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Machines v. Hackers: Cybersecurity's Artificial Intelligence Future

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Computers equipped with sophisticated learning algorithms are performing jobs that until recently required highly trained humans.

Over time, experts say, the complexity of cybersecurity jobs performed by machines will increase, further reducing the demand for human workers and changing the nature of cybersecurity work.

Credit: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Experts predict machines will perform increasingly complex cybersecurity operations over time, causing demand for human analysts to further decline and facilitating a paradigm shift in cybersecurity.

SparkCognition CEO Amir Husain notes artificial intelligence is already being employed to secure information with tasks such as file analysis, while computers are capable of performing many of the response functions currently handled by people, only much faster.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) next month will host the first-ever hacking contest pitting automated supercomputers against each other. DARPA's Mike Walker says the competition seeks to build impetus for the construction of "autonomous systems that can arrive at their own insights, do their own analysis, make their own risk equity decisions of when to patch and how to manage that process."

Meanwhile, technology companies are working toward the same objective, with IBM in May announcing plans to teach a cloud-based version of its Watson cognitive technology to spot cyberattacks and computer crimes.

Experts note much of cybersecurity work entails extracting insights from a vast corpus of unimportant data. "You're looking around your infrastructure and studying [network traffic] for machines that are talking to some [Internet] address or region that your network hasn't talked to before," says the SANS Institute's John Pescatore.

From The Christian Science Monitor
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