Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are ongoing. As AI advances, so do the techniques and sophistication of cybercriminals. Cybersecurity defenses need to be able to keep up with the latest threats. “Given its potential uses,” says William Dixon, Head of Operations in the Center for Cybersecurity of the World Economic Forum, “AI is expected to drive systemic changes in the cybersecurity landscape, and will impact four key challenges in cybersecurity in the near future.”
Dixon goes on to say that these four key challenges include:
- Increasing sophistication
- Asymmetry between attackers and defenders
- Increasing the attack surface/digitalizing operations
- Balancing risk and operational enablement
As attackers continue to advance their efforts, so, too, do defenders. As organizations begin to demonstrate state-of-the-art current cybersecurity programs, they become less valuable to attackers because their efforts increase and their chances of success decrease. AI-enabled technology also makes tracking down attackers that much more difficult.
The second challenge involves the asymmetry between attackers and defenders. Defenders “must be successful at stopping attacks 100% of the time, whereas attackers only need to be successful once,” says Dixon. “Organizations must focus on building the right capabilities, and a team that can implement processes and technology that reduce this asymmetry.”
Increasing the attack surface/digitalizing operations is the third challenge. As organizations continue to expand their digital footprint, they create more opportunities for penetration by attackers. Advancements in AI may help organizations create defensible area of high risk rather than spreading defenses over an entire organization. “Increasing reliance on AI-enabled technology may create new opportunities for attackers to interfere with critical business processes, affecting both internal decision-making and relationships with customers,” states Dixon.
The final challenge involves balancing risk and operational enablement. According to Dixon, security teams need to use a risk-based approach by “establishing governance processes and materiality thresholds, informing operational leaders of their cybersecurity posture, and identifying initiatives to continuously improve it.” Advancements in AI are creating more ways for organizations to balance their security risk and return.