Leveraging AI Might Be What Stops Hackers
- Published byadmin
- November 10, 2017
There are times that hackers can’t interfere with data, and then there are times that hackers really can’t interfere with data. CERN, the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research) maintains far too powerful of a computer grid to risk it falling into the control of hackers. To protect it, CERN leverages the cutting edge of security to protect its European Laboratory for Particle Physics: artificial intelligence.
There are a few reasons that using AI as a part of security is a solid strategy. First, it gives users a fighting chance to stay abreast of the changes that malware makes. As a means of fighting threats, the scientists at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics are teaching their AI to identify, extract, and eliminate threats on the network.
This is saying something, especially considering the resources needed to operate CERN’s famous Large Hadron Collider and Worldwide LHC Computing Grid. The LHC collected around 50 petabytes of data between January and June of 2017–and all of the data it collects is shared to a network of 170 research facilities across the globe. These facilities can even be supported by the vast computing resources within this network as needed.
This setup provides a few challenges for those responsible for maintaining CERN’s cybersecurity. First, maintaining computing power and data storage capabilities, while second, securing their global network against threats.
To accomplish this, CERN has turned to AI and machine learning so their security systems can differentiate between usual network activity and activity from a malicious source. Their AI is still being tested, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t similar solutions that you can’t leverage to protect your business.
To clarify, we aren’t talking about sentient androids with human qualities and behaviors as one would see in a movie. CERN’s security AI probably isn’t going to find itself feeling unrequited love for a break room toaster. Rather, we’re discussing a tool that is much more accessible than you might initially realize. For instance, Google. Each time you press ‘Enter’ to run a search, the results are compiled, indexed, and categorized without the immediate involvement of a human being. Through machine learning and hundreds of other factors, Google can draw the most relevant results it can for you, specifically.
This allows search results to be delivered faster than the eye can blink, and millions of results to be balanced and compiled just as quickly. Imagine the difference we would see if human beings delivered search results: biases would influence the results, Google would be bankrupted by the staffing costs, and the speed of return would slow to a crawl.
AI’s capabilities are also extremely well-suited for security needs, as it can tirelessly run penetration tests, patch vulnerabilities, and scan for flaws. Improving defenses, like spam blockers and firewalls, can continue at all hours without the human need for a break. With the ability to draw upon and utilize security resources at inhuman speeds, hackers and other malicious actors will have a much harder time.
While true AI is still in the realm of science fiction, we’re getting much closer to making it fact.
What do you think? Is AI the way we will secure a business’ network in the near future? Sound off in the comments section with your thoughts!
In the Hands of Hackers Artificial Intelligence Can Be a Major Problem
- Published byadmin
- October 23, 2017
As much as we personify the items in our life, we should remember that they are just that: items. However, technology has made it so that these items seem to be getting smarter through artificial intelligence. The first computer to play chess against a human opponent was introduced in 1956, and ever since, humanity has strived to make progress in the field of AI. In fact, AI is so valuable that even hackers are trying to take advantage of it.
At a recent technology expo, an experiment examined a competition between a human hacker and a sophisticated machine learning computer, where they both attempted to spear phish potential victims through Twitter. For two hours, a fierce battle waged where they attempted to outdo each other and craft the best phishing message. At about 1.075 tweets a minute, the human made 129 tweets, including 49 successful attempts. The computer made 810 tweets in the two hours, averaging about 6.75 tweets a minute and converting about 275 victims.
Humans might have achieved a higher victim-to-attempt percentage, but the machine managed to achieve five times as many victims in the same amount of time.
A Cylance poll held at ConFab asked attendees if hackers will use AI for meaningful purposes, and the answer might surprise you. 62 percent confirmed that they thought AI would be used by hackers on the offensive. Even if nobody could mention specific incidents, most believe that hackers have already attempted to use AI for their cybercrime. The unfortunate part of this is that AI is an ever-changing existence that has become a global problem. This makes it difficult to develop law enforcement strategies, as it’s difficult to find and prosecute perpetrators. Even if they can find them, it’s a case of whether or not there is legislation put into place to punish those who abuse this technology.
Worse yet, there are arguments among experts about what specifically defines artificial intelligence–especially with so many people using virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa. Some users might not classify these apps as AI, but they would be wrong.
