IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

How to maximise the value of machine learning in cybersecurity

Wed 10 Apr 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Machine learning (ML), a subset of artificial intelligence (AI), offers transformative potential in the cybersecurity sector. ML-based technologies can help fight large-scale fraud, evaluate and optimise business processes, improve testing procedures, and develop new solutions to existing problems. Like most innovations, however, ML has drawbacks, so organisations need to understand how ML can help, and how to overcome its imperfections, according to ESET.

Cybercriminals and malware developers are increasingly relying on ML tools. This is because ML can power new malware strains, target specific victims and extract valuable data, hunt for zero-day vulnerabilities, and help cybercriminals protect their own infrastructure, such as botnets.

And, increasingly, ML solutions deployed by legitimate organisations are also becoming attractive targets for cybercriminals. By creating poisoned data sets, attackers can try to manipulate these otherwise-beneficial systems into incorrect decisions, or force them to provide a distorted view of the monitored environment, causing damage, chaos and disruption for an organisation.

ESET senior research fellow Nick FitzGerald says, “It’s difficult to say which effects of ML, positive or negative, will prevail. However, ML-powered systems are growing rapidly on both sides of the cybersecurity barricade, irreversibly transforming the safety of the entire internet. Without diminishing the value of ML as a tool in the fight against cybercrime, there are limitations that need to be considered.”

ESET has identified four key limitations of ML in cybersecurity:

1. Training sets must be extensive: A vast number and range of correctly labelled input samples are needed, divided into three categories: malicious; clean, and potentially unsafe/unwanted. Building effective training sets can be impractical for many organisations, so it’s important to work with a security partner.

However, while organisations like ESET work with millions of samples collected over more than 30 years of malware research, this is no guarantee of perfection. Subsequently, human expertise and verification are required constantly.

2. Math can’t solve everything: A purely mathematical approach fails to take into account the unknown elements that can arise. The algorithm, therefore, would need to take an overprotective stance and block even safe traffic, or it would have to let potentially-dangerous traffic through.

One approach creates a huge number of false positives, while the other makes effective business operations practically impossible.

3. Intelligent adversaries adapt: Attackers will break the rules and change the playing field without warning, so it’s not possible to create a protective solution today that will detect and block all future threats.

4. False positives can be destructive: For some businesses, a false positive (FP) can be more destructive than a malware infection. If an FP causes a security solution to block or delete a manufacturing line’s software, for example, it will disrupt production.

This could cause massive delays and cost millions of dollars in financial and even reputational damage. In non-manufacturing organisations, FPs can translate into higher costs, overburdening of IT security staff, and even harmful adjustments in cybersecurity posture.

It’s important to remember that ML can be used to create more effective malware, too. In 2003, the Swizzor Trojan horse used automation to repack the malware once-a-minute, serving each victim a polymorphically-modified variant of the malware. This required advanced detection mechanisms that detected, blocked, and mitigated emerging threats, including attacks using ML, in response.

Nick FitzGerald said, “Organisations must make ML a part of their security posture to avoid falling victim to ML-powered attacks. Attackers can use an algorithm that makes it easier to learn the limits of the implemented security solution, helping attackers alter the malware’s code just enough to evade detection.

“However, the limitations of ML show that ML alone isn’t enough. Therefore, a safer and more balanced approach to enterprise cybersecurity is to deploy a multi-layered solution that can leverage the power and potential of ML but backs it up with other detection and prevention technologies as well as human expertise.

“ESET’s security tools have relied on ML for many years and have been proven to help reduce the number and severity of successful cyber attacks for customers. Its full potential is yet to be unlocked; organisations that aren’t yet exploring the use of ML in cybersecurity should begin doing so to avoid being left behind.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Infosys
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
Phishing
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
CrescoData
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Digital transformation increasing business complexities
A new survey suggests businesses must re-examine their digital transformation approach to better help employees adapt to change.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Alteryx
Alteryx releases updates, empowers data insights for enterprise
Alteryx has released new advancements designed to aid enterprises with cloud analytics, democratise insights and ensure data governance.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
MEC
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile now makes up over 7% of Aussie prepaid market
Boost Mobile has doubled its market share over the past four years and now has more than 7% of Australia's prepaid market, equivalent to over 700,000 people.
Story image
GapMaps
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
Innovation
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
DaaS
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Rackspace
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
Sustainability
Equinix announces milestones on sustainability commitments
Equinix has released its 2021 Sustainability Report which outlines progress, innovation and accomplishments on key ESG commitments.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
VPN
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."