back icon Back Insights 11/01/2023

Facing Emerging Cybersecurity Risks in the Era of AI

In the dynamic realm of cybersecurity, the intricate relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and traditional security measures is a critical factor in fortifying defenses and fueling business growth. Organizations with AI-assisted security protocols have experienced 43% higher growth over the past five years; however, the impact of AI on cybersecurity is not without challenges.

As the cyber landscape continues to evolve and cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated, we’ll look at the impact of AI on cybersecurity threat detection, incident response, and ultimate recovery, as well as how to best navigate the potential challenges. 

Understanding AI in Cybersecurity

Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are at the forefront of modern cybersecurity. For a quick primer, AI and machine learning refer to branches of computer science that leverage robust data sets and specific commands to imitate human language and behavior. AI automates, enhances, and optimizes security protocols, threat detection, and incident response in cybersecurity.

The role of AI technology in shaping current cybersecurity protocols has become undeniable. Security measures powered by AI now include predictive analytics, where AI anticipates cyber attacks; natural language processing (NLP) functionalities, which equip chatbots for security advisories; and deep learning artificial neural networks, which enable real-time threat detection. 

Benefits of AI in Cybersecurity

So, how has AI improved cyber security? AI can process vast amounts of data at unmatched speeds, ensuring rapid threat detection—something that is paramount in the increasingly risk-prone cyber landscape. AI-based threat hunting can instantly produce incident summaries and automate responses, working to accelerate breach investigations and triage by an average of 55%.

The ability to detect threats before they occur, as well as fortify cyber defenses with personalized solutions, provides organizations with a 40% higher return on security investment (ROSI). Not to mention, AI can also verify an organization’s customers through behavioral data and analyze the risk of each login attempt to improve the user experience and reduce fraud costs by up to 90%

Challenges of AI in Cybersecurity

Despite the positive impacts of AI on cybersecurity, it can bring challenges. With a global shortage of over 3 million cybersecurity workers, the complexities of keeping AI models up-to-date with evolving threats isn’t just time-consuming, it’s resource-draining. Because AI in cybersecurity is relatively new, training AI models with company data and security policies can be quite costly. 

Beyond the price tag, the potential manipulation of AI systems is another major challenge. Security teams spend one-third of their workday investigating ‘cyber attacks’ that are not real threats, which are exacerbated by false positives caused by unreliable machine learning patterns. However, these false positives are also attributed to hackers, who have weaponized AI to breach security protocols. 

The Role of AI in Threat Detection and Prevention

The average time to detect a security incident has increased over the past two years, according to global Security Operations Center (SOC) professionals. More than 80% of SOC team members claim that manual threat investigation slows down overall response times and report that they are only assessing half of the threat alerts that they’re supposed to review in a typical workday. 

As for what slows down overall threat response the most, it would be poor company-wide collaboration (20%) and a lack of integrations between security systems (19%). So, it’s no surprise that nearly 40% of security professionals believe that more AI technology could not only improve cybersecurity threat detection but also accelerate risk prioritization and prevention. 

By analyzing patterns across vast data sets, AI can identify unusual behavior or anomalies in real-time significantly faster than human analysts. Beyond threat detection, AI-based threat hunting also helps in creating proactive defense mechanisms. It can, for instance, predict potential phishing attempts or automatically block suspicious activities based on predefined criteria. 

AI’s Impact on Incident Response and Recovery

It’s not just the average time to detect a cyber threat that has increased—it’s also the time to respond to one. According to SOC professionals, poor collaboration with teams outside of the Security Operations Center (20%) and a lack of interoperability between security systems (19%) have slowed overall threat response the most. Enter AI-assisted incident response tools.

Case studies show that if an organization typically takes 230 calendar days to detect, respond to, and recover from a cyber attack, AI-based cybersecurity tools can slash that time by up to 99 days. Even more, 60% of organizations with AI-powered security measures report that they help analysts operate more efficiently and save the company an average of $3.05M in data breach costs.

When a security breach occurs, AI-driven tools provide instant alerts, suggesting immediate countermeasures and minimizing potential financial and reputational damage. After an attack, AI technology can assist in the recovery phase by identifying compromised data, recommending restorative actions, and ensuring that systems are fortified against similar future threats.

AI and the Evolving Landscape of Cybersecurity

As cyber threats grow in complexity, the impact of AI on cybersecurity cannot be overstated. Future security solutions depend on artificial intelligence and machine learning to digest each incident, continually refining cyber defense mechanisms. However, as AI becomes more integral to cybersecurity protocol, there will continue to be challenges organizations must navigate. 

From the potential for false positive threats to the potential price tag on artificial intelligence solutions, the challenges of AI in cybersecurity will persist—but so will innovations. As your organization adapts to the ever-changing landscape shaped by AI technology, monitoring the latest advancements in artificial intelligence is vital. 

Check out our recent article,  The Future of Loyalty: How Blockchain Technologies is Transforming Travel Rewards Programs to learn more about impactful travel technology.