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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter 2019 / Vol 42 No1


26 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Joe Dysart Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Thousand Oaks, California. A journalist for 20 years, his articles have appeared in more than 40 publications, including The New York Times and The Financial Times of London. During the past decade, his work has focused exclusively on ecommerce. Telephone: 631-256-6602; web:; email: THE DARKER SIDE OF AI: HACKERS ARE ADDING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO THEIR TOOLKITS IT security pros in New Hampshire and across the globe are gearing up in earnest for the newest threat to corporate security: viruses, malware and similar cybersecurity attacks turbo-charged with artificial intelligence (AI). The reason: Just as AI is remaking every other part of the digital world with applications that can think for themselves and grow smarter over time, the wonder technology is also being hijacked by hackers to imbue already dangerous cyberthreats with machine intelligence and creativity. “We have to raise the bar now,” says John N. Stewart, Senior Vice President and Chief Security and Trust Officer, Cisco, regarding adding AI to the cybersecurity mix. “There is too much risk, and it is up to us to reduce it.” Adds Eva Chen, CEO, Trend Micro: “The future threat landscape requires AI-powered protection that leverages expert rules and machine learning.” A significant percentage of the IT security community agrees. In a survey (www.arubanetworks. com/ponemonsecurity) released by CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE SOPHISTICATED HACKERS ARE UPPING THEIR GAME WITH AI-DRIVEN THREATS. (ROYALTY FREE IMAGE SOURCED AT WWW.UNSPLASH.COM/PHOTOS/VPNMMVSJY1M) “DESPITE MASSIVE INVESTMENTS IN CYBERSECURITY PROGRAMS, OUR RESEARCH FOUND MOST BUSINESSES ARE STILL UNABLE TO STOP ADVANCED, TARGETED ATTACKS,” SAYS LARRY PONEMON, CHAIRMAN, PONEMON INSTITUTE. Ponemon Institute in September 2018, 25% of security and It pros said they are already using AI in some way to protect their networks. And another 26% said they planned on deploying AI-driven security in the next 12 months. Even more disturbing: More than 75% of those surveyed believe the Internet of Things devices attached to their networks are not secure. And 66% said they have little or no ability to defend these devices from malware, viruses and the like. “Despite massive investments in cybersecurity programs, our research found most businesses are still unable to stop advanced, targeted attacks,” says Larry Ponemon, chairman, Ponemon Institute. “The situation has become a ‘perfect storm,’ with nearly half of respondents saying it’s very difficult to protect complex and dynamically changing attack surfaces, especially given the current lack of security staff with the necessary skills and expertise to battle today’s persistent, sophisticated, highly trained, and well-financed attackers,” Ponemon says. CONTINUED ON PAGE 110


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