The number of criminal cyberattacks keep rising and we are still fairly in the dark when it comes to how best to tackle them. AI is often seen as the holy grail that will save us from hackers and ransomware. But will it actually be able to improve cyber security?
Last month, a North Korean spy was charged by the US Justice Department for helping to perpetrate the cyberattacks against the NHS in 2017. The WannaCry attack affected more than 150 countries, including Spanish telecoms and German rail networks. In total, 47 NHS trusts were attacked in the UK. Following this worldwide hack, operations had to be cancelled, ambulances diverted and patient records made unavailable.
Little has been learnt. Since the attack, every NHS trust that has been tested against cyber security standards has failed, although, to be fair, defending oneself in cyberspace is not easy. There is a famous cyber imbalance in favour of the attacker, who needs only to succeed once while the defence needs to remain perfect at all times. AI can help balance this by dramatically improving cyber defence capabilities.
With a combination of data, computing power and algorithms, artificial intelligence can help detect irregular changes and — far quicker than the human eye – spot and address errors and vulnerabilities within the system. The hackers’ opportunities to exploit these vulnerabilities, the so-called attack surface, would diminish drastically. The massive shortage of skilled cyber workers makes artificial intelligence even more appealing.