Artificial Intelligence Could Help Predict Cyberattacks

A research team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and PatternEx have developed an artificial intelligence platform called AI2 that can predict cyberattacks 85 percent of the time. AI2 merges artificial intelligence with what the researchers call "analyst intuition" to predict future attacks.

Like a parent and child tackling a homework assignment, the machine first works unsupervised, combing through data and detecting suspicious activity. It then presents said activity to human analysts, who pull out actual attacks. AI2 incorporates that feedback into its models for the next dataset, learning as it goes.

The system was tested on 3.6 billion pieces of data, or "log lines," said CBS News, that were produced by millions of users over a three-month period. AI2 sifts through all the data and then clusters them into patterns through unsupervised, machine-learning. Suspicious patterns of activity are sent over to human analysts who confirm whether or not these are actual attacks or false-positives.

Over time, the researchers explain, it only gets more effective. “The more attacks the system detects, the more analyst feedback it receives, which, in turn, improves the accuracy of future predictions,” explained CSAIL research scientist Kalyan Veeramachaneni, in a press release. “That human-machine interaction creates a beautiful, cascading effect.”

Veeramachaneni said that until very recently, artificial intelligence systems were just not advanced enough for this kind of prediction accuracy. "One of the primary reasons this wasn't around was that now we have the storage and the infrastructure processing technologies. We have all of this big data processing now. The second thing was that we also now have the ability to get human input at the scale that was never imaginable before," he stressed. "You have seamless productivity with human input now. I mean the feedback you get from cellphones now, you didn't have five years ago. The third biggest piece is that machine-learning has really come to the forefront. That innovation has really jumped. All of those things came together in the last five years."

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