Top cyber security predictions for 2018

A new year always brings predictions. When it comes to cybersecurity, the over-arching prediction from experts is that threats will only get more complex. That means the security team will have to be even sharper than they were in 2017.

Here’s a roundup of what a number of cybersecurity solution providers see for the next 12 months:

Artificial Intelligence will change cybersecurity

“Machine learning has the potential to allow companies to model normal behavior much more accurately and effectively than a human could,” says Theo Van Wyk, chief security architect, of Toronto-based Scalar Decisions. “This can then form the base model from which anomalous behavior can be identified.”

In addition to identifying the intentional malicious activity, he explained, it can also identify user behavior that is unknowingly creating a security risk even though the user does not have any malicious intent. This information can be used to coach and train users to raise their security awareness, thereby improving the company’s security posture.

Van Wyk says machine learning presents the potential for fast-track automation. Many security teams are actively implementing automation activities where and when possible. The most successful automation activities have traditionally been when very scripted and predictable tasks were automated. The utopian vision for AI, he adds, is to increase the complexity of the tasks being automated by adding a level of decision making capability.

But he warns machine learning is not a silver bullet and has a number of caveats that have to be kept in mind. “The effectiveness (and usefulness) is greatly affected by both the design of the algorithm and quality of the dataset available on which the algorithms are trained.”

–AI will not improve security

AI holds great promise, but in cybersecurity, it’s still more hype than reality, says Brian Nesmith, CEO, and co-founder of Arctic Wolf Networks. “AI needs good data to learn and develop its predictive capabilities, so in many cases, bad data leads to false positives, which are still a huge problem in cybersecurity. Like the boy who cried wolf, too many false alarms leads to bad overall cyber posture and a team that is more likely to ignore warning signs when the threat is real. In 2018, AI will not be the magic bullet. Instead, we will see the growth of a more effective model which combines human touch with machine intelligence to reduce the number of false positives and improve time to detection.”

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