With the adoption of new technology for conducting work in the digital world, it is only normal for new technology to start coming out as possible solutions to cyber threats.  One such area that has been in the spotlight lately is artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can help businesses to improve cybersecurity and protect against recent growing threats that come from ransomware and phishing.

One recent organization that has talked about such benefits, particularly for the healthcare industry in combatting ransomware, is the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) in their paper, “How to Crush the Health Sector’s Ransomware Pandemic: The Machine Learning Based Artificial Intelligence Revolution Starts Now!”  ICIT talks about how machine learning based AI throughout the Internet of Things (IoT) microcosm could help to detect, respond to, and predict cyber threats.

ICIT finds that if the healthcare industry adopts sophisticated algorithmic defenses such as machine learning (ML) or AI solutions it will give them an edge against the average attacker and finally put them a step ahead of their risks.

Since healthcare organizations are already using cognitive and AI solutions for big data analytics and clinical apps, all they need to do now is to adopt similar solutions but with cybersecurity in mind.  As with any security tool, the vendor must be reputable and organizations must still practice good cyber hygiene (which includes patching vulnerabilities, security policies and procedures, having third-party risks audited, security employee training, and so on); otherwise these technologies will create additional vulnerabilities the same way apps and the cloud does, when security isn’t in the forefront of adoption.

With healthcare ransomware attacks expected to double by 2018, IDC predicts that the next three years will be focused on adopting disruptive technologies that will enable healthcare digital transformation.  This includes an increase in IoT technology, but also AI.

  • IDC predicts that worldwide spending on AI and cognitive computing technologies will leap by 60% to $12.5 billion this year — and then escalate to $46 billion by 2020.

Even though these analyses focus on the healthcare industry (due to their increasing susceptibility to ransomware attacks ever since the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid $17,000 to save itself from a ransomware infection last year), the reality is that all businesses are adopting disruptive technology.  The reasons are known: more productivity for employees, better data analytics to serve clients, and holding all that valuable data online so that there can be easy access when needed (such as in a hospital with patient information in case of an emergency).

This easy access and digital transformation is what makes all businesses (large and small) vulnerable to ransomware and cyber risks overall.  For this reason, adopting the cloud still requires a cybersecurity eye. A security expert to look over an agreement between a business and cloud provider to know what is protected and what isn’t, for example.

For as much as AI can help in predicting cyber risks as we transition to its use as a cybersecurity tool, it can’t be complete without all the other pieces involved in a risk management program.  Security is a journey that involves people, process and tools; not one or two, all three are needed.

Give us a call if you want to take a look at the state of security for your organization or maybe you want to ask some questions you have about cybersecurity steps you’re taking.

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Photo Courtesy of FuzzBones