There are many reasons humans need AI help when it comes to cybersecurity. The skills shortage is one of them. Dealing with monotonous tasks that lead to burnout is another. The ability to do the type of deep dives that humans can’t is a third.
Yet many people, including those in IT and cybersecurity, remain skeptical about the benefits of AI in cybersecurity. Or maybe they’re worried that AI will take jobs away from humans. But the truth is, AI can’t work without human interaction. As Trustwave Blog post pointed out, “Many systems these days can use data analysis to detect anomalies in their environment, but they cannot tell you whether that anomaly is something good or bad.”
Humans and AI need to partner up in order to get the most out of the technology.
AI is not here to replace you
This misconception simply cannot be emphasized enough. Robots are not here to replace you; they are there to help you do your job better.
“The best analogy for AI and cybersecurity professionals exists between mathematicians and calculators,” said Tim Wade, technical director of the CTO team at Vectra, in an email comment. “Did calculators significantly change the way math was done? Absolutely – for starters, they have largely eliminated the need to maintain mastery of slide rules and journal tables. Have the (rare) mathematicians associated with the creation of journaling tables been moved? May be?”
What happened instead was that calculators not only allowed for faster calculations, but also extended the exploration of mathematical concepts to a much wider audience. AI and cybersecurity professionals have a similar relationship, Wade said.
“There is no shortage of tasks for people, and these people will stand on the shoulders of their AI tools.”
How AI works as a security tool
Where AI excels is in noise management, an area that humans struggle with. But at the same time, AI needs human interaction to recognize context and pinpoint issues.
AI helps cybersecurity in a number of ways depending on how it is integrated into a business or organization’s systems, explained Cody Michaels, application security consultant at nVisium.
“A weak AI, that is, an AI that does not do much in the way of thinking, is nothing more than glorified algorithms going through a predefined, static style of functionality” if this, so that, “” Michaels said in an email interview. “Stronger AI will perform actions based on patterns and variables that can be self-modified based on the primary intent of the system.”
An example of weak AI is packet monitoring or virus scanning based on reported known threats. Conversely, a strong AI replicates both what weak AI can do and relies on it, including tasks such as human alerting of suspicious behavior on the network / system. ‘a user with valid credentials.
“While many aren’t even aware of this fact, we all actually have a hitting style the same way we have, say, a unique walking style. So a powerful AI would be able to spot and report the fact that someone who only has a typing speed of 15 wpm is suddenly typing like they’re in an episode of ‘Mr. Robot, ”Michaels said.
The AI / human partnership
“Automate boring things,” software developer Al Sweigart once said. This is where AI shines, with the boring tasks that need to be done but can be extremely boring for most cybersecurity professionals. (Do you want to read the logs all day to find a singular anomaly? Of course not. Nobody does.) So, according to Michaels, working with AI to strengthen your security is all about managing time and costs. resources.
“My advice to anyone looking to implement AI into their processes is to start small,” Michaels said. “For example, think of a handful of tasks that you can document in full in advance so that there is little impact if they are done incorrectly multiple times. Once this type of task is taken care of, you can move on to bigger obstacles as you now have more bandwidth to tackle them.
Think of the AI as the coworker who offers a second look at what you’ve been up to, to make sure everything’s right and there aren’t any glaring mistakes that could cause issues.
“Keep in mind that this is another layer of your security stance,” Michaels said. “AI is a tool like any other, but this particular tool has the promise of efficiency and return as you continue to evolve and include more data, as well as the time you spend on it. “