Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the creation of intelligent machines capable of mimicking human cognitive functions and the ability to adapt to new situations without explicit programming. These functions include:

  • Learning: AI systems learn from data and experience, improving their performance over time.

  • Problem-solving: AI can analyze complex situations and identify solutions based on available information.

  • Decision-making: AI can make informed decisions by weighing various factors and potential outcomes.

  • Pattern recognition: AI can learn to identify patterns in data, enabling applications like facial recognition, fraud detection, and medical diagnosis.

AI vs. ML vs. Automation

AI, machine learning (ML), and automation are all interconnected but distinct concepts.

  • Automation: Automation involves using technology to perform tasks based on predefined rules with minimal human intervention,  streamlining processes and reducing errors. For example, blocking suspicious IP based on predefined criteria.


  • Machine Learning: ML algorithms learn from data to improve performance over time. For instance, ML may be used in analyzing network traffic to identify anomalies that may indicate a cyber attack. ML is one approach to achieving AI, but AI isn't limited to ML.

AI, ML, and automation work together to create layered defense. Automation is the engine that follows the rules, ML learns and adapts to those rules, and AI aims for a more human-like understanding of the security environment.

What is GenAI?

Generative AI is a cutting-edge technology capable of producing diverse content such as text, images, audio, and synthetic data through generative models, often in response to specific prompts. These AI models learn to understand patterns and structures from their input training data, generating new data with similar characteristics. Deep-learning models can process vast amounts of raw data, learning to create new outputs that are statistically probable yet distinct from the original input.

For cybersecurity, GenAI is a double-edged sword. Organizations can use it to train defenders using simulations of cyber attacks, automate mundane tasks, give analysts back time to tackle real threats, and help prioritize alerts. On the other hand, threat actors can use GenAI to create sophisticated malware and realistic phishing campaigns.

What is AI in cybersecurity? 

AI plays a crucial role in cybersecurity as a multiplier amplifying human capabilities against constantly evolving threats. AI analyzes large amounts of data and user behavior to excel at detecting anomalies, identifying malware and phishing attempts, and providing valuable threat intelligence. 

AI-driven automation is instrumental in addressing security incidents promptly. Automated responses include isolating compromised systems, blocking malicious activities, and orchestrating coordinated actions against cyber threats so security teams have time to focus on more complex tasks that require human expertise.

Advantages of AI in cybersecurity

Integrating AI into cybersecurity brings numerous advantages, enhancing the ability of organizations to protect their systems, networks, and data. Let's walk through some key advantages of using AI in cybersecurity:

  • Faster detections: AI algorithms can swiftly analyze large amounts of data, helping SOCs detect and respond to critical threats faster before they escalate.

  • Relieve alert fatigue: Use AI to analyze more alerts faster, with better context and prioritization than is possible with human capital.

  • Capture higher fidelity alerts: Detect and surface low and slow attacks that would have been overlooked using AI for large data set analysis.

  • Streamline reporting: By analyzing security data, AI systems can generate comprehensive reports, simplifying the reporting process and giving analysts actionable insights to make informed decisions.

  • Vulnerability identification and management: Adept at identifying patterns and configurations, AI helps security teams proactively address weaknesses before malicious actors exploit them.

  • Reduce False Positives: Systems utilizing machine learning (ML) can use historical data to learn and improve their ability to differentiate between normal and malicious activities. This reduces the number of false positives and enables analysts to prioritize genuine threats.

  • Automated Tasks: AI-powered systems automate specific security tasks, including blocking suspicious IP addresses, isolating infected devices, and enforcing security policies, freeing up valuable time for security personnel to focus on investigations and expedite response times.

  • Continuous Monitoring: Detect and address performance issues, changes in the threat landscapes, and evolving attack techniques while regularly updating and retraining models to adapt to new patterns and threats.

  • Scalability: Meet the demands of the ever-growing amounts of data, such as network traffic and security event logs, to perform complex analyses.

  • Adaptive Learning: Utilize machine learning, enabling systems to learn from experience and adapt to new threats without constant manual intervention.

Use cases for AI in cybersecurity

  • User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA): AI monitors and analyzes user behavior to establish baselines and identify deviations that may indicate insider threats or compromised accounts. UEBA helps in detecting unauthorized access or unusual activities associated with malicious actors.

  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): AI for IAM can analyze sign-in patterns and behaviors to detect and raise suspicious behavior to analyst attention and automate two-factor authentication or password reset when conditions are met. It can even block a user if an account has been compromised.

  • Security Content Creation: Utilize AI to analyze attack behaviors to automatically create new rules for threat hunting and detection and response.

  • Extended detection and response: Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions leverage AI to correlate and analyze data from various sources, providing a more comprehensive and effective approach to threat detection. XDR solutions monitor endpoints, emails, identities, and cloud apps for anomalous behavior and surface incidents to the team or respond automatically depending on the rules defined by security operations.

