IBM's Watson AI and IoT-fuelled supercomputer finally has the role it was born for, as it is now being recruited to tackle cybercrime. Since it was first presented to the world as a contestant on the gameshow Jeopardy!, IBM Watson has evolved 10-fold. From its new internet of things (IoT) headquarters in Munich, it is being used not only to develop the brains for future autonomous vehicles, but also to influence decision-making, from healthcare to smart cities. Now, similar to the Dr Watson character in the legendary Sherlock Holmes books, IBM Watson is to be recruited to solve crimes – specifically, cybercrimes. Over the past year, Watson has been trained in the language of cybersecurity, ingesting more than 1m security documents.
IBM Security announced Watson for Cyber Security on Tuesday, a cloud-based version of the company's cognitive technology that will focus on learning the language of cybersecurity. The project is working to improve security analysts' capabilities by automating the "connections between data, emerging threats and remediation strategies." IBM will collaborate with eight universities starting this fall to expand the collection of security data IBM has trained Watson with. With its Watson cybersecurity effort, IBM is working to automate threat intelligence, allowing a machine to make connections in data that humans are sometimes unable to find. As an added bonus, if the project proves successful, businesses could integrate Watson's cybersecurity into their security platforms, helping to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap.
IBM Watson may be able to win "Jeopardy!" The IBM Watson for Cybersecurity beta program launched this week with 40 partners around the world in an effort to help security analysts make better, faster decisions from vast amounts of data, but experts say this is the same promise offered by many other products. IBM said Watson for Cybersecurity will feature natural language processing that can help it to "understand the unique language of security." "The truth is a lot of security vendors today are attaching '[artificial intelligence]' or'cognitive' to a number of products that are really just advanced analytics or machine learning, which are also important elements that can help in the fight against cybercrime," Diana Kelley, executive security advisor for IBM Security, told SearchSecurity. "What Watson will bring to the equation that is unique is the ability to digest vast amounts of both structured data as well as all of the intelligence that exists in natural language, like blogs, white papers and research reports.
It is no secret that much of the wisdom of the world lies in unstructured data, that is the kind that is not necessarily quantifiable and tidy. So it is in cybersecurity, and now IBM is putting Watson to work to make that knowledge more accessible. Towards that end, IBM Security has announced a new year-long research project through which it will collaborate with eight universities to help train its Watson artificial-intelligence system to tackle cybercrime. Knowledge about threats is often hidden in unstructured sources such as blogs, research reports and documentation, said Kevin Skapinetz, director of strategy for IBM Security. "Let's say tomorrow there's an article about a new type of malware, then a bunch of follow-up blogs," Skapinetz explained.
On Tuesday, IBM announced that Watson, its cognitive computing system (and former Jeopardy champion), will be spending the next year training for a new job--fighting cybercrime. Watson for Cyber Security is a cloud-based version of IBM's cognitive computing tools that will be the result of a one-year-long research project that is starting in the fall. Students and faculty from eight universities will participate in the research and train Watson to better understand how to detect potential threats. Like many other cognitive systems, Watson learns by digesting large amounts of information. Essentially, the students will train Watson "by annotating and feeding the system security reports and data," according to an IBM press release.