AI and Cybersecurity – How to Make Them Work Together

May 9, 2023

AI is an emerging technology that can assist IT teams in detecting, monitoring, and responding to threats more rapidly and effectively. This makes AI an integral component of any cybersecurity strategy.

AI and machine learning can be utilized to combat a range of security threats. From malware to spear-phishing attacks, they provide organizations with proactive protection against cybercrime.

1. Use Machine Learning (ML) to Detect Malware

Malware, or malicious software, is one of the most prevalent threats on the Internet. It can infiltrate computer networks, steal sensitive data or engage in other malicious activities. Security professionals use machine learning techniques to detect malware and respond promptly when faced with such risks.

Machine learning (ML) to detect malware can help security teams protect their systems from attacks such as botnets and ransomware. It also automates certain security tasks so security personnel can focus on more pressing matters.

Some Machine Learning (ML) techniques can be employed to detect malware, such as convolutional neural networks (CNN). Another hybrid approach utilizes both static and dynamic analysis techniques; static analysis examines files’ contents without running them, while dynamic analysis takes into account their behavior. These methods enable detection of similar behaviors between members of a family of malware that were not detectable using signature-based approaches.

Another machine-learning (ML) approach that can be utilized to detect malware is by inspecting the raw bytes of a file. This enables CNNs to automatically recognize new patterns and learn their features, which could be beneficial in detecting and classifying malicious software.

Most ML/DL-based malware detection studies employ code analysis as their feature extraction method, although manifest and system call analysis are also frequently employed. This may be because decompiled source code is easier for malware detection modules to comprehend than user-provided permissions or other features provided by the victim.

Other machine learning (ML) methods can also be employed to identify suspicious content, such as phishing links or malicious URLs. This saves security teams time and resources by enabling them to monitor suspicious material in real-time.

Machine learning not only detects malware, but it can also update signature-based defenses to stop newly released strains of this threat. This is especially essential in an age of emerging cyberattacks where current safeguards cannot keep up with the rapidly changing threat landscape.

AI and machine learning (ML) can be employed to detect malware, as well as other types of cyber-attacks, by monitoring user behavior. This helps security teams detect potential risks like spear-phishing attacks or ransomware before they cause harm. They may also detect suspicious content like phishing URLs or malicious files in advance so users aren’t lured in by them in the first place.

2. Automate Responses

With the rise in malware, ransomware and botnet activity, security teams need a comprehensive AI-powered cybersecurity solution that can adapt to the ever-evolving threat landscape. Instead of relying on static rules or signatures, AI systems actively detect new attacks and learn from them in order to enhance their protection.

One of the key advantages of cybersecurity AI is its speedy response to threats. Machine learning algorithms can analyze billions of records to detect malware and phishing activities as they happen, freeing your security team up to focus on high-impact attacks while making recommendations for future defenses.

Another advantage of cybersecurity AI is that it offers insight into your organization’s cybersecurity posture. This helps identify areas in which your infosec program excels and those which require improvement.

Prioritizing your security efforts can help ensure you allocate resources effectively. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can calculate which assets are most vulnerable to attack, so you can allocate resources towards fixing those flaws.

AI-based systems can use their data sets to anticipate where and how your IT assets might be breached, giving you time to prepare. By taking into account your IT asset inventory, threat exposure, and control effectiveness for protecting it, these AI-based systems accurately forecast how and where a breach may take place so that you prioritize acquiring the correct tools and allocating resources accordingly for improved cyber resilience.

AI can also be employed in automated vulnerability management. It works in the background, scanning for weaknesses across devices and networks before cross-referencing them with a database of known issues. Furthermore, it examines historical data from your own organization as well as others’ organizations to suggest potential security flaws that may have gone undetected.

Security AI can be a tremendous asset to your business, so it’s essential that you select the right system that integrates with existing security infrastructure and applications. It should have the capacity to detect threats quickly and provide various use cases that are straightforward to implement. Furthermore, its effectiveness must be ensured through regular updating of data sets and algorithms.

3. Prevent Spear-Phishing Attacks

Spear phishing attacks have become more sophisticated and common. To carry them out effectively, attackers must invest a great deal of effort into identifying target victims and creating convincing lures that may convince people to give over sensitive information or download malware.

Spear phishing campaigns often target specific individuals within organizations. These individuals typically possess access to sensitive company data or are in positions that could result in substantial financial losses if their security is breached.

The initial step in any business venture is gathering background information on your target. This could involve identifying employee roles, responsibilities and relationships; researching the organization’s website and social media accounts; as well as researching business processes and suppliers.

Once this information has been gathered, an attacker creates an email that is sent to the targeted individual or group – this strategy is known as spear phishing. The message must appear to come from someone they know or someone with authority status in order for it to appear legitimate.

Attackers employ a range of techniques to make their emails appear genuine, such as using spoofed Internet addresses and engaging in social engineering. Furthermore, they take advantage of the fact that humans tend to respond better when receiving messages from trusted sources.

If you’re worried about spear phishing attacks in your organization, be sure to educate employees about the potential risk and provide them with training on how to identify and report suspicious emails. Set aside 15 minutes for a company meeting where everyone can discuss what a phishing attempt looks like, how it operates, and what steps they should take if they’re uncertain about an email they receive.

Another way to prevent spear phishing is by regularly updating employee security policies and access permissions. Doing this will guarantee your employees understand what information they can and cannot share, how to safeguard themselves, as well as what actions to take if an email from a vendor or someone unknown comes their way.

For the best protection against spear phishing attacks, implement a comprehensive layered cybersecurity solution that can detect and block all threats at their source. These systems detect inbound email threats before they reach your inbox, stop outside attacks that use your domain to target customers or partners, and verify any message requesting sensitive transactions.

4. Prevent Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks pose a significant danger to businesses, as this type of cyberattack can wreak havoc on data, shut down networks and cause other issues. Fortunately, organizations can take several steps to safeguard themselves against ransomware and other forms of attacks.

One way is using AI-powered cybersecurity tools. These can detect malicious traits more accurately than traditional signature-based systems do, and they also prevent ransomware attacks from ever taking off by providing continuous visibility of all digital environments.

Another strategy is network segmentation, which divides your network into multiple smaller ones with their own security controls and firewalls. This can isolate ransomware attacks from your main network and give you more time to respond.

You can further strengthen the security of your network by keeping both software and operating system up to date with all patches. Doing this reduces the number of exploitable vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to access your system and steal data from you.

Additionally, regular backups of important files can mitigate the effects of ransomware infection and enable you to quickly recover from an attack. These backups should be stored offsite, out of reach of attackers, and protected from malware.

Finally, employees should be taught the criticality of protecting their computers and devices from malicious hackers. Training should include learning how to detect and avoid phishing emails, malvertisements, and other common threats that could deliver ransomware.

Preventing ransomware attacks is the best way to stay secure. A multilayered approach includes network, endpoint, edge and application controls powered by actionable threat intelligence. These tools can detect a ransomware attack before it’s too late and automatically detect and remove it for you, keeping your data secure and your business running smoothly.

Ransomware is typically distributed via phishing emails and drive-by downloads, in which users visit a website infected with the virus. Phishing emails are typically sent by criminals posing as vendors, customers or employees and use malicious links in the email body to install ransomware on their victims.

Ammar Fakhruddin


Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.

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