  • Threat Detection: AI analyzes network traffic, system logs, and user behaviors to detect unusual patterns and anomalies that may indicate a security threat. Machine learning models can identify known malware signatures and learn to recognize new, previously unseen threats.

  • Advanced Phishing Detection: AI uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze email content, sender behavior, and communication patterns to detect phishing attempts.

  • Malware Detection: AI-driven malware detection systems analyze patterns and behaviors to identify and mitigate the impact of malware in real time, even those with polymorphic characteristics that change over time.

  • Incident Response Automation: AI automates incident response processes and triggers quick and coordinated actions in response to security incidents. Automated responses can include isolating compromised systems, blocking malicious activities, and implementing predefined security measures.

  • Network Security: AI is used in intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to monitor network traffic for signs of malicious activity. Deep learning models can analyze complex network patterns and identify sophisticated attacks.

  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): AI enhances SIEM solutions by correlating and analyzing real-time security events, reducing false positives, and providing actionable insights.

  • Security Awareness Training: AI-powered platforms can tailor security awareness training programs based on individual user behavior, providing targeted education to mitigate risks.

Best practices for AI in cybersecurity

Data Security and Privacy

  • Ensure data quality and security: Since AI models learn from data, high-quality data with proper security measures is crucial. Implement data anonymization and encryption where necessary to protect sensitive information.

  • Adhere to data privacy regulations: Comply with relevant data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) when collecting, storing, and utilizing data for AI models.

Model Training and Development

  • Determine the appropriate AI technique: Different AI techniques are suited for different tasks. Carefully analyze the specific cybersecurity challenge and select the most appropriate AI approach, like machine learning or deep learning.

  • Address bias in data and models: Biased training data can lead to biased AI models. Implement techniques to identify and mitigate bias in data collection, labeling, and model development.

  • Ensure model explainability and interpretability: Strive for transparency in AI models to understand their decision-making processes and better audit and identify potential issues.

Deployment and Monitoring

  • Start with small-scale implementations: Begin by deploying AI for specific, well-defined tasks before scaling up to monitor and evaluate its effectiveness easily.

  • Continuously monitor and evaluate: Regularly monitor the performance of AI models, identifying potential performance degradation or vulnerabilities that need to be addressed, such as overfitting, underfitting, model drift, and more.

  • Establish human oversight and control: AI should be seen as a powerful tool, not a replacement for human expertise and judgment.

Challenges of AI

Bias in Data and Models

AI models may inherit biases present in the training data, potentially leading to biased decisions or outcomes. Mitigating bias in data collection, labeling, and model development is critical, particularly concerning cybersecurity, where biased models may disproportionately impact certain user groups or fail to detect specific types of threats.

Adversarial Attacks

Malicious actors might attempt to manipulate AI models through techniques like poisoning training data to generate incorrect outputs or crafting adversarial examples to exploit vulnerabilities and bypass security measures such as model inversion, model extraction, and model-based attacks. Securing the underlying AI infrastructure and algorithms is critical to preventing compromise.

Complexity and integration

Integrating AI with existing security infrastructure can be complex and require significant resources. Compatibility issues, interoperability challenges, and the need for skilled personnel to manage and maintain AI systems may obstruct seamless integration.

Over-Reliance on AI

Over-reliance on AI without human oversight can lead to blind spots. Human analysts provide critical thinking, context, and intuition that AI may lack. Relying solely on AI could result in missed threats or false confidence in the system's capabilities.

The future of AI for cybersecurity 

Collaborative Defense

The evolution of collaborative defense, with AI systems working together across organizations, fosters a collective and robust cyber defense ecosystem.

Proactive Defense 

AI could analyze threat intelligence, user behavior, and network activity to identify potential vulnerabilities and take preemptive actions like patching software, isolating compromised systems, or even deploying counter-deception measures.

Self-healing Systems

Self-healing systems that can automatically detect and remediate security breaches, such as automatically quarantining infected systems, patching vulnerabilities, and restoring compromised data.

Evolving Adversarial Landscape

While AI advances the defenders' side, the attackers are likely to leverage similar technologies to develop more sophisticated and evasive threats, leading to an arms race between AI-powered offense and defense, pushing the boundaries of both sides.

Trellix's approach to AI

For over a decade, Trellix has harnessed the capabilities of AI and ML to fortify our defenses, enhance detection capabilities, facilitate thorough investigations, and expedite remediation processes. With some of the largest databases globally, our extensive repository of file and certificate reputations significantly contributes to the effectiveness of our product detections, enabling the development of more resilient models.

At Trellix, our approach involves seamlessly integrating human expertise with the dynamic potential of AI. Through the strategic application of AI, our products at Trellix optimize security operations by incorporating workflow automation, advanced detection mechanisms, event correlations, comprehensive risk assessments, malware and code analysis, