National security advocates enjoyed a signal boost to their agenda after the Senate reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for another six years. According to Politico, these cybersecurity hawks are concerned about evolving attack methods. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr noted, “If you look at the threat matrix today, it’s worse than it was six years ago. It’s more global, it’s more specific.”

But legislation alone won’t push back malicious actors. According to PwC, maturing artificial intelligence (AI) will help drive effective security intelligence analytics and improve cyberdefense. The caveat? It will also empower cyberattacks.

Security Intelligence Analytics Improves Defenses

As noted by Enterprise Innovation, AI is on track to get “smarter and more practical” through 2018. For businesses, this means taking AI beyond consumer-focused products like smart home management systems and social media networks to empower machine learning and drive the creation of AI-enabled infrastructures capable of performing tasks previously reserved for human workers.

According to PwC, AI will “come down to earth and get to work” in industries such as health care and finance. It will also be critical in the fight against malicious actors. With IT teams no longer able to keep pace with the sheer volume and variety of attacks, AI will fill an emerging gap in network cyberdefense. It can significantly improve the speed and accuracy of security intelligence analytics to help categorize threats and design effective response.

Artificial Intelligence Bolsters Security

The challenge? As artificial intelligence code goes mainstream, it will also become open source. This gives both defenders and attackers equal access to powerful tools that can learn from mistakes and develop new strategies.

If attackers are using AI, companies must respond in kind. Machine learning has already proven to be more efficient at cybercrime than human beings, and the consequences of a large-scale, machine-driven attack could be devastating.

But it’s not all bad news: The AI arms race could help bolster the cybersecurity evolution. Despite its growing proficiency, there are some tasks that AI remains ill-suited for. This gives human security professionals an edge over attackers using fire-and-forget attack methods that rely exclusively on AI.

AI is a two-way street. The maturing market means both attackers and defenders will benefit from machine learning tools in 2018. As a result, AI-driven security intelligence analytics will quickly become a must-have for companies to mitigate current threats and improve cybersecurity response.

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