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  • Writer's pictureFlagler Technologies

The Evolution of Cybersecurity: AI Predictions for the Next Decade

Updated: Apr 15

When you consider the endless stream of encrypted electronic money transfers, it’s safe to say that tens of trillions of dollars exchange virtual hands every day. SWIFT transfers alone constitute a staggering $5 trillion per day. But it doesn’t end there. Nearly all asset accounts have electronic access, meaning trillions of dollars are sitting idly in accounts. And let’s not forget about one of the most valuable assets in the information age: data.  This is why a manage security service was created, to protect your data and help you fight cybercrime.

The immense fortunes that can be gleaned from a successful hack make it irresistible to cybercriminals, many of whom reside outside the reach of law enforcement. Consequently, cybersecurity has become the first and last line of defense for individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies. 

An Overview of Cybersecurity Evolution

While cybersecurity traces its roots to the early 1970s, the type of cyberattacks that we currently experience are a later phenomenon. In 1988, a computer virus known as the Morris Worm began spreading through networked computers at U.C. Berkeley. This relatively complex virus attacked computers using a specific version of the Unix operating system.

As computers became even more ubiquitous throughout the 1990s, the number of cyber threats increased. In response to this growing threat, the U.S. Federal Government passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. While this may have been a deterrent to some would-be bad actors living within the reach of the U.S. Federal Justice System, it did little to stem profitable cyber attacks. 

By the 2000s, the rate of system attacks had increased dramatically as malware and botnets became more pervasive. Many businesses and government entities realized the vulnerability of their information and money. As a result, many firms began hiring cybersecurity professionals or outsourcing the cybersecurity components of their IT to specialty firms. 

Emerging Cybersecurity Trends

Most companies with effective cybersecurity use a top-to-bottom approach encompassing threat detection, performance monitoring, encryption, access management, and physical infrastructure defense. Companies often hire cybersecurity professionals for penetration testing, where a team probes the system for weaknesses. 

Some companies are using AI to identify attacks and predict the possibility of future attacks. These algorithms can often detect potential threats and anomalies that conventional threat detection software might miss. 

Human beings continue to be the number one threat against cyber defenses. Companies are training their employees to be aware of scams and attempts to compromise their login credentials. Most companies have a cybersecurity policy, which covers things like permission levels, password protocols, updating applications and software, etc. 

The Role of AI in Cybersecurity

AI can impact both sides of cybersecurity. Attackers have been using AI to develop and test different types of hacks. Cybersecurity experts have been using AI to collect and analyze mass amounts of information to detect threats and develop defenses. 

The Impact of AI on Security Strategies

AI security strategies include threat detection and analysis, behavioral analytics that track user behavior and identify anomalies, automated incident response that can block accounts when suspicious activity is detected, phishing detection that scans emails and sites likely related to scams, security compliance monitoring, and more. 

Anticipated Threats to Cybersecurity

Because the actions and personal security measures of human employees are often unpredictable, cybercriminals often see individuals as the weakest links in the chain. Attempting to gain access to internal systems via login credentials may be an old attack, but it is still an effective one. Many employees use the same password across personal accounts, where the security may weaken. This may be exemplified by the LinkedIn attack of 2012 when it was discovered that over three-quarters of a million users had “123456” as their password. How many of these users also used the first six positive integers as their work passwords is difficult to say. Still, many attacks focus on using employees’ passwords as a point of vulnerability. Some AI algorithms detect when an employee logs in from a different location, time of the day, or computer. The company can find out where it is coming from when there is an aberration.

New Technologies for Cyber Defense

AI and Machine Learning (ML) have been instrumental in countering new attacks for all the reasons listed in the previous sections. Countering computer-driven attacks using conventional methods is less effective than having an AI algorithm collect and analyze data that alerts users to an attack. Of course, these systems must be monitored by humans. 

Best Practices for Personal and Organizational Protection

Many people are surprised to learn how often the advice for securing their organization’s information and their personal information overlap. However, while an organization requires security against the same types of access attacks as individuals, there are many other threats they need to defend against. 

Physical Security

The physical security of a facility is the first line of defense against cyber criminals. You should limit employee and visitor access to one entry point to protect your properties. Workstations used for proprietary operations should have additional layers of internal security and systems to monitor workstations. Security professionals should back up technological defenses (i.e., CCTV, system RFID, etc.) to ensure that the systems work and aren’t preventing authorized access. 

Password Security

Organizations should require the following:

  • Strong passwords that require at least 12 characters, small and capital letters, numbers, and special characters. 

  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA) to prevent an unauthorized login should a bad actor gain access to login credentials. 

  • Between four and ten failed login attempts to prevent simple brute force attacks. 

  • Periodic password resets where employees create new passwords monthly or quarterly. 

Following these rules on all personal accounts can also benefit individuals. Furthermore, avoid using similar passwords on multiple accounts. 

Data Backup

Use the 3-2-1 backup strategy to keep your data safe. Keep three copies of your data in two different storage spaces, with one copy kept off-site. 

Develop a Comprehensive Security Policy

Your company should have a policy that covers everything from monitoring your systems, employee onboarding, password management, access, disaster contingency planning, and more. Individuals should have a comprehensive plan for isolating any breach in their personal security.

The Future of Cybersecurity Policies and Regulations

As AI improves our ability to detect threats, Flagler Tech believes this will play a much larger role in detecting, preventing, and countering cyberattacks. If you have any concerns about the cybersecurity of your organization, contact Flagler Tech. We are a managed security service provider (MSSP). We will work with your IT team to bolster the defenses of your organization. Call today. 



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