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Why machine learning may be the answer to future cybersecurity problems

Nurdianah Md Nur | June 22, 2016
"Combining machine learning with a human factor of ensuring security best practices would be a holistic approach for cybersecurity," says Sanjay Aurora, Managing Director, APAC, Darktrace.

How can machine learning technology help organisations compensate for the lack of security experts or capability? How can Darktrace's solutions help organisations combat cyber threats? 
Genuine unsupervised machine learning is the future - the technology eliminates the dependence on largely ineffective and resource-draining signature-based approaches to cyber security.

Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System uses unsupervised machine learning and operates on an ongoing ad-hoc basis, instead of preset outcomes like legacy approaches. Using complex algorithms and a mathematical framework, the Enterprise Immune System processes and makes sense of today's deluge of data. This is before making logical, probability-based decisions against external and insider threats on behalf of humans. This means that previously unidentified threats can be detected, even when their manifestations fail to trigger any set outcome or signatures. On top of its detection capabilities, the Enterprise Immune System can also automate many of the responses that once required humans. It is able to create 'digital antibodies' automatically, as an immediate response to the most threatening cyber breaches. Such responses will isolate compromised servers from the Internet for the time being, while the organisation enlists trained personnel to deal with the breach.

Therefore, the Enterprise Immune System is an essential tool for security teams attempting to understand the scale of their network, observe levels of activity, and detect areas of potential weakness. These no longer need to be manually singled out, but are tagged by the automated system and ranked in terms of their significance.

Besides relying on solutions/products, how else can organisations defend themselves against existing and upcoming cyber threats/attacks? 
Apart from investing in talent development and the right technologies, stronger security requires a culture change within an organisation. Employees need education on security best practices and C-suite executives should ensure cybersecurity is a part of the boardroom agenda, rather than a problem left for the IT department to independently resolve. 

While it's impossible for every employee to have a technical understanding of cyber security, employees should be educated on potential threats and the consequences of negligent behaviour. For example, potential network vulnerabilities open up with relatively innocuous activities like streaming movies on the company's network during lunch hour.

In summary, using machine learning technology to do the heavy lifting of monitoring the virtually infinite network, combined with a human factor of ensuring security best practices at the workplace, would be a holistic and optimal approach to cybersecurity for organisations.

What's next for Darktrace?
We've had strong momentum in this region, with more than 1,000 deployments to date, and the Asia-Pacific region accounting for more than 80 installations.  

We are looking forward to further enhancing our Immune System technology and helping to protect more organisations in the region in today's fast-moving and sophisticated online threat environment.


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