Artificial intelligence is the future of cybersecurity

As cybersecurity criminals explore more sophisticated forms of attack, businesses must arm themselves with the tools to fight back

Duncan Mills
By Duncan Mills on 06 September 2021
Artificial intelligence is the future of cybersecurity
Pixabay/Werner Moser

Cybercriminals are using artificial intelligence (AI) to evolve the sophistication of attacks at a rapid pace. In response, an increasing number of organisations are also adopting the technology as part of their cybersecurity strategies. According to research conducted in Mimecast’s State of Email Security Report 2021, 39 per cent of organisations are utilising AI to bolster their email defences.

Although we’re still in the early phases of these technologies and their application to cybersecurity, this is a rising trend. Businesses using advanced technologies such as AI and layered email defences, while also regularly training their employees in attack-resistant behaviours, will be in the best possible position to sidestep future attacks and recover quickly. 

Mimecast is integrating AI capabilities to help halt some of cybersecurity’s most pervasive threats. Take the use of tracking pixels in emails, for example, which both BBC and ZDNet have called ‘endemic’. Spy trackers embedded in emails have become ubiquitous – often by marketers but also, increasingly, by cybercriminals looking to gather information to weaponise highly targeted business email compromise attacks.  

Mimecast’s CyberGraph uses machine learning, a subset of AI, to block these hard-to-detect email threats, thus limiting reconnaissance and mitigating human error. CyberGraph disarms embedded trackers and uses machine learning and identity graph technologies to detect anomalous malicious behaviour. Because the AI is continually learning, it requires no configuration, thus lessening the burden on IT teams and reducing the likelihood of unsafe misconfiguration. Plus, as an add-on to Mimecast Email Security, CyberGraph offers differentiated capability integrated into an existing secure email gateway, streamlining your email security strategy. 

AI is here, and here to stay. Although its use is not a silver bullet, there’s a strong case for it in the future of cybersecurity. Mimecast CyberGraph combines with many other layers of protection. It embeds colour-coded warning banners in emails to highlight detected risks, and it solicits user feedback. This feedback strengthens the machine learning model and can update banners across all similar emails to highlight the new risk levels.  

As more cyber resilience strategies begin to adopt AI, it will be vital that people and technology continue to inform one another to provide agile protection against ever-evolving threat landscapes. Innovations such as CyberGraph provide evidence that AI has a promising value proposition in cybersecurity.

Duncan Mills is the senior product marketing manager at Mimecast 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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