Sue Daley, Head of Artificial Intelligence at tech UK, talks to Jeremy Swinfen Green, Head of Consulting at TEISS, about how cyber security can help establish the UK as a global leader in AI.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), and specifically its sub-set Machine Learning (ML), is increasingly being used to protect IT networks. It can be very effective in protecting against known threats and “Advanced Persistent Threats”. Sue Daley from tech UK explained to me how this works.
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By identifying potentially risky events, such as unusual behaviour, ML can help cyber security professionals defend IT systems more efficiently and more rapidly. This is important: a speedy response to an incident can reduce the potential for damage massively.
And by freeing security professionals from the need to investigate known events, many of which will turn out to be benign, ML allows those professionals to focus on the most important or intractable problems.
ML cyber security tools can even be programmed to take decisions on behalf of their human masters. They can block suspicious traffic or perhaps simply quarantine it until a human can investigate. This way, because a machine rather than a human is undertaking the defence, networks (even those of relatively small organisations) can be kept secure 24/7.
Augmenting cyber security skills
Of course, Sue emphasises, there is no such thing as 100% security. But ML can augment and enhance what the cyber security professionals can do, and can even help them detect threats that might remain hidden without the use of Artificial Intelligence.
There is an opportunity for the UK here, Sue tells me. Artificial Intelligence is exciting to many but also raises profound questions and concerns by some people. And there are undeniable ethical issues, privacy concerns, and even the fear that AI and ML could be security threats in themselves.
However the successful implementation of ML in cyber security could help prove the case for AI, and allay those fears.
This will only happen though if cyber security professionals and AI developers meet to discuss the issues that AI can solve for cyber and how best these issues can be solved. For instance privacy by design and default needs to be built in at the earliest stage of security tool development if ordinary people are to have confidence in them.
In the UK we have leaders in AI and leaders in cyber security. Ensuring they collaborate in the development of new tools will strengthen the UK’s leadership in both of these areas. And it’s at conferences like the Information Security Summit TEISS where this can happen.
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