AI considered 'silver bullet' for cyber security challenges

But machine learning and AI aren't yet advanced enough to keep up with threats, claims ESET

Three quarters of IT decision makers think machine learning and AI are the solutions to their cyber security problems, a report by ESET has revealed.

However, the reality is that these technologies can't fix all issues and speculation can cause confusion in the workplace, in some cases, exposing the organisation to even bigger threats.

ESET's research explained that the misconception is stronger in the US, with 82% of decision makers thinking AI is the most watertight security solution, compared to 67% of UK decision makers. Just over three-quarters (78%) of UK businesses have integrated some sort of machine learning into their security strategy, despite just half understanding the difference between AI and machine learning.

"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.  

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"If the past decade has taught us anything, it's that some things do not have an easy solution especially in cyber space 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."

He added that "overhyping" advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning could cause decision makers to not recognise the real security threats within their organisation and advised though responsible for security strategy to use it as a tool alongside other defences, not as the only solution.

This is because machine learning requires human interaction to verify the results are accurate and while hackers are constantly evolving to introduce new threats, machine learning algorithms have a much narrower focus that means they're not as accurate at defending against hacks as hackers are at introducing them.

"The reality of cyber security 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. There needs to be greater clarity as the hype is muddling the message for those making key decisions on how best to secure their company's networks and data."

Image: Shutterstock

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