AI in cybersecurity

Computing and communication technologies are growing at an ever increasing pace with unprecedented access. While there are opportunities and possibilities to celebrate, there are many new challenges to overcome almost every day. One such challenge is the ever changing cybersecurity threat landscape. Cybersecurity threats become an even bigger challenge in the context of national security with adversaries making hefty investments to stay ahead with advanced and sophisticated technology. This requires not just a similar but more powerful response to gain a position of strength in the wake of the ever changing character of war and warfare. While the traditional warfare on air, land and surface is also evolving fast because of technology, cyberspace has also emerged as a new battlefield with new and advanced cyber and digital threats and attacks becoming more common.

The executive order

In an effort to improve the nation’s cybersecurity posture, President Biden issued an executive order in May 2021. “The United States faces persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns that threaten the public sector, the private sector, and ultimately the American people’s security and privacy.  The Federal Government must improve its efforts to identify, deter, protect against, detect, and respond to these actions and actors,” reads the first section of the executive order which talks about the overarching policy. Artificial intelligence (AI) is among different powerful answers to cyber adversaries and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. With their transformative power and new possibilities emerging every day, AI and machine learning (ML) technologies are bringing substantial benefits to cyber defensive operations.

Leveraging the power of AI

Today cyber threats and attacks are complex because of speed, frequency and scale. Among their many capabilities, AI and ML technologies can analyze millions of data sets helping to track down a wide variety of cyber threats. And as these technologies continually learn and improve there are always more possibilities to explore. “Amongst many capabilities, AI technologies can provide automated interpretation of signals generated during attacks, effective threat incident prioritization, and adaptive responses to address the speed and scale of adversarial actions,” said Eric Horvitz, Chief Scientific Officer, Microsoft in testimony on AI applications to operations in cyberspace before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity in May this year. Like Eric Horvitz, in his testimony before the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity Dr Andrew Moore, Vice President and General Manager – Cloud AI & Industry Solutions, Google Cloud, also emphasized continuity of investments in AI related solutions for cybersecurity as he says “With AI, the work of 5,000 people can become the equivalent of 50,000.”

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