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Hackers vs. CISOs: Whose Side is Artificial Intelligence On?

April 09, 2020

In part one we examined how AIs self-train and develop completely new strategies for tackling challenges and asked what this means for cybersecurity.

Part two of a series.

Artificial intelligence-driven security threats may be able to develop attack tools that humans have never conceived of. But AI security tools can also evolve completely novel cyber defense tactics.

So who has the advantage?

As futurist and AI expert Amy Webb details in The Big Nine, large tech leaders are investing unfathomable money into their pursuit of advanced AI technology (nearly $100 billion in the next three years). They have massive budgets and the smartest people in the world at their disposal, and the heft of the AI establishment is significantly larger once you factor in the host of bright, agile startups in the sector.

Threat AI Security and Games Pt2

Cyber bad guys have smarts and cash, but they can’t come close to matching the resources available to the good guys. Money isn’t the only factor that matters, of course – there’s a host of variables. But resources fund research and that attracts the elite minds in the field.

A popular (mis)perception about cybersecurity is that the criminals attack and security pros just play defense. This was perhaps true a long time ago, but even if it were still the case – which it isn’t – artificial intelligence potentially flips the script.

Technology and security companies are investing billions of dollars into the development of advanced, innovative AI tools, evolving cybersecurity to the point where CISOs and their teams can not only respond to attacks with far greater speed than is now possible, they can do a dramatically better job of anticipating new threats well before they happen. Imagine a clever team of hackers armed with AI deploying a devious new exploit nobody ever thought of before only to find their target’s threat defenses have been calmly waiting for it for weeks.

In an artificial intelligence-enabled world CISOs will certainly face greater challenges than ever before, but they’ll be doing so with cyber defenses unlike anything threat actors ever conceived.

So, again – who has the edge?

Time will tell, and those fearful of AI (including Webb) raise a number of valid points. Still, there’s a distinct possibility that artificial intelligence could be the worst thing that ever happened to cybercriminals.

    Sam Smith, PhD

By: Sam Smith, PhD


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