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We live in a time in which digital networking is constantly increasing and at the same time the number of cyber attacks is rising rapidly. These attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and represent a considerable burden for both companies and government organisations. Artificial intelligence (AI) has reached a level where it can be used not only to defend against cyber attacks, but also to carry them out. With AI's ability to form complex networks, such systems can now independently develop sophisticated attack strategies to penetrate victims' systems. This blog post looks at how AI is being used in cybersecurity both as a tool for attackers and as a means of defence. It discusses why it is important to use equivalent technological means to effectively protect against these sophisticated threats.

AI as a tool for attackers in cybersecurity

AI has become a double-edged sword in the world of cybersecurity, used for both defence and attack. Cyber criminals are using advanced AI techniques to refine attack methods, spread malware autonomously and circumvent security protocols. Machine learning algorithms are used to develop adaptive attack scenarios that pose new challenges to traditional security architectures. AI-powered automation also enables the execution of large-scale and high-precision operations such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The increasing adoption of AI by cyber criminals marks a significant shift in the cyber threat landscape and points to an intensifying technology competition in which actors on all sides are increasingly turning to AI solutions. This emphasises the continuous development of security technologies and the need to constantly adapt them.

The financial impact of cybercrime on the global economy

Based on the annual report by Cybersecurity Ventures and the World Economic Forum, which estimates the global cost of cybercrime, the data shows a significant increase in the costs caused by cyber-attacks between 2020 and 2024. These organisations provide comprehensive analysis and estimates of the economic impact of cybercrime worldwide.

  • 2020-2021: The global cost of cybercrime is estimated at six trillion US dollars per year. These figures highlight the ongoing and profound impact of cyber-attacks worldwide as attackers' methods become more diverse and complex.
  • 2022: A rise to an estimated $8 trillion shows a significant increase, likely due to the increasing sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks.
  • 2023: The cost is estimated to exceed US$11 trillion, highlighting the escalating financial impact of cybercrime. This sharp increase reflects the continued development and effectiveness of cyber attacks, despite global efforts to improve cyber security.
  • 2024: Forecasts predict a decline to 9.5 trillion US dollars. This slight decrease could be due to more effective cyber security strategies, changes in attack methods or economic fluctuations that affect the cost of cybercrime.

These figures underline the growing challenge that cyber threats pose to the global economy and emphasise the urgent need for comprehensive and robust cyber security measures.

Use of AI in cybersecurity

The use of AI in cybersecurity encompasses several key areas that have a significant impact on cyber threat detection and defence. The foundations and applications of AI include machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) technologies, which are able to efficiently recognise patterns and anomalies in large amounts of data that often escape human analysts.

A key area of application for AI in cyber security is anomaly detection, where AI systems recognise unusual patterns in network traffic that could indicate potential cyber attacks. Specialised AI algorithms are also used to detect phishing and ransomware in order to identify malicious emails and websites at an early stage and enable preventative measures to be taken.

The defence against cyber attacks using AI includes automatic response systems that not only detect threats, but can also immediately initiate countermeasures to effectively block attacks. In addition, proactive threat hunting is supported by AI-supported tools that analyse networks for security vulnerabilities and potential sources of danger.

Despite these advances, AI is not flawless and brings with it challenges and ethical dilemmas. Discussions about the error-proneness of AI systems and ethical concerns about privacy and the potential misuse of these technologies are crucial to the further development of AI in cyber security.

Future prospects include the continuous improvement of AI models that promise to have a transformative effect on the cyber security landscape. The integration of AI into existing security systems is crucial to fully exploit its potential and maximise defences against cyber-attacks.

This extensive use of AI in cyber security emphasises the need to use equivalent technological means to effectively protect against advanced threats.

Strengthening defences with Microsoft security technologies

The use of Microsoft technologies provides a robust solution to effectively counter the constant and changing cyber threats. As a Microsoft partner, adesso SE has the necessary expertise to effectively implement and utilise leading cybersecurity technologies. One example of this is Microsoft Security Copilot, a tool based on artificial intelligence that significantly improves the speed and accuracy of security operations.

According to the Microsoft Digital Defence Report, Microsoft is using the latest advances in artificial intelligence to strengthen its cyber defences. These technologies provide a dynamic defence against increasingly complex cyber attacks, helping to strengthen global cyber security resilience. Microsoft is also fostering the formation of strong cyber security partnerships to jointly address the challenges of digital threats.

By leveraging these advanced Microsoft technologies, adesso can offer customised solutions that are not only state of the art, but also enable proactive defence against a wide range of cyber threats. This strengthens our customers' operational readiness and effectively protects their critical infrastructures.

By integrating Microsoft security products and services into your security infrastructure, we offer you a solution that is specifically tailored to your security needs. With our comprehensive support and advice as a Microsoft partner, we ensure that you can utilise the full potential of these technologies to arm yourself against cyber threats. For further information or support, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Would you like to find out more about exciting topics from the adesso world? Then take a look at our previous blog posts.

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Picture Edin Mujezinovic

Author Edin Mujezinovic

Edin Mujezinovic is a Senior Consultant in the Microsoft Security Competence Centre at adesso. His work focuses on Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) with the Microsoft product Sentinel. He also specialises in cybersecurity, forensics and information protection.

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