Combining Human Intellect with Artificial Intelligence

With the rapid advancement of technology, the threat from cyberattacks continues to grow exponentially. In fact, the average number of cyberattacks and data breaches increased 15.1% from 2020 to 2021. To protect themselves from cybercriminals, businesses must stay up to date on technological developments.

With recent and rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) it should come as no surprise that many businesses are looking to AI as a stepping stone into the future of cybersecurity. But AI isn’t the ultimate solution – at least, not on its own. Emerging technologies always present risk, and AI is no exception. Supplementing all AI solutions with human intelligence is the best way to ensure your cybersecurity bases are covered.

What's Covered? 

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The Case Against Complete AI Reliance

When it comes to protecting against cyber threats, relying only on AI has four fundamental issues:

1. AI driven systems operate based on the data they are trained on. If the training data is biased or incomplete, the AI may have difficulty effectively identifying new threats, which may result in either false positives or false negatives.

2. Cybercriminals can exploit loopholes inside AI algorithms, which gives them the opportunity to deceive the system to gain access to sensitive data or systems while completely avoiding any detection.

3. AI lacks the contextual understanding and nuanced decision-making capabilities of human intelligence, which makes it difficult for AI systems to deal with complicated or unique assault situations.

4. AI systems may generate a large number of false positives or false negatives due to incomplete or inaccurate data, leading to unnecessary alerts or overlooked threats. That doesn’t mean AI should be totally overlooked — there are several ways AI can strengthen your cybersecurity approach.

Why AI Isn't Enough

While AI is a powerful ally in combating cyber threats, interaction from the cybersecurity experts remains a critical component in the battle against cybercrime. ACS’s cybersecurity experts develop a comprehensive understanding of your business's operations, unique risks, and regulatory frameworks. This contextual knowledge allows them to interpret and respond to threats more effectively, providing a layer of critical thinking and judgment that AI systems lack.

Cybersecurity experts can also adapt and respond swiftly to emerging threats and attack methodologies. Cybercriminals continuously evolve their tactics, and human intervention is crucial in identifying new patterns and devising innovative strategies to mitigate risks. 

When it comes to cybersecurity, humans are the ultimate protectors. The AI models are only as good as the information their models are built with." -Ryan Weston, ACS Chief Information Security Officer

And while AI can be used to prevent cyberattacks, it can also be used by cybercriminals to develop and implement cyberattacks. In fact, in a recent interview published by the New York Times, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, one of the pioneers in AI, says “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.” AI isn’t enough -- it is crucial for your business to have a dedicated IT partner to keep your cybersecurity measures up-to-date to stay ahead of the bad actors.

AI + Human Experts = The perfect cybersecurity combo!

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5 Ways AI Can Improve Your Cybersecurity Posture

AI is a developing technology and changing at a rapid pace. But it still has its benefits and when used strategically, it can drastically improve your cybersecurity posture. Let's explore 5 ways that AI is improving businesses cybersecurity.

1. Improved Threat Detection 

AI can collect and analyze massive volumes of data, allowing it to spot trends and inconsistencies that may indicate a cyberattack is imminent. According to IEEE Computer Society, signature-based techniques, which are most likely utilized by your organization or IT provider, can detect approximately 90% of malicious activities and cyber threats.

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Using AI instead of conventional methods could increase detection rates to nearly 95%, with the drawback of generating many false positives. The ideal solution? Combine powerful AI software with careful human analysis from cybersecurity engineers to maximize detection rates while minimizing false positives.

2. Faster Response Time

AI has the ability to analyze large amounts of data in real time which enables a quicker response to minimize potential damage. In certain circumstances, AI is capable of thwarting an attack before it even takes place. Some AI-powered software has shown the ability to continuously monitor network traffic and detect anomalies that may indicate a potential cyber-attack. In such cases, tests have shown that the system could automatically isolate the affected device or application and prevent the attack from spreading further. In fact, according to IBM’s data breach report for 2022, organizations using AI and automation had a 74-day shorter breach lifecycle and saved an average of three million dollars more than those without.

The ability for AI to quickly calculate and return appropriate results is staggering, but human analysis and expertise remain essential to a comprehensive, layered cybersecurity approach." – Drew Dunkel, ACS Director of Technology Solutions
3. Reduced Human Error

Approximately 88% of cyberattacks are caused by human errors, like forgetting to update a program that is running on your computer. AI has revolutionized the way businesses operate by reducing the risk of human error. AI has been shown to be able to handle routine tasks such as software updates and vulnerability patching which ensures that these tasks are completed accurately and efficiently. This not only saves time but reduces the risk of errors that could potentially lead to security breaches or system failures.

4. Cost Savings

The impact of a cyber-attack on a business can be financially catastrophic. The average expense incurred due to a ransomware attack in 2022 was $4.54 million. It is crucial to have a well-defined incident response plan in place to minimize the impact of a security breach. And by integrating AI-powered cybersecurity systems in conjunction with human intervention, businesses can rest easy knowing their networks and systems are secure, their reputation is safe, and they will be saving A LOT of money!

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5. Future-Proofing with Machine & Deep Learning

As technology advances, so do the methods of cyberattacks, like cryptojacking, angler phishing attacks, and many more. To combat these threats, cybersecurity has turned to AI for solutions. As noted above, AI has shown the ability to prevent attacks before they even happen. In a similar sense, through machine learning and deep learning models, AI-based cybersecurity systems are constantly evolving to stay ahead of the latest threats and protect against potential breaches.

Machine learning algorithms serve as a foundational step towards the development of artificial intelligence. Deep learning is taking machine learning a step further by using a large network of data sets that function like a human brain to logically analyze data. This allows AI to learn complex patterns and make predictions about what to expect in the future. 

That doesn’t mean it's capable of predicating the future like a real-life clairvoyant; it is simply making well-formulated and educated guesses based on the information it gathers through its learning models. However, it is likely that as tech advances, the use of AI to predict future cyber threats will too.

TL;DR: The Takeaway

  • As technology continues to advance, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent. It is crucial for both organizations and individuals to remain vigilant and proactive in their efforts to protect themselves from these attacks. AI-powered cybersecurity systems can significantly and swiftly mitigate the likelihood of a security breach and reduce human error, leading to cost savings in the long term.
  • Without experienced cybersecurity experts, even the most impressive AI falls shorts – every organization needs the attention and intellect of actual humans to interpret and analyze threats that may have gone unnoticed by software and provide guidance for how to respond to these threats in a timely and effective manner.
  • By combining the power of AI with human expertise, organizations can create a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that maximizes protection against cyberattacks. It is essential for all parties involved to work together towards this common goal in order to stay ahead of evolving threats in today's digital landscape. 

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