Why companies should use AI to counter cybersecurity attacks
It is difficult for companies to manage cybersecurity in the optimal way, but Artificial Intelligence can protect data and more.
There are so many cyber attacks that companies receive every day and it is virtually impossible to manually prevent and manage them.
Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms can perform these two tasks and more.
Cybersecurity is at risk every day: causes
Security does not only concern physical spaces, such as streets or airports, but also the virtual world.
Have you ever heard of cybersecurity?
It is the practice of protecting electronic information from risks, which may include unauthorized access, disclosure or destruction of data. They can involve confidential information of companies as well as individual users. In short, cyber attacks involve everyone.
There are different types of cybersecurity threats. Added to this, the danger is given by the fact that they change over time. We provide, therefore, examples to prove this.
By analyzing the late 2021 and early 2022 reports made by Leonardo on the most prevalent cyber attacks, we find that:
- telecommunications companies are the main victims of these threats;
- COVID-19 is used as the subject of emails with malicious attachments ;
- many attacks are related to the Russia-Ukraine war. They are aimed at Ukrainian organizations and also include disinformation campaigns. 
The most common action has been the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. This makes a website or system unavailable to users as continuous requests are sent and saturate its resources.
From this brief explanation, we can see two important aspects. Cyber attacks are used as a destructive element against the enemy. In addition, the nature of cyber attacks follows the changing dynamics of the historical context. In this regard, a very dangerous event, in fact, occurred against Italy.
2022 will be remembered not only for the war between Russia and Ukraine, but also for the great energy crisis that Europe and especially Italy and Germany experienced. From this premise it is easy to guess what happened.
During late August 2022, GSE, the National Energy Services Operator, suffered a cyber attack. The event is particularly significant, because GSE was purchasing natural gas to fill Italian storage facilities before winter.
It was a “ransomware” attack, which is capable of restricting access to the device and thus to data even by administrators. Moreover, as reported by Repubblica, the attack most likely came from the East, probably from Russia.
In this case, it was not so long before company employees recognized the cyber attack, but this is not always the case. The data are alarming.
According to a Verizon report, indeed, 20 percent of breaches may take as long as months for companies to become aware of their presence.  This may sound absurd, but it is so. The answer is simple.
Every day a medium-sized company receives 200,000 security alerts. This is what IBM reports.  Clearly, a team of experts cannot handle this volume of threats. In such contexts, these threats can go undetected and cause serious damage to networks.
It is evident that manually it is difficult to manage this information and especially to detect any cyber attacks. Therefore, a solution is needed that can do this automatically.
Who reflects these features? And why?
AI and cybersecurity: the choice made by companies
Cybersecurity has evolved in terms of threat and response. Cyber attackers are using the latest IoT technologies to carry out sophisticated attacks.
Therefore, these last years have forced companies to review their cybersecurity practices.
How was a cyber attack detected before?
A new malware was discovered, analyzed and added to malware databases by experts.
What has changed now?
Today, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are the real players. When we talk about cybersecurity, AI is increasingly seen as a valuable tool. It can analyze and detect cyber threats, helping organizations better protect their data.
Many companies are turning to Artificial Intelligence to strengthen their defenses against the crimes they face.
According to the recent Cybersecurity Almanac report, spending on fighting cybercrime is expected to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, compared to $3 trillion in 2015. 
The future of cybersecurity is tied to the future of AI. According to research by the Capgemini Research Institute, 850 executives said that “we will not be able to respond to cyber attacks without Artificial Intelligence.” 
How can Artificial Intelligence protect businesses?
In addition to analyzing large amounts of data faster than humans, it can analyze the properties of malware. For example, if a software encrypts multiple files quickly, it is a suspicious behavior. So an AI-based program can consider this and other factors to determine the danger of unknown new software. The end result is a significant increase in security.
Many are the potentials that AI gets, which is one of the best technologies for mapping and preventing unknown threats from devastating a business. Let’s get to know the others.
How AI helps in cybersecurity: benefits
Once again, AI proves to be a powerful tool for improving existing practices.
There are so many benefits brought by Artificial Intelligence. Certainly the two most important are that it can help save time and costs. How? Let’s find out its benefits in detail.
It learns over time
It uses machine learning and deep learning to learn the behavior of a company network over time. By understanding past attacks, AI can help analysts predict future ones and act to prevent them.
In addition, the threats that corporate networks meet change from time to time. AI’s ability to continuously learn makes it difficult for hackers to beat its intelligence.
It improves vulnerability management
As we have seen, a company faces many threats every day. It needs to detect, identify and prevent them to be safe. AI systems can help in vulnerability management and protect business systems in time.
It speeds up response time
Beyond threat detection, AI is also useful for rapid response to dangerous security alerts. For example, if a known sample of ransomware appears on an end user’s device, AI will perform timely disconnection of network connectivity and can prevent infection of the company network.
It protects through authentication
Many websites have a user account function that is accessed to purchase products. While others have contact forms that visitors must fill out with sensitive information. In both cases, it is important to ensure a high level of security for sensitive data.
AI protects authentication every time a user logs into their account through tools such as facial recognition, CAPTCHA and fingerprints. The information gathered by these features can help detect whether a login attempt is authentic or not.
Based on these important aspects, companies are adopting Artificial Intelligence as an indispensable technology to improve their cyber protection. It is the only one that can provide the analysis, threat identification and breach risk reduction.
AI will be crucial in advancing and increasing the security position of organizations. Who is ready to embrace it?
- Leonardo. Online version: https://cybersecurity.leonardo.com/en/news-and-stories-detail/-/detail/11-02-2022-il-report-di-leonardo-sugli-attacchi-informatici-pi%C3%B9-diffusi-nell-ultimo-trimestre-2021
- Leonardo. Online version: https://cybersecurity.leonardo.com/en/news-and-stories-detail/-/detail/cyber-threats-snapshot-q1-2022
- Leonardo. Online version: https://cybersecurity.leonardo.com/en/news-and-stories-detail/-/detail/cyber-threats-snapshot-q2-2022
- Repubblica. Online version: https://www.repubblica.it/economia/2022/08/30/news/gse_gestore_servizi_energetici_hacker-363554774/
- Verizon. Online version: https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/articles/s/how-to-minimize-your-mean-time-to-detect-a-breach/
- IBM. Online version: https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/MRVDEPA3
- Cybersecurity Ventures. Online version: https://cybersecurityventures.com/cybersecurity-almanac-2022/
- Capgemini Research Institute. Online version: https://www.capgemini.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/AI-in-Cybersecurity_Report_20190711_V06.pdf
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Author: Niccolò Cacciotti, Head of AI Department