Identifying threats to your company’s data, hardware, and other technology is a critical component of ensuring your business is as protected as possible. Then, it’s important to neutralize the threat and revise any security protocol using new information gathered from the most recent attack to strengthen it. However, hackers are getting increasingly sophisticated with the tactics they use to infiltrate IT systems and always seem to be one step ahead of the game.
Machine learning is one of the newer technologies of this time and while a great asset to global IT, it also benefited the malicious side of data automation. If you own or manage a business, it’s crucial to understand what machine learning is, how hackers can use it to plan high-level cyberattacks, and what you can do to protect your company.
What Is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is a type of technology that was born of artificial intelligence (AI) because of its ability to create automated analytical models. Essentially what this technology does is allow IT systems to increase knowledge and adapt processes according to what the program has already experienced through ongoing use. As IT systems are exposed to new data, they are able to learn from previous calculations and adapt independently.
Techniques Hackers Use to Infiltrate IT Systems
As technology becomes more advanced, so do the techniques that hackers use to infiltrate IT systems, gather data, and launch cyberattacks. Machine learning has been an extremely successful approach for white hats, but its usefulness also benefits cybercriminals. Here are three growing threats in the IT industry your business needs to be aware of:
Leveraging Elusive Malware
Malware is designed to remain undetected on the target’s computer for as long as possible and the more elusive a malware program is, the more successful it will be at funneling critical data to hackers over time. According to research conducted by Cornell University, general adversarial network (GAN) algorithms can be used to generate malware samples that were able to bypass security measures created specifically to intercept them. This means that hackers can use machine learning technology to create malware that can sidestep advanced security solutions designed to identify and interrupt malware attacks.
Getting Past CAPTCHAs
CAPTCHA technology is designed to distinguish between robots and human users with simple tests that only humans can perform, such as clicking a specific box or identifying certain components of an image. However, hackers have recently developed strategies that bypass some CAPTCHA systems with an alarming success rate. A 2017 study by Columbia University reported that machine learning was able to get past a Google CAPTCHA successfully 98% of the time.
Cybercrimes require a lot of groundwork to be laid out first, and machine learning can be used to automate research efforts, allowing hackers to significantly speed up the initial phases of a cyberattack. For example, spear-phishing (which is similar to phishing) involves using detailed personal identification information to target employees within a company. Research presented at the annual BlackHat Conference indicates that the success of spear-phishing efforts can be increased by as much as 30% when using machine learning technology.
The EBCS Method
The Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group conducts research on the best preventative methods to thwart cybercriminals from penetrating organizations IT systems. Our researchers study human behavior to discover the mediums and methodologies that cybercriminals use on the dark web. By studying human behavior, our research group is able to derive predictable and effective intervention processes that will protect organizations from hack-attacks and data breaches. Lastly, our researchers collect evidence from field experience to test commonly used methods to prevent IT systems hacks. Our researchers test these methods, based on evidence collection, for its effectiveness in securing against organizational attacks. For more information on how the Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Group can assist your organization, please visit us online at ebcs.gsu.edu.