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Could AI be the ‘silver bullet’ to cybersecurity?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Computerizer / Pixabay)

New research from the cybersecurity firm ESET has revealed that the recent hype surrounding AI and machine learning has deceived three in four (74%) IT decision makers into believing the technologies are the silver bullet to solving their cybersecurity challenges.

The firm surveyed 900 IT decision makers across the UK, UK and Germany to learn their opinions and attitudes to AI and ML in response this growing hype.

ESET's findings show that US IT decision makers are the most likely to consider the technologies as a cure all to solve their cybersecurity challenges at 82 per cent when compared to 67 per cent in the UK and 66 per cent in Germany. The majority of respondents said that AI and ML would help their organisation detect and respond to threats faster (79%) and help solve the skills shortage (77%).

While many IT decision makers see AI and ML as the silver bullet, a majority of respondents have already implemented ML in their current cybersecurity strategies. 89 per cent of German respondents, 87 per cent of US respondents and 78 per cent of UK respondents said that their endpoint protection products already use ML to protect their organisation from malicious attacks.

To make matters worse, many respondents stated that there is confusion over what AI and ML mean with just 53 per cent of IT decision makers saying their company fully understands the differences between the two.

Chief technology officer at ESET, Juraj Malcho offered further insight regarding this confusion, saying:

“Sadly, when it comes to AI and ML, the terminology used in some marketing materials can be misleading and IT decision makers across the world aren’t sure what to believe. The reality of cybersecurity is that true AI does not yet exist, while the hype around novelty of ML is completely misleading, it has been around for a long time. As the threat landscape becomes even more complex, we cannot afford to make things more confusing for businesses. There needs to be greater clarity as the hype is muddling the message for those making key decisions on how best to secure their company’s networks and data.” 

While AI and ML will certainly help organisations prevent cyber attacks, there is no silver bullet capable of completely stopping today's advanced threats.

Image Credit: Computerizer / Pixabay

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.