SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Cybersecurity practitioners are convinced they need AI — now comes the hard part

By Contributor
Fri 15 Oct 2021

Article by LogRhythm VP for sales APAC Simon Howe.
 

Like other domains, cybersecurity has been eyeing the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms for some time.

Even back in 2019, nearly two-thirds of respondents to a Capgemini survey thought AI would ‘help identify critical threats’. Additionally, 73% of Australian organisations believed they would eventually be unable to respond to attacks without the assistance of AI.

Analysis by PwC since then confirms that AI is ‘making organisations more resilient to cybercrime’.

There’s been a steady movement for certain cybersecurity functions to harness AI/ML since then. It is now particularly prevalent in malware detection and increasingly for automating analysis and decision-making in data-intensive fields like incident detection and response.

But cybersecurity is also a particularly challenging space for AI/ML use. It’s fast-moving, and the stakes are high. Algorithms put to work in security need themselves to be trustworthy and secure, and this in itself is not easy to solve.

Through our work in this space over the past seven-plus years, some ground rules have emerged. In particular, some keys to success in this space include clean data, a good business case, and the ongoing involvement of domain and technical experts.

Getting these right will solve many of the current challenges and bring cybersecurity functions closer to the AI-augmented operating model they need.
 

The deal on data

Data is obviously a critical input into AI and machine learning algorithms, both initially as those models are being trained, and then on an ongoing basis when the models are put into production and are expected to constantly get better at what they do.

Most organisations don’t have clean, unified and consistent data to feed a model from the outset, and so many AI/ML projects begin with a period of data preparation before any of the actual AI work can proceed.

This has been understood for some time. The Capgemini survey, for example, noted that ‘buying or building a data platform to provide a consolidated view of data should be a first step for organisations that want to use AI in cybersecurity successfully.’ Still, that probably understates the level of effort involved.

In the cybersecurity world, it’s important to collect data from a range of different sources — from antivirus, firewalls, databases, cloud, servers and end-user devices — because that’s ultimately what will enrich data science and models for AI. 

That data must then be treated: processed, analysed, and pulled into a format that can be consumed by the model.

Consistency matters at this stage, and in all likelihood, most organisations won’t have it. Not all logs contain the same metadata fields. Not all vendors even define log fields in the same manner. 

Organisations will need to establish consistent definitions and contextualise the metadata present in their logs to understand what to train the model on and what it should be looking for.
 

Just add domain expertise

As mentioned in the previous section, context raises another important point about AI/ML adoption in cybersecurity. 

Domain expertise is a crucial input. The first step in an AI/ML project is to get a domain expert to define what is happening in the environment that gives rise to the need for algorithmic assistance. The need may stem from a missed or bad detection of a threat, or from the existence of too many false positives. Whatever it is, it needs to be written down.

If AI/ML is considered the best way to address this challenge and a model is then developed, domain expertise will still be needed while the model finds its feet. The expert understands what is normal and what is unusual, even if the model doesn’t yet. 

For example, in the days before mass remote work, it was easier to define what normal and unusual might look like in the traffic logs and patterns of a workday. Large-scale work-from-home introduced considerable unpredictability and complexity. A model will not be able to detect some of this nuance immediately, and oversight will be required. 

A domain expert will be able to look at a model’s output and understand what data is missing or how the model is trying to detect a cybersecurity threat. This is important in understanding how to then tune the model.

That need for tuning will be ongoing. Attack tactics and techniques are constantly changing, so organisations that employ AI/ML for cybersecurity have to constantly look at what’s happening in the field to understand how that impacts the AI model and its detection ability.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Forensics
Exterro adds advanced capabilities to digital forensic tool
The launch is in-line with Exterro’s investment in the FTK product line, and underscores the company's commitment to the digital forensics.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Three key security challenges facing the Australian insurance industry 
Insurance companies must ensure they proactively address security challenges and protect the privacy of customer data.
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils three new security managed services
Security Experts includes three new managed services, Defender Experts for Hunting, Defender Experts for XDR, Security Services for Enterprise.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Companies rushing to secure print infrastructure
As the pandemic prioritised communication channels and the shift to remote work, IT departments fell behind in updating the security of print and IT infrastructure.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
Surveillance
Genetec launches new enclosure management system for data centers
Genetec has released a new enclosure management solution that will give data centers the ability to secure, monitor and manage access to racks and cabinets remotely.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Ransomware
Anniversaries remind us to review identity risks
World Password Day provides a timely reminder for ordinary citizens and organisations to stop and think about the risks associated with digital identities.
Story image
Malware
Sharp increase in phishing as cybercriminals leverage SEO to lure victims
"Malware lurking everywhere, from cloud apps to search engines, leaving organisations at greater risk than ever before."
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Training
Fortinet training edges toward closing cybersecurity gap
The Fortinet Training Institute has made significant progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, on track to train one million people by 2026.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
Blue Prism
Blue Prism Desktop uses IA to defend against vulnerabilities
SS&C Blue Prism Desktop aims to help protect businesses against vulnerabilities, using a combination of security measures and intelligent automation tech.
Story image
trust
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Firewall
Sophos named Gartner Peer Insights Customers Choice for network firewalls
The company earned the highest overall customer rating among vendors with at least 150 verified customer reviews.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
APAC
Odaseva expands in APAC and UK with more security features
Odaseva, a data platform for Salesforce, is establishing new headquarters in London as well as a new data center in India.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Training
HubSpot launches 'The Great Upskill' week to inspire learning
Brands across APAC including Google ANZ, MessageMedia, Meltwater, Seismic and Aircall, will give their employees a full workday to dedicate to upskilling.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware.