Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) are two very trending topics at the moment. AI has been the pivotal elements modifying business strategies, improving decision-making processes, and triggering automation in every industry in the world. The latest sentience debate is a clear indicator on serious and advanced AI is becoming nowadays. Cybersecurity is the other important element of today’s technological world. With an increasing reliance on data and the move to online services that require an individual’s biometrics, security essential in preventing data thefts and associated cybercrimes. AI has undeniably improved cybersecurity practices by allowing a real-time analysis of internet traffic to discover possible threats at the earliest and take defensive actions. This important learning process hides however several disadvantages of AI in cybersecurity.
What Are the Downsides to AI in Cybersecurity?
The touted advantages of AI in cybersecurity are real and very useful. However, the increasing adoption of AI solutions for security is actually causing problems at different levels.
Hackers Use AI as Well
When it comes to maturity in technology, hackers are the best at it. These individuals sitting behind computer screens logging data and doing advanced analytics to identify any loophole or vulnerability they can use to their benefits. The use of AI as far as cybersecurity is concerned is a double-edged sword. It is actually a race of who can develop a better algorithm that caters better to the data which is circulating online. In this sense, the use of AI is a big threat to security.
Another issue is that while a company is analyzing and learning from data to discover threats, a hacker is concurrently analyzing the company’s cyber-defense mechanisms and policies to find “open doors’ that will take it into the system to complete the intended attack.
AI algorithms are associated with the analysis with large volumes of data, a key requirement for the developed algorithms to produce accurate outputs. The data a company deals with contains normal traffic related to daily transactions and activities, but also sensitive information related to the clients including their biometrics and personal information. What happens to our data when it goes to the AI-agent though is another thing. Protecting the data is key when AI is used for cybersecurity reasons. The secrecy of the clients’ data should not be compromised for any reason.
Increasing Need for Data
The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving with ingenious attacks and threats emerging every now and then. Browser-in-the-browser attacks and increasingly advanced ransomware attacks have been notable examples in 2022. In order to discover attacks at a later stage, the AI algorithm needs to have data to do the proper training. The increasingly dynamic environment with threats emerging and evolving will lead to a surge in the required volumes of data, which can potentially not be readily available to have a fast response to the attack itself. Whether it is the ability of AI to keep track of the exponential growth in data or the availability of data for the AI-algorithm to produce results is a big disadvantage of this approach for cybersecurity
Will Cybersecurity be Replaced by AI?
With the drive towards more and more automation, it is questionable whether this can be applied as well for cybersecurity practices. AI can certainly assist in processing and learning from data and produce insights. However, the real decision maker in such as sensitive area where no errors can be tolerated is the cybersecurity expert himself. The only way for AI to replace cybersecurity is when it becomes sentient or developed enough to think and act like humans do. There is still a long way for that to concretize.
Explainable or interpretable AI is a key intermediate step in reaching this target. First, we need to understand how AI produces results. Proper cybersecurity practices require a reduction in bias while optimizing the performance of the algorithm.
How Will AI Affect Cybersecurity Jobs?
The adoption of AI will certainly cause major shifts in the cybersecurity job market as in the case in other industries, but probably at a smaller scale. The level of skill and experience needed to thwart cyberattacks will safeguard the need for security experts to provide the final decision regarding suspicious data patterns.
On the other hand, the incorporation of AI will call for new skilled workers that can manage and optimize the performance of the algorithms. Another alternative would be for existing workforce to be upskilled and retrained to handle the new analysis tools.
As data is becoming the basic unit for decision making, AI has invaded all industries and businesses, including cybersecurity. Companies are starting to incorporate learning algorithms to their offered services in order to have a more intelligent management of the different security threats. However, the role of AI in cybersecurity should be considered with enough judgment. The addition of AI would increase the complexity in the data management process, notably in terms of data privacy and the continuous need for more data.
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Password Management in Network Security
When it comes to ensuring the highest levels of cybersecurity for any establishment, password management in network security is one of the most paramount factors in guaranteeing security. As one of the essential cybersecurity measures, password management is a critical element for any online activity, whether for software or hardware. Everything is protected with a password.
What is Password Manager and How does it Work?
To those not familiar with the concept, password management’s significance exceeds the creation of a strong password to protect your data or account. It is a cybersecurity system. A system that manages any saved login credentials, all while guaranteeing a safeguarded relocation of data from one device to another. When coming up with a valid password, a few factors must be taken into account, such as the potential of being exposed to high risks and identity theft.
For any establishment, the correct password manager helps to monitor any activity and amounts of logins for servers people work on. As a software application, it is developed for storing and managing online credentials. With the increased available platforms and programs requiring safety credentials, the risk of losing or forgetting a password has never been higher. User password management, such as Google password manager, helps users with a handful of passwords for essential web applications.
By providing the needed digital space to generate and store any, and all passwords in one location, password management in network security keeps any data safe and secure in various ways, including biometrics data.
Why Use Password Manager?
Through the encryption of users’ logins, a reliable password manager protects your credentials and cannot be accessed until the master password is submitted. In this case, no password is stored on the device itself or even on the manager’s servers. While some might think that storing all of your important passwords in one place might be hazardous, the truth is, password managers are the safest bet to safeguard all your passwords, as the chances of a password manager being breached are extremely low and almost very unlikely to happen.
Without getting into all the technical terms as to why password managers are the safest option, these applications can be perceived as the lesser evil. While users will still need to create one master password – preferably to be long and a bit complicated – it will guarantee the protection of any login credential for any account or credit card information.
The ideal password managers to download are backed by two-factor authenticators, where users are asked for a one-time code alongside the password whenever a new login into a new device takes place.
Password Management Best Practices in Network Security
In terms of obtaining the highest level of protection for network security, few practices are applicable to almost anyone to ensure the highest level of user password management.
Training the team and raising awareness of potential password threats is one of the most important things to consider. Team members working on network security have to understand the risk of cybersecurity and the importance of implementing the right measure to protect and secure any account credential.
2. Enforcement of Reliable and Strong Passwords
Enforcing the creation of strong passwords and establishing they follow the best practices for network security to protect the network and its data while respecting the integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility of the network’s computer systems.
This includes performing a thorough network audit, deploying network and security devices, disabling file sharing features, updating antivirus and anti-malware software, securing all routers, using a private IP address, and finally establishing a network security maintenance system.
3. Multi-factor Authentication
Endorsing your password management with two-factor authentication is like adding another solid layer of protection to your accounts and their passwords. Multi-factor authentication ensures that only people responsible for the network have access to its sensitive data.
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How to Check a Suspicious Link Without Opening it
We are all well aware of the troubles opening a fishy link can lead us to. Luring users to click on a given link has been of one the well-known techniques to get access to the device, install virus and malware or even go as far as creating a full ransomware attack. To protect your computer and private information, there are multiple techniques to check links without opening them. What is important though is never to open the link if it is suspicious.
Visually Inspect the Link
When you are not dealing with a shortened URL, the best way to go thoroughly through the link to see if there is any spelling mistake. Attackers usually tend to change a minimum number of letters so that you are unable to tell the difference. For instance, things like www.goagle.com instead of www.google.com should catch your attention with the second ‘o’ of Google replaced with an ‘a’.
Verify that Links in an Email Come from a Credible Source
Emails are the best sources for phishing attacks. These kinds of attacks are used to steal some sensitive information such as passwords and credit card information. The best way to avoid these kinds of attacks is to authenticate the sender. For that purpose, do not only check the name of the sender, you need to double-check the email the sender is using. In general, attackers use credible sender names with emails which do not correspond to the promoted identity. Next time you get an email from your bank like “XBank”, check that the sender email is person@Xbank.com rather than email@example.com.
Use Link Checker or Link Scanner
Many websites actually provide link checking or link scanning features. This is a very neat technique to simple check the link before clicking on it.
www.virustotal.com is an excellent website for this task. This online tool practically does the job of an anti-virus. When you go to the website, you have the possibility to analyze files and URL for malware or any other security breach. Once you submit your file or enter the URL, the website will use different tools and software, then provide you with a detailed output from each of these tools. If you are unsure if a given software is credible enough, you can compare it to the output of other platforms on a single website.
Use a Short URL Expander
Sometimes attackers try to shorten URLs to hide any malicious intention. Analyzing shortened URL is not straightforward. To overcome this problem, copy the provided URL without opening it and use specific websites that actually expand the provided URLs. Then, you can analyze the original URL for possible security breaches. Many websites are there to do this task. Just search for “short URL expander” on your search engine and use the top provided websites.
Upgrade your Anti-Virus with Internet Security Features
Anti-virus software is commonly used to protect personal computers from viruses and other malware. While these are available for free, you can easily upgrade them to include internet security features for a small monthly fee. This will bring major improvement to your internet browsing experience including custom-made safe browsing tools.
Use Google Transparency Report
Google provide a nice tool to check for the safety of websites. To do so, visit https://transparencyreport.google.com and enter the URL in question. The Google source will then provide you with a safety report of that website.
Simply Hover Over the Link
The nicest solution is kept to the end. When you hover over a link in your email client or web browser, a small square appears including all the information related to the chosen URL. These details can be used to give a preliminary indication whether to trust the source.
Suspicious links are everywhere! To make sure they don’t catch you by surprise, follow the highlighted and you’ll be safe to go.
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How To Protect Your Data in 2022?
