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An innovation war: Cybersecurity vs. cybercrime

October 28, 2019
IT security tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated thanks to artificial intelligence, but advances in the cybercriminal world are close behind.

EBSCO Industries started using a cybersecurity tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to hunt down and help eliminate breaches. Soon after, security analysts at the information services company found failed login attempts the product had ignored. Thinking the unsuccessful sign-ons might signal a cyberattack, the security team launched a manual investigation.

“It was an employee who put his password in wrong,” says John W. Graham, global chief information security officer at EBSCO, a $2.8 billion conglomerate. It took the team two hours to research the issue; they won’t waste time on that again. Instead, they’ll trust the tool.

Graham’s experience is typical of how AI technology buys back security analysts’ time and resources. Some 61% of corporations can’t detect breaches without AI-driven cybersecurity technology, according to a study from Capgemini. But for every advance in cybersecurity that puts organizations ahead, there are new cybercrime enhancements that set them back again.

Cybercrime tools that incorporate AI are outstripping their cybersecurity counterparts—malware today can pinpoint their targets from millions, generate convincing spam, and infect computer networks without being detected. All this raises the question—and it’s a tough one—can cybersecurity innovations keep pace with cybercrime? It can, if companies use the same original thought and invention that sustains the war, turning not just to technology, but also communications with government agencies and new ways of thinking about cyber defense.

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