This post explores the potentials of Artificial Intelligence in combating the rising threats to cybersecurity.
The recent dramatic arrest and indictment of 80 mostly Nigerian cybercriminals in California and following global crackdown cybercriminal networks has once again brought to the fore the discussion about the growing threats of cybercrime around the world. Annually, millions of dollars are lost to cybercriminals and the resultant economic impact of the activities of these cybercriminals makes a compelling case for an innovative approach in tackling this menace.
In its basic definition, Cybercrime often referred to as computer crime, can be defined as any illegal activity that uses a computer as its primary means of function. The U.S. Department of Justice broadens this definition to include any illegal activity that uses a computer for the storage of evidence.
The term ‘cyber-crime’ can refer to offenses including criminal activity against data, infringement of content and copyright, fraud, unauthorized access, child pornography and cyber-stalking.
The United Nations Manual on the Prevention and Control of Computer Related Crime includes fraud, forgery and unauthorized access in its definition of cyber-crime. Cyber-crime in effect covers a wide range of attacks on individuals and organisations alike. These crimes may include anything from an individual’s emotional or financial state to a nation’s security.
There is a rise in the overall use of online sites for banking, emailing, socializing, or even just gaming and unfortunately, so is cybercrime! Like any other type of crime, the typical online user doesn’t think they’re at risk until it’s too late. Internet security risks seem to be growing as fast as its global adoption as the common place for communication.
Criminals by their nature aren’t known for their tendency to follow rules. They are as innovative as the legitimate systems they hide behind. To stop them in their tracks, security authorities must reinvent their approach and embrace new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the world of cybersecurity, AI is playing a more active role in efforts to discover cyber-attacks. However, experts have argued that this type of technology can do more harm than good if in the wrong hands.
AI algorithms can be very proficient at examining data traffic, access and transfer and identifying any abnormalities in data patterns. If something unusual is detected, the AI programs can take a deeper dive into the data to determine if there is a security breach in the system. Another way that AI can be used in the prevention of cyber-attacks is through a method called “supervised learning”. With this method, the algorithm is provided with a number of inputs and outputs and over time “learns” to detect threats by making judgements based on the data it sees or expects to see. For example, supervised learning may be used to detect advanced malware that is masquerading as a harmless piece of code.
Although the existing AI technologies cannot commit crimes of their own volition, they can certainly be abused by cybercriminals just like any new information technology or service. Artificial Intelligence could be leveraged for nefarious purposes, such as the creation of ever-evolving malware or algorithms designed to infiltrate computer networks. This is why some believe that Artificial Intelligence presents a highly complex issue.
However, the role of AI in the advancement of cybersecurity solutions could be tremendous, but it is important that the regulatory authorities establish frameworks that will solidify AI in cybersecurity.
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