Machine Learning as a New Line of Cybersecurity Defense

In Cyber Security, Cybersecurity, Machine Learning by Yuda Saydun

It’s no surprise to anyone that digital threats are evolving and becoming more complex than ever before. As attackers take their game to the next level, an organization’s cybersecurity program should grow and become smarter along with them. The latest step forward in digital defense comes in the form of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms that combine the reliability of traditional signatures with the power of Big Data analytics.

Legacy Tools No Longer the Answer to Growing Threats

With the ever-increasing sophistication of today’s security threats, traditional layers of defense like SIEMs, IDS/IPS, and antimalware applications are no longer sufficient. While these tools are certainly effective at thwarting routine port scans or spam emails, the smart security administrator needs to add another layer of security to be truly protected from advanced attacks. Signature-based defenses can’t scale fast enough or stay up to date with critical threats like zero-day attacks or a targeted phishing campaign, and reactive security programs are an open invitation for a data breach. While a business can add more resources to its SOC, or invest in the most engaging security awareness program, an organization’s defense is only as strong as the tools used in that defense. The reality is that security programs built on tools from as recent as 3-4 years ago are already outdated in the face of today’s threats.

Combining Traditional Defenses With Modern Data Analytics

 What is the answer to the increasing complexity of these attacks? By pairing the usefulness of legacy solutions with a boost from Big Data, machine learning allows administrators to identify and prevent new or anomalous threats while controlling attacks from traditional threat vectors. Beginning with a baseline of signature files and a sample of normal activity from the network, new security devices can implement machine learning to automatically detect and shut down advanced threats that would otherwise slip past legacy perimeters.

An important component of these AI-driven devices is the ability to aggregate and analyze data from all the environments they are installed in, across multiple customers and industries. For clients who choose to opt-in to the program, smart devices can share their anonymized data in a pool of information from other clients, greatly increasing the samples that algorithms can be based upon. By analyzing data from such a large pool, these devices can leverage predictive analysis to protect an organization from threats that are new to their market but have been seen before in other industries.

In summary, security professionals should be aware that traditional lines of defense are no longer sufficient against today’s evolving threats. Machine intelligence and Big Data are changing the cybersecurity game by combining legacy methods with modern analysis and behavior models and should be seriously considered while building a well-rounded security program.

PHOTO CREDIT: UNSPLASH | JASH CHHABRIA

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