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IT Leaders Believe AI is a ‘Silver Bullet’ for Threats

The vast majority of IT decision makers appear to believe the hype surrounding artificial intelligence as a means to enhance cybersecurity.

An ESET poll of 900 IT leaders in the US, UK and Germany found a disappointing 75% believe AI is a ‘silver bullet’ to helping them counter online threats.

Respondents from the US (82%) were much more willing to believe the hype than their counterparts in the UK (67%) and Germany (66%).

Most of those polled claimed that AI and machine learning would help their organization to detect and respond to threats faster (79%) and help solve skills shortages (77%).

There’s certainly evidence to suggest that the emerging technology can help IT teams in this way — by spotting patterns indicative of a threat more quickly than human eyes could, and automating detections to take the strain off stretched cybersecurity teams.

However, no single technology should be viewed as a ‘silver bullet,’ according to ESET CTO, Juraj Malcho.

“If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that some things do not have an easy solution — especially in cyber-space where the playing field can shift in a matter of minutes. In today’s business environment, it would be unwise to rely solely on one technology to build a robust cyber defense,” he said.

“However, it is also interesting to see such a gap between the US and European respondents. The concern is that overhyping this technology may be causing technology leaders in the UK and Germany to tune out. It’s crucial that IT decision makers recognise that, while ML is without a doubt an important tool in the fight against cybercrime, it must be just one part of an organization’s overall cybersecurity strategy.”

In fact, AI also offers cyber-criminals a potential advantage, according to NTT Security EMEA SVP, Kai Grunwitz.

“Just as it helps us find the needle in the haystack — the malware threat hiding in plain sight — it could also enable them to automate the discovery of vulnerabilities in key systems,” he argued earlier this year.

“Imagine what havoc could be reaped by self-learning malware designed to continually adapt to its environment, with no input required from its masters? As always, the upper hand is with the attacker, who only needs to find one vulnerability to succeed, whereas we defenders must make only one mistake to let them in.”

To that end, 91% of cybersecurity professionals are concerned about hackers using AI against them, according to Webroot.

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