It's hard to remember the days when artificial intelligence seemed like an intangible, futuristic concept. This has been decades in the making, however, and the past 90 years have seen both renaissances and winters for the field of study. At present, AI is launching a persistent infiltration into our personal lives with the rise of self-driving cars and intelligent personal assistants. In the enterprise, we likewise see AI rearing its head in adaptive marketing and cybersecurity. The rise of AI is exciting, but people often throw the term around in an attempt to win buzzword bingo, rather than to accurately reflect technological capabilities.
"All you have to do is look at the attacks that have taken place recently--WannaCry, NotPetya and others--and see how quickly the industry and government is coming out and assigning responsibility to nation states such as North Korea, Russia and Iran," said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer at CrowdStrike Inc., a cybersecurity company that has investigated a number of state-sponsored hacks. The White House and other countries took roughly six months to blame North Korea and Russia for the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks, respectively, while it took about three years for U.S. authorities to indict a North Korean hacker for the 2014 attack against Sony . Forensic systems are gathering and analyzing vast amounts of data from digital databases and registries to glean clues about an attacker's infrastructure. These clues, which may include obfuscation techniques and domain names used for hacking, can add up to what amounts to a unique footprint, said Chris Bell, chief executive of Diskin Advanced Technologies, a startup that uses machine learning to attribute cyberattacks. Additionally, the increasing amount of data related to cyberattacks--including virus signatures, the time of day the attack took place, IP addresses and domain names--makes it easier for investigators to track organized hacking groups and draw conclusions about them.
You may know Watson as IBM's Jeopardy-winning, cookbook-writing, dress-designing, weather-predicting supercomputer-of-all trades. Starting today, 40 organizations will rely upon the clever computers cognitive power to help spot cybercrime. The Watson for Cybersecurity beta program helps IBM too, because Watson's real-world experience will help it hone its skills and work within specific industries. After all, the threats that keep security experts at Sun Life Financial up at night differ from those that spook the cybersleuths at University of New Brunswick. IBM researchers started training Watson in the fundamentals of cybersecurity last spring so the computer could begin to analysize and prevent threats.
Webstresser.org, a popular DDoS-for-Hire website service on Wednesday was taken down by authorities from the US, UK, Netherlands, and various other countries in a major international investigation and arrests have been made. The website is blamed for more than four million cyber attacks globally in the past three years and had over 134,000 registered users at the time of the takedown. The operation, dubbed "Operation Power OFF," targeted Webstresser.org, It involved law enforcement agencies from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Serbia, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Hongkong, Canada, and United States of America, coordinating with Europol. The domain name was seized by the US Department of Defence.
The safety of our online lives has become increasingly important. Whether it be interference in elections, attacks by hostile forces, or online fraud, the security of the web feels fragile. Cybersecurity has reached a crossroads and we need to decide where it goes next. The outcome will touch each of us – will we pay more and yet still be less safe? Will we face higher insurance premiums and bank charges to cover the rising number of cyber-incidents?