Cybercriminals are always trying to use the most up-to-date technology, and AI is no exception. Hackers are using AI and machine learning to create programs that can personalize phishing emails containing malware attachments. In response to this threat, technology to distinguish real messages from the fake ones are developed. Cybersecurity is all about threats and hackers trying to outdo one another, which is why vulnerabilities are patched.
Would you consider using AI for your business? Let us know in the comments.
Hackers Are Hunting for This Particular Information
- Published byadmin
- August 23, 2017
While not always the case, hackers will generally act with a purpose. They might be looking to snatch some personally identifiable information from a database, or account credentials form unwary users. Regardless, hackers will go to any length to collect this information from unsuspecting users, and you need to do what you can to protect it.
What Do Hackers Look For?
Most businesses hold at least some type of sensitive information that hackers can use to their advantage. Believe it or not, sensitive information can be sold on the black market for considerable profit. Consider for a moment the information collected by a human resources department, or accounting. Information like employees’ birth records, Social Security numbers, contact information, credit card numbers, bank routing numbers, and so much more, all represent value to hackers and scammers.
When they aren’t trying to directly cause trouble for your business, they may try to covertly access your data infrastructure through the use of stolen credentials to make their hijinx look legitimate. They can then access your accounts and steal information without drawing attention to themselves, resulting in a major data breach that puts your business in a tight spot.
There are also incidents where hackers are just trying to make trouble for others, or planting the seeds of a future attack through the use of a trojan or backdoor. The end result is typically the same–your business’s operations are halted due to meddling from hackers, and it must be prevented.
What You Can Do
Your best chance to protect your organization from hacking attacks is a Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution. A UTM combines four enterprise-level security solutions into one package: a firewall, antivirus, spam blocker, and content filter, all to provide both proactive and reactive strategies to protect your network. It’s the best way to secure your infrastructure from hacking attacks of all varieties.
Don’t keep placing network security on the backburner. To learn more about network security and what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (317) 705-0333.
Lowlife Ransomware Hackers Now Asking for More Than $1k Per Attack
- Published byadmin
- June 23, 2017
Ransomware remains a very real threat, and is arguably only getting worse. Attacks are now able to come more frequently, and there are opportunities for even relative amateurs to level an attack against some unfortunate victim. However, this is not to say that there is nothing you can do to keep your business from becoming another cautionary tale.
Ransomware, in review:
First of all, it’s important to understand exactly what ransomware is. A form of malware, ransomware will infect your system and encrypt your data. It gets its name from the fact that the attacker will demand a ransom in order for your data to be decrypted. What’s worse, if you pay, you’re taking the distributor at their word that they will decrypt your data once the money has changed hands.
Understandably, this form of ransomware can be a highly potent weapon against many users, who simply won’t know how to handle the situation beyond paying and hoping for the best. Of course, since the motives behind ransomware are financial, a lot is directed towards business targets, as they not only have more funds available but are also heavily reliant on their data to function.
The nature of ransomware means that those that distribute it can usually name their price for the decryption key. After all, it isn’t as though victims have anywhere else to turn other than the hacker (or so the hackers want them to believe). Due to this, ransoms for encrypted data have shot up–in 2015, the ransom to decrypt an infected computer would cost about $ 294, on average. That price had jumped to average $ 1,077 per computer in 2016.
In addition to this increase in ransom demands, there was a 36 percent higher rate of ransomware attempts between 2015 and 2016, 68 percent targeting consumers. This left a still-considerable 32 percent being leveraged towards businesses.
Does it get worse? Sure does.
As if it wasn’t bad enough already, ransomware is now able to be utilized by just about anybody who has a grudge or a desire for some extra cash. Ransomware is now offered as-a-Service, allowing an attack to potentially come from far more sources than before. Some variants of ransomware, such as Karmen, will only cost an aspiring cyber criminal $ 175 to cash in on.
Thankfully, there are steps being taken to eliminate the threat of ransomware. For instance, there are decryption tools to help undo the damage that Karmen can cause because it was derived from the open-source ransomware project Hidden Tear. Other tools and resources are available to help identify which ransomware has infected a given system, like this one from security researcher Michael Gillespie.
However, there are also steps that you can take to avoid a ransomware infection, like following best security practices and computing mindfully. Catalyst Technology Group is here to assist you in putting these procedures in place, as well as helping you recover should ransomware strike. Give us a call at (317) 705-0333 today.