The Role of AI in Cybersecurity

As AI develops, it has definite applications for cybersecurity

The use of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity has been developing over recent years in an attempt to automate the detection of malicious code and hacking attempts. Research and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand; as hackers continually develop new ways of exploiting vulnerabilities, cybersecurity professionals must do their best to stay one step ahead of them.

Current AI Is Really Machine Learning

The foundation of artificial intelligence is machine learning, which uses algorithms to analyze large amounts of data to find patterns that have some meaning for the IT team. While current machine learning requires the input of algorithms by programmers, future AI development may involve the machines themselves making or modifying the algorithms to achieve the outcome desired.

Current machine learning models have seen some success, but are a long way from self-teaching beyond how they are programmed. As algorithms get increasingly complex, however, the risk is that few people will be able to understand how they work or explain their findings. It is unclear whether these exceedingly complex algorithms will be of any use to cybersecurity if they can’t be explained and understood.

One current benefit of machine learning and algorithms, however, is that they go beyond the current strategy of many cybersecurity efforts, which is to detect known viruses, worms, and other malicious code. Since hackers are constantly coming up with new threats, machine learning’s ability to detect patterns that could indicate malicious code rather than actual, known malicious code is one step in the right direction toward better cybersecurity overall.

Use of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity
Hackers and cybercriminals need to be stopped, and AI may make stopping them easier.

Could AI Solve Cybersecurity Shortages?

AI is also seen as a possible solution to the severe understaffing and shortage problems plaguing the cybersecurity industry. If machines can be taught to detect patterns that could indicate cyberattacks, the reasoning goes, it stands to reason that they could do so faster and better than people could. Therefore, fewer people would be needed, and shortages would resolve themselves.

While AI may indeed help to resolve cybersecurity shortages, people will still be needed to make sense of the machines’ findings and to lead them in the right direction to find and neutralize threats. Today’s machine learning is not true AI, because it still must be programmed and fed algorithms at each step in order to work.

However, a few more decades of development may yield the true AI that could render people obsolete as programmers for machines. In that eventuality, cybersecurity professionals just have to hope that AI is on their side and not the other.

Today’s professionals may have opportunities to develop the AI technology that will be used in future cybersecurity for critical infrastructures. As machine learning evolves into machine intelligence, it remains to be seen how AI might be used to neutralize cybersecurity threats and prevent data breaches that currently cost companies billions of dollars each year.

Florida Tech offers an advanced cybersecurity degree program to teach cutting-edge techniques for protecting private information and systems from hacking. Learn more about our cybersecurity program to see how you can be part of much-needed cybersecurity solutions.

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