endpoints, and human threat researchers to derive the most accurate cyber risk assessment. As the results reveal, AI is here to stay and it will have a large impact on security strategies moving forward."
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