How artificial intelligence and blockchain are the battlegrounds for the next security wars

By: Kirsty Legge

10, April, 2019

Categories:

IoT -

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Both blockchain and AI are the new-age, disruptive technologies that have created quite a furore. They have a promising future and several entities intend to capitalise on the attributes of these technologies to make their business and operations future-ready.

Adoption of these technologies could be seen as imperative by many companies; however, it is very important to weigh the potential boons and banes of the technologies before assimilating them into your strategic plans. Let’s take a few moments to quickly understand how they can help your business.

 

Is Blockchain the panacea to creating a strong defence framework for your business?

 

Blockchain is virtually non-hackable, has the ability to encrypt and validate data, stores the data in a decentralised format that renders the data immutable, and offers the option to create not only public but private blockchains.

 

Doesn’t this sound wonderful?

 

Well, it surely is a great deal when you consider data security and its importance. With the world going all digital and shifting to cloud infrastructure, secure sharing and storage of data has become quite a challenge.

 

Can Blockchain help increase the security quotient of cloud infrastructure?

 

One of the blockchain’s fundamental features is the security it offers due to its encryption and decentralised data storage. This can prove transformative for the cloud infrastructure, as companies can safely move their mission critical processes to the blockchain, do required computations and update the data ledger from time-to-time, while also getting a complete insight into the overall history of the data processing till date. In fact, according to PwC’s 2018 Global Blockchain Survey, 84% of the 600 executives surveyed across 15 territories marked that their companies are actively exploring the technology. Moreover, Forbes Global 2000 list of the largest public companies for the year 2018 indicates that all the ten biggest companies across the world are actively involved with the technology, with 50 of the biggest companies on the list dabbling with blockchain [1]

Adoption of the technology by the biggies of the industry indicates the high level of trust the companies are putting into a technology that is relatively nascent but yet holds high promises for future. It can help companies in combating the undeniable cyber threats on things like maintaining data integrity and management of digital identities.

 

Blockchain is the solution to cybersecurity challenges for several entities in a market that is full of distributed cloud networks – with limited accessibility, transparency and accountability.

 

However, blockchain cannot be deemed as a lone knight accountable for cloud security. It still has a long way to become indomitable. Perhaps, it could be used in combination with other services and apps for assured and reliable sourcing, accurate and verifiable data, and for tackling the privacy issues.

 

AI cannot be left out of discussions if you talk about security and here’s why:

 

Artificial Intelligence is being adopted across industries for different purposes. While it can improve the efficiency and accuracy of the process to the highest levels, it can also be leveraged to improve the overall cyber security, especially in the present environment which is under constant threat of unforeseeable and highly sophisticated cyber-attacks. Intelligent security could be a more practical answer to the continuously growing threat of intelligent malware.

 

According to a research, 60% of the respondents believe that AI is capable of detecting attacks before they can cause damage. [2]

 

AI could be a critical addition to the cybersecurity defence system of a company, as it can learn from the past and new as well as attempted, successful and failed attacks and train its algorithm to immediately detect abnormal activity or behaviour of a device or user and tackle the threat well in time. It can accelerate the identification of actual problems, cross-referencing different sources of security data and alerts much, much faster than a human expert can. This will allow the human cyber security teams to focus more on strategically important processes instead of tasks that can now be handled automatically with the help of a well-trained AI model.

 

AI may be highly utilised in endpoint protection software and vulnerability management software solutions, going forward. Companies like Cylance and Darktrace are already exploring opportunities in this segment. Threat intelligence feeds can drive updates and development of patches to make databases, applications and endpoints less vulnerable to new newly discovered faults or new threats.

 

The next big domain to incorporate AI could be remediation tools that can offer a comprehensive solution, integrating threat management, case management, collaboration tools and security orchestration, to automate security operations and incident response practices and offer decision support to the security operations centre, all while reducing manual work.

 

Companies are also venturing into projects that will allow them to integrate threat intelligence feeds into legacy security systems in order to prepare these incumbent systems to address new age security threats.

 

However, if AI could be a security defence weapon for one party, it can also serve as a tool to breach the security by those with malicious intentions.

 

Hackers can manipulate the algorithms to make AI learn the specific tools and defences that it is pitted against thereby making the technology a highly sophisticated tool to breach the same defence systems effectively. Hackers can also replicate the features of the AI model’s code and recreate their own versions that can easily corrupt the cybersecurity defence and cause highly damaging breaches.

 

All-in-all, we cannot really consider any one of the technologies as the final answer to resolving cybersecurity issues but they can co-exist and have a synergistic effect on the security system.