Even though most people in developed nations have a familiarity with technology — e.g. they have smartphones, use the internet, etc. — most people don’t truly understand artificial intelligence. Movies and TV often depict AI as sentient software inside a human-shaped robot that exists in an unfamiliar future. As a result, many people often develop empathy toward AI, believing it to have thoughts and feelings like you and me, while also believing AI is something that won’t come to pass in their lifetimes.
The truth is that AI isn’t sentient; it isn’t even conscious. Further, AI isn’t only in some far-distant future; it exists now, and it is already being applied in fields like cyber security to boost software functionality and improve people’s lives. Some questions you might have include “What?” and “How?” — and we’re going to answer all of those right here.
1. What Is AI?
Artificial intelligence is a type of software that makes decisions based on certain data, similar to how human brains make decisions using the information they have gathered. While AI doesn’t perfectly mimic the human brain or decision-making process, improvements in AI science and technology have created applications that can take in huge amounts of data and analyze it effectively in a short period of time.
2. What Is the Difference Between AI and Machine Learning?
The meaning of AI continues to morph as experts and non-experts use the term to describe varied concepts and solutions. At present, AI is a wide field in which we strive to make computers behave in ways once thought to require human intelligence. Meanwhile, machine learning is a relatively confined field in which we build algorithms that allow computers to automatically improve through experience. Machine learning is often considered a branch of AI.
3. Is It Possible to Detect Cyber Attacks Before They Happen?
A “Minority Report”–style precog system isn’t exactly what AI is like. Instead, because all cyber-attacks follow a cyber kill chain, a series of steps that allows infiltration and execution of any attack, AI can catch the first stages of the attack and stop it before any real damage is done. You might say that AI is detecting the cyber attack before it happens, but in truth AI systems are recognizing the early signs of an attack already in progress.
4. How Does AI Work in Malware Detection?
In non-AI-backed security, security firms need to swiftly identify individual malware signatures to add to a list that antimalware programs apply to keep users safe. Unfortunately, malware is evolving at a break-neck pace, and many cyber security firms are struggling to keep their signature lists adequately updated.
Meanwhile, AI-backed security can remain effective against malware threats for longer without human intervention. This is because AI doesn’t rely on lists of malware signatures to identify malware; it instead learns about common signatures and extrapolates trends to stay ahead of the curve. The AI system is trained to distinguish between malware and non-malware using information like accessed APIs, consumed processor power, environmental products and amount of transmitted data.
5. What Types of AI Are Used in Cyber Security?
AI is useful in cyber security because security experts cannot be on hand to scour every piece of data on all devices around the globe. Plus, AI-backed security can do more to identify threats that human security experts have never seen before. Here are some of the application categories for AI in cyber security:
- User authentication
- Spam filters
- Network intrusion detection and prevention
- Fraud detection
- Botnet detection
- Hacking forecasting
6. What Is an Example of an AI Algorithm Used in Security?
There are many open-source AI projects that can give you greater insight into how AI security tools work. For example, in Spamassassin, an AI project built for spam mail filtering, analyzes features from emails using the Naive Bayes algorithm to determine whether the message is spam or not. In truth, this is a machine learning algorithm.
7. Is AI Successful in Cyber Security?
AI remains a relatively new technology, and as the technology changes, its success rate will also change. However, various research on AI used in detecting cyber attacks has found success rates between 85 and 99 percent.
8. What Companies Use AI in Cyber Security?
It’s safe to say that all major security firms are working on AI products. While some security companies jumped on AI sooner than others, it’s likely that most trusted cyber security solutions will have some AI functionality in the coming years.
9. Where Can You Get More Info About AI?
The web is filled with valuable information about artificial intelligence largely because it is the internet that has allowed the availability of data necessary to build functional AI. You can read in-depth articles about AI at websites like Machinelearnings.co and Cybrml.com, or you can take courses on the subject from Google as well as top-tier universities like Stanford and Columbia.
[Image via: Google Images]