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Data Drought Slows Advance of AI in Cybersecurity

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Mathematical formulas of a machine learning algorithm.

In government and the private sector, the use of artificial intelligence for cybersecurity is in the training-wheels stage.

Credit: Sebastian Gollnow/Zuma Press

Artificial intelligence shows promise in fortifying cybersecurity, but programs are still in early stages and a scarcity of the data needed to train models is slowing progress, researchers and cyber specialists say.

Within the U.S. government, many applications of AI are still in exploratory phases, said Matt Hayden, who until January was an assistant secretary for cyber, infrastructure, risk and resilience at the Department of Homeland Security.

"We're kicking the tires, trying to see where some of these advantages lie. We aren't mature enough as a department yet to take it on as a whole-of-government approach," Mr. Hayden said on a virtual conference Wednesday organized by Ai4 LLC.

Other speakers at the conference said the situation in the private sector is at a similarly early stage. Anna Trikalinou, a security research scientist at Intel Corp., said the chip maker has a number of efforts under way, including a partnership with Microsoft Corp. to use AI to analyze and classify malware variants by examining their coding.


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