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Recently, most of the organizations experienced severe downfall due to an undetected malware, Deeplocker, which secretly evaded even the stringent cyber security mechanisms. Deeplocker leverages the AI model to attack the target host by using indicators such as facial recognition, geolocation and voice recognition. This incidence speaks volumes about the big role AI plays in the cybersecurity domain. In fact, some may even go on to say that AI for cybersecurity is no longer a nice to have tech rather a necessity.

Large and small organizations and even startups are hugely investing in building AI systems to analyze the huge data trove and in turn, help their cybersecurity professionals to identify possible threats and take precautions or immediate actions to solve it.

If AI can be used in getting the systems protected, it can also harm it. How? The hackers and intruders can also use it to launch an attack–this would be a much smarter attack–which would be difficult to combat. Phishing, one of the most common and simple social engineering cyber attack is now easy for attackers to master. There are a plethora of tools on the dark web that can help anyone to get their hands on phishing. In such trying conditions, it is only imperative that organizations take necessary precautions to guard their information castles. What better than AI?

How 6 tools are using artificial intelligence for cybersecurity

Symantec’s Targeted attack analytics (TAA) tool

This tool was developed by Symantec and is used to uncover stealthy and targeted attacks. It applies AI and machine learning on the processes, knowledge, and capabilities of the Symantec’s security experts and researchers.


The TAA tool was used by Symantec to counter the Dragonfly 2.0 attack last year. This attack targeted multiple energy companies and tried to gain access to operational networks.

Eric Chein, Technical Director of Symantec Security says, “ With TAA, we’re taking the intelligence generated from our leading research teams and uniting it with the power of advanced machine learning to help customers automatically identify these dangerous threats and take action.”

The TAA tools analyze incidents within the network against the incidents found in their Symantec threat data lake.

TAA unveils suspicious activity in individual endpoints and collates that information to determine whether each action indicate hidden malicious activity. The TAA tools are now available for Symantec Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) customers.

Sophos’ Intercept X tool

Sophos is a British security software and hardware company. Its tool, Intercept X, uses a deep learning neural network that works similar to a human brain.

In 2010, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created their first Cyber Genome Program to uncover the ‘DNA’ of malware and other cyber threats, which led to the creation of algorithm present in the Intercept X.

Before a file executes, the Intercept X is able to extract millions of features from a file, conduct a deep analysis, and determine if a file is benign or malicious in 20 milliseconds. The model is trained on real-world feedback and bi-directional sharing of threat intelligence via an access to millions of samples provided by the data scientists. This results in high accuracy rate for both existing and zero-day malware, and a lower false positive rate. Intercept X utilizes behavioral analysis to restrict new ransomware and boot-record attacks.  The Intercept X has been tested on several third parties such as NSS labs and received high-scores. It is also proven on VirusTotal since August of 2016. Maik Morgenstern, CTO, AV-TEST said, “One of the best performance scores we have ever seen in our tests.”

Darktrace Antigena

Darktrace Antigena is Darktrace’s active self-defense product. Antigena expands Darktrace’s core capabilities to detect and replicate the function of digital antibodies that identify and neutralize threats and viruses.

Antigena makes use of Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System to identify suspicious activity and responds to them in real-time, depending on the severity of the threat.

With the help of underlying machine learning technology, Darktrace Antigena identifies and protects against unknown threats as they develop. It does this without the need for human intervention, prior knowledge of attacks, rules or signatures. With such automated response capability, organizations can respond to threats quickly, without disrupting the normal pattern of business activity.

Darktrace Antigena modules help to regulate user and machine access to the internet, message protocols and machine and network connectivity via various products such as Antigena Internet, Antigena Communication, and Antigena network.

IBM QRadar Advisor

IBM’s QRadar Advisor uses the IBM Watson technology to fight against cyber attacks. It uses AI to auto-investigate indicators of any compromise or exploit. QRadar Advisor uses cognitive reasoning to give critical insights and further accelerates the response cycle. With the help of IBM’s QRadar Advisor, security analysts can assess threat incidents and reduce the risk of missing them.

Features of the IBM QRadar Advisor

Automatic investigations of incidents

QRadar Advisor with Watson investigates threat incidents by mining local data using observables in the incident to gather broader local context. It later quickly assesses the threats regarding whether they have bypassed layered defenses or were blocked.

Provides Intelligent reasoning

QRadar identifies the likely threat by applying cognitive reasoning. It connects threat entities related to the original incident such as malicious files, suspicious IP addresses, and rogue entities to draw relationships among these entities.

Identifies high priority risks

With this tool, one can get critical insights on an incident, such as whether or not a malware has executed, with supporting evidence to focus your time on the higher risk threats. Then make a decision quickly on the best response method for your business.

Key insights on users and critical assets

IBM’s QRadar can detect suspicious behavior from insiders through integration with the User Behavior Analytics (UBA) App and understands how certain activities or profiles impact systems.

Vectra’s Cognito

Vectra’s Cognito platform uses AI to detect attackers in real-time. It automates threat detection and hunts for covert attackers. Cognito uses behavioral detection algorithms to collect network metadata, logs and cloud events. It further analyzes these events and stores them to reveal hidden attackers in workloads and user/ IoT devices.

Cognito platform consists of Cognito Detect and Cognito Recall.

  • Cognito Detect reveals hidden attackers in real time using machine learning, data science, and behavioral analytics. It automatically triggers responses from existing security enforcement points by driving dynamic incident response rules.
  • Cognito Recall determines exploits that exist in historical data. It further speeds up detection of incident investigations with actionable context about compromised devices and workloads over time. It’s a quick and easy fix to find all devices or workloads accessed by compromised accounts and identify files involved in exfiltration.

Just as diamond cuts diamond, AI cuts AI. By using AI to attack and to prevent on either side, AI systems will learn different and newer patterns and also identify unique deviations to security analysts. This provides organizations to resolve an attack on the way much before it reaches to the core. Given the rate at which AI and machine learning are expanding, the days when AI will redefine the entire cybersecurity ecosystem are not that far.

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