The relevance of cybersecurity in the current world milieu cannot be overstated. The sector (cybersec) has never been more relevant, more in demand, and essential for the continued functioning of any business or organization on earth. News, front pages, and blogs are chock full of cyberattack reports regularly which very clearly outlines the worrying state of the global risk climate. Does this sound exaggerated? Actually, this is indeed the legitimate truth. If we think back to movies like Swordfish and The Matrix, it was a time where hackers and cyberspace were a fantasy. Today, so much of what went on in those movies has, as crazy as it sounds, become a reality. Extremely dangerous nation-state hacker groups (APTs) who have frightening malicious software tools at their disposal are on a mission to mercilessly topple world governments. We as a society have never been in more immediate danger, and criminals have never had an easier platform via which to perform crippling attacks. News of gas pipelines, water systems, and even lofty institutions like the Federal Reserve being intruded into, is commonplace. World leaders in insurance, heads of the largest IT corporations, cybersecurity specialists, and risk management leaders all agree that cybercrime is the number one threat in the world today. Leading organizations in the business sector have been seeing hundreds of millions of dollars in annual losses as a result of malware-based cyber attacks. So, what information can we gather from the public when it comes to cybersecurity and developments in artificial intelligence? According to statistics, a customer experience (CX) survey conducted in the U.S. in 2019 revealed that 53% of respondents’ results leaned towards the need for improved analytics and the reduced need for human involvement in processes and tasks. Statistics also show that the need for artificial intelligence in the cybersecurity sector also comes from the compliance and threat intelligence sectors. The development, research, and application of the artificial intelligence sector is going to keep rising, even despite the impact of the pandemic. Almost 50% of artificial intelligence investments did not experience a negative impact even through the pandemic, and over 30% of businesses are still planning to increase such investments.
According to the U.S National Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, “Cybersecurity is the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information”. The cybersecurity industry is growing and quickly developing, and is a $200 billion sector. It is projected to grow to $304.91 by 2027.
Artificial intelligence, according to IT world leader IBM “leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind”. According to John McCarthy’s 2004 definition of artificial intelligence, “It is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable”. Gartner’s ‘AI Hype Cycle’ notes that “small data, generative AI, composite AI, responsible AT and things as customers – make their debut on this year’s AI Hype Cycle..”.
In order to drive forward the future of digital security against mounting cybersecurity threats, leaks, and an evolving cybercriminal force, as is with any industry, the use of emerging technologies and especially disruption is usually how the economy evolves and adapts. The industry is foreseeing democratization of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, which means it will no longer be a lofty, exclusive topic available only to mystery figures in the shadows. Artificial intelligence is now widely used and delivers value to people and organizations. Let’s not forget that we aren’t talking about artificial intelligence alone, but the combinations of artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) that lead to even better solutions and possibilities on the horizon. The industrialization of artificial intelligence also will give the industry better scalability, reusability, and system sensor safety, for example. The global C-suite (CEOs and board members) is driving the artificial intelligence change, which further accelerates the adoption of the technology as well as the amount of investment coming in.
Digital transformation or digitalization is the biggest trend that is transitioning the entire economy. With so much sensitive and confidential data being digitized, organizations must always think about the digital security (cybersec) surrounding this transition. Artificial intelligence can be applied to almost any industry and promises to improve efficiency on all ends. However, adopting an emerging and disruptive technology always means there will be security challenges. In the case of artificial intelligence, there are already issues surrounding the misuse of the technology such as the creation of ‘deep fakes’ and AI-backed, cybercriminal controlled malware, and data intrusions. Classic or traditional protection mechanisms such as antiviruses, firewalls, and web proxies are quickly becoming obsolete, legacy approaches. These are now being replaced by artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) guided cybersecurity solutions. The combined effectiveness of these solutions is aimed at strengthening the defense wall against ever-evolving cyberattacks, IoT (Internet of Things) vulnerabilities as well as the ability to prepare, monitor and evaluate incoming attacks and vulnerable endpoints in organizations’ systems infrastructure.
The use of artificial intelligence is solving many cybersecurity challenges, simply because there are fewer humans involved thereby reducing human error, as well as being able to function at speeds and widths that are likewise humanly impossible. Machine learning combined with artificial intelligence can;
There are also several drawbacks when it comes to employing artificial intelligence technology;
The partnership between humans and machines has led to where we are today, where we almost have a perfect symbiosis with artificial intelligence technologies that will make it easier to conduct business, have better digital security, and be more efficient as a society overall. However, organizations must have thorough cybersecurity strategies and very strict safety and access policies to keep up good cybersecurity hygiene. Down the road, we may see the application of quantum computing with AI, ML, and cybersecurity solutions to form a new era of computing. But, the technologies we develop must remain in the hands of those that are looking to develop society, not destroy it.