February 26, 2018 By Shane Schick 2 min read

According to recent research, cybersecurity news headlines featuring ever-more sophisticated attacks have influenced almost one-third of chief information security officers (CISOs) to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) for data security.

Cisco’s “2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report,” which examined a wide cross-section of trends and patterns in data theft, data loss, malware and other issues, found that 32 percent of security leaders are “completely reliant” on AI to safeguard sensitive corporate information.

The Rise of Encryption Drives Increased AI Adoption

AI technology encompasses a number of different tools. For instance, 34 percent of respondents to the Cisco survey said they use machine learning to detect anomalies and alert IT departments about potential vulnerabilities threatening their systems. Meanwhile, 39 percent said they were using automation to deal with the kinds of attacks that regularly make cybersecurity news.

The increase in AI usage can be explained in part by the growth of encryption, ITProPortal reported. According to the study, half of global web traffic was encrypted as of October 2017. While it is difficult for humans to distinguish legitimate threats from an overwhelming volume of false positives, an AI algorithm can be trained to look for suspicious activity, even within encrypted network communication.

Meanwhile, a recent report titled “The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation” noted that cybercriminals are eager to use AI for their own nefarious gain. For CISOs and their teams, it may be a race to see how quickly they can make better use of the technology to protect everything from supply chains to network endpoints.

Generating Positive Cybersecurity News in 2018

One of the brighter stats in the Cisco report is a big improvement in the time to detection for security issues, which went from 14 hours in 2016 to 4.6 last year. As more enterprises adopt AI to stay ahead of threat actors, here’s hoping the cybersecurity news cycle features more victories in 2018.

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