With the sudden surge in online working and learning, mainly fueled by the latest health events that hit the world population, the number of internet users has increased considerably in the last few years. According to statistics by the international telecommunications union (ITU), the number of internet users increased by 9 percent between 2019 and 2021 to reach a total of 63 percent. Statista further estimates the volumes of data in 2022 to around 180 zettabytes, that is around 180 billion terabytes. The large amounts of data circulating online highlights the increasing importance in preserving data security. How to protect your data is a central question in 2022. This is in a time where hybrid is still the preferred type of work, and digital transformation has forcefully moved sensitive information to digital platforms.
Properly Set up Your Working Device
Having a properly set-up device is the most important step to reduce cybersecurity threats and protect your data from being stolen, encrypted or tampered with.
Set up your Antivirus and Firewall
The main two elements to thwart attacks are your antivirus and firewall. The two have complementary functionalities. A firewall, as its name stands, is a network security device that enforces some policies to filter incoming and outgoing data thus blocking potentially hazardous activities that may infest the personal device or more dangerously, a company’s network. If the company you are working for does not have a firewall, you can at least enable the firewall that comes with your operating system.
An antivirus software has a constantly updated database of common viruses and other malware. The associated software will then scan the computer and connected storage devices for any intrusive activity, then deleting the discovered threats. A lot of companies offer their antivirus software for free. More elaborate internet security features can be acquired for an additional fee.
Most paid antivirus software provide protection from Ransomware attacks. These are among the most harmful attacks as the attacker encrypts your files and would not provide the decryption key until a “ransom” is paid in cryptocurrencies.
Update Your Software to the Latest Version
Updating the operating system on your laptop or smartphone is not only meant to introduce new features or functionalities. The main aim of software updates is to patch security issues and thus close any loophole or backdoor an attacker can use to steal or tamper with your data. It is therefore essential to make sure to regularly “Check for Updates” if this is not enabled automatically.
Beware of the “Sweet” Cookies
Most websites currently ask you to “Allow all cookies” to be able to access the website itself. In general, cookies are entries that are stored to track your activity and present you with customized content, mostly for ads and additional business revenues. Although harmless in general, the process of storing cookies requires some of your personal data, which most of us find intrusive and controversial. A good practice is to go to your browser settings every now and then and clear cookies.
Protect Your Accounts and Files
Another way of securing and protecting data is to ensure your accounts are secure enough.
Passwords are still the widely used techniques to authenticate a given user. Many individuals still use simple passwords or strings that contain their names and birth dates. An attacker normally checks combinations of letters and digits to guess the victim’s password. A stronger password means a tougher task for the attacker to guess. To protect your sensitive data efficiently, you need to use characters, digits, and letters while avoiding including personal information in the construction of the password.
Two-step authentication or more broadly, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the best improvement to regular password usage. With MFA, additional steps are needed to verify the subject’s identity which can be seen as added layers of security.
Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Virtual private networks can be seen as networks within networks. This means that two end-parties can connect on a public network but appear as if they belong to a private network. Think about it as a tunnel that goes through the internet connecting you and your communication partner.
Always Think How to Store the Data Securely
Data storage is the biggest issue in data security. Most of internet users rely on cloud storage platforms to keep their large volumes of data. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive are the common platforms used to store data, including large images and videos. While they promote high security practices, your data is never safe. Remember the 2014 iCloud naked celebrity photo leak? Or even your data which is kept on Facebook’s servers even after you delete them? These are some issues with cloud storage solutions. You can never be sure what is happening with your data. A good practice is to keep secret, confidential, and intimate data away from the internet. Use a USB, a CD, or even hard copies of your important documents. Treat them as you do with the cash in your wallet.
Make Sure to Report Incidents as Soon as They Happen
It is very important to report incidents or cybersecurity events as soon as they happen. This is crucial in finding fast solutions and develop security patches. Moreover, if you are working in a company or any institution, reporting incidents will allow others to avoid falling victims to a similar cyberattack. In this way, you will help to protect the data of your colleagues.
Avoid Sharing Your Location Data
With Google, Apple, Bing and many other having detailed maps with an incredible resolution showing streets and homes, our location is compromised to everyone using these services. It is primordial to go to these platforms and hide any data or source of information that could compromise your privacy.
In this sense, also beware of mobile and phone apps that request to use your location data. Don’t share your location unless you trust the application and its developer. As a safety precaution, only allow sharing location while using the app and not all the time. This is crucial to protect your data.
As the world is transitioning towards an increasingly larger digital footprint, protecting data is becoming much more important. Most of our information and personal data is circulating freely over the internet, preyed by cyber attacker looking to misuse your collected data. Protecting the data comes from changing our own practices to prepare a safe ecosystem from which we can surf the internet. At the same time, we shouldn’t trust much data handling and storage offered online and therefore properly decide which piece of information to share on the web. In 2022, the threats are high and in forthcoming years threats will be even higher and more diverse. So start protecting your data now!
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