Is Artificial intelligence a silver bullet for cybersecurity?
There is a tsunami of hype around the possibilities of AI and machine learning in the cybersecurity industry, with some arguing that AI is a ‘silver bullet’ for digital security. Whilst others vehemently disagree with this position.
Many argue that IT decision makers throughout the US and Europe are a little too oversold on the hype around AI and ML
Three-quarters of IT decision makers think machine learning and AI are going to provide the answer to their cybersecurity problems, a report by security vendor ESET says this week.
Yet the organisation warns that this is a dangerous misconception – and one that is even stronger over in the US with 82% of decision-makers thinking AI is the ideal security solution (compared with 67% of UK decision makers).
“It is worrying to see that the hype around AI and ML is causing so many IT decision makers – particularly in the US – to regard the technologies as ‘the silver bullet’ to cybersecurity challenges,” said Juraj Malcho, ESET’s CTO.
“If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that some things do not have an easy solution – especially in cyberspace where the playing field can shift in a matter of minutes. In today’s business environment, it would be unwise to rely solely on one technology to build a robust cyber defence.”
The real worry is that continuing to overhype AI and machine learning in the security industry might lead to decision makers overlooking real security threats and under-estimating the ability of cybercriminals to adapt to changing systems.
“The reality of cybersecurity is that true AI does not yet exist, while the hype around the novelty of ML is completely misleading, it has been around for a long time,” Malcho added. “As the threat landscape becomes even more complex, we cannot afford to make things more confusing for businesses.”
ESET says that certain vendor’s promises around AI and ML ‘[have] the potential to put businesses in a position where security professionals are relying too much on the development of AI and not focussing enough on a joint and multi-layered approach of human and machine’.
Considering AI and ML as a silver bullet does seem to be riven with more problems than initially appears to the casual observer – and it’s certainly too early to start to consider using these technologies to replace humans in the fight against cybercrime.