ML and AI in cyber security: real opportunities overshadowed by hype
If you define AI as something that can emulate human decision-making, there’s a chance you’ll be disappointed when you find out how limited AI solutions for cyber security really are.
Ahead of his keynote speech at Custodian’s Talking Tech, April 25 2019, Etienne Greeff, CTO and founder of SecureData, admitted that he often rolls his eyes when he hears about AI solutions for cyber security.
He argued: “In cyber security and in application security, there’s actually no known application of AI. There’s no autonomous agent that automatically defines threats; that does not happen yet, and it’s not very close to happening.”
It appears some enterprises are challenging the hype too. Last year, the Financial Times published an article in which an engineer from a UK-based company claimed its Darktrace system regularly sent out false alerts that many IT staff just ignored — back then, the company was spending around $10,000 a month to use it. The engineer, who didn’t want to be named told the FT: “Half my team won’t look at it once during the day . . . I do think it’s very expensive, I’m not going to lie.”
But at the same time, according to Greeff, dismissing the potential of AI and its subset ML in cyber security outright might be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For him, enterprises really just need to manage expectations.
“AI and ML are just tools, and it’s how you use the tools that matter,” said Greeff. “There’s certainly a role for ML and AI in cyber security; for example, they are very good at dealing with lots of information and trying to understand what is normal and what’s anomalous.”
For Greeff, ML can also be used to automate responses to common vulnerabilities and remove some of the heavy lifting around time-consuming protocols.
While some AI/ML-based systems have already proved to be successful at tackling complicated tasks, be it playing chess or participating in debates, at the crux of Greeff’s argument is the view that AI and ML should be used to augment security staff.
Avoiding the hype
But if organisations want to implement AI and ML in their cyber security strategy, how can they avoid falling into a hype-trap?
Information Age suggests that enterprises explore vendors that have an expansive approach to accommodating diverse data sources for analytics.
Beyond this, they need to get someone on board who gets actually AI and ML, or, at least, partner with someone who does.
Enterprises should always be cautious about bold claims. If you hear something like ‘we automatically detect unknown attacks’ chances are its nonsense.
Perhaps most importantly, before acquiring any new solutions, define the particular problem that you’ve got and then figure out if ML or AI is the right way of solving the problem. There may even be a much better traditional way of solving the problem.
Greeff added: “Often in cyber security, we hunt for the complicated solutions but in the end, solutions are often terrifyingly simple.
“Sometimes vendors just get in the way; often the money being spent on shiny new solutions is money not spent on getting the fundamentals right.”
Ultimately, organisations need to spend time shaping the machine learning output with business context, which will ensure that the results are more meaningful and insightful. This requires analysts to spend time on the system and infuse it with their context and insights.
Industry: Artificial Intelligence & Cyber Security News
- DevSecOpp- Security design / review consultant. SC Clearance. London
CH7838 London £70,000 DevSecOpp- Security design / review consultant. DevSecOpp- Security design / review consultant will ensure that newly created, public facing apps are secure by design and by default by aligning them to current / best practice security policies and standards into the design phases. The individual must have a technical software / application development background with specalist experinece in secure architecture design. (Frameworks, processes, best practice etc) Practical experience translating and ensuring that the OWASP top 10, ISO27001, HMG frameworks requirements are reviewed and embedded into project designs which are implemented is essential. Experience working projects through a full development lifecycle is key. You will work along side the design and project teams to idenitfy and mitigate risks throughout the design phases. This is a permanent role. SC clearance is essential as is the ability to get to the London office. (When appropiate #covid) Security DevSecOps consultant. To arrange a discreet call book via https://calendly.com/chris-holt/devsecopp--security-design-review-consultant
- SPLUNK SOC Analyst level 3, London.
SPLUNK SOC Analyst level 3, Must be able to commute to the City of London. Onsite role. Security clearance needed. The SPLUNK SOC Analyst level 3 must have current experience working within a SOC environment with specific experience using a range of tools and techniques to investigate security incidents. Current experience with Splunk is essential. any additional experience Individuals with Elastic Security SIEM are highly desirable. Any of the following certifications are desirable Splunk Phantom certified admin, Splunk Core Certified Power User / Advanced, Splunk Certified Enterprise Security Admin, etc The role will include, but not be limited to working with sophisticated information security tools, investigating security incidents, incident management, technical escalation, process improvement, research into the latest threats, reporting etc The individual MUST currently be living in the UK and be able to achieve UK security clearance. (SC) This is a permanent role To arrange a call with Chris Holt https://calendly.com/chris-holt/arranged-call-with-chris-holt-elastic-siem-engineer-soc Chris.Holt@dclsearch.com
- ISO 27001 & Business Continuity Security Specialist, End User
- United Kingdom
CH7828 ISO 27001 & Business Continuity Security Specialist, End User, £70,000 United Kingdom ISO 27001 & Business Continuity Security Specialist needed to join a Cyber team within an end user. The ISO 27001 & Business Continuity Security Specialist will have end to end responsibility for the information security and Business Continuity management system. ISMS/BCMS. Both from an information security and technical security perspective working alongside the CISO. Experience must include, but not be limited to; a mix of Information Security standards, frameworks, audit principles, controls / policies and the management and use of the technical tooling to achieve compliance. ISO 22301, ISO 27001, NIST Cybersecurity Framework etc An ideal candidate will be working within an end user environment with a cyber consultancy background. Experience taking a company through accreditation is highly desirable Experience managing internal stakeholders, technical teams and external third parties essential Flexible working, very occasional travel to London office This is an exclusive role to DCL Search & Selection. Looking to interview immediately. https://calendly.com/chris-holt/iso-27001-business-continuity-security-specialis
- PCI- DSS Security Consultant, End User
PCI- DSS Security Consultant needed to join a Cyber team within an end user. The PCI- DSS Security Consultant will have end to end responsibility for PCI - DSS and its continuing certification. Both from an information security and technical security perspective working alongside the CISO. Experience must include, but not be limited to; a mix of Information Security standards, frameworks, audit principles, controls / policies and the management and use of the technical tooling to achieve compliance. PCI objectives / 12 key requirements, OWASP top 10, ISO 27001, NIST Cybersecurity Framework etc An ideal candidate will be working within an end user environment with a cyber consultancy background. PCI Cloud compliance, specifically someone with experience taking PCI-DSS from on premise into the cloud is HIGHLY desired. However, someone with Solid PCI experience with a strong technical background which include Cyber / Secure by design etc would be considered. Experience managing internal stakeholders and external third parties essential. Flexible working, but with the ability to get into London. This is an exclusive role to DCL Search & Selection. 1st stage interviews to happen the week of the 14th September Arrange a call with Chris on https://calendly.com/chris-holt/arrange-a-call-chris-dcl-pci-compliance