AI and machine learning: a gift, and a curse, for cybersecurity


The Universal Health Services attack this past month has brought renewed attention to the threat of ransomware faced by health systems – and what hospitals can do to protect themselves against a similar incident. Security experts say that the attack, beyond being one of the most significant ransomware incidents in healthcare history, may also be emblematic of the ways machine learning and artificial intelligence are being leveraged by bad actors. With some kinds of "early worms," said Greg Foss, senior cybersecurity strategist at VMware Carbon Black, "we saw [cybercriminals] performing these automated actions, and taking information from their environment and using it to spread and pivot automatically; identifying information of value; and using that to exfiltrate." The complexity of performing these actions in a new environment relies on "using AI and ML at its core," said Foss. Once access is gained to a system, he continued, much malware doesn't require much user interference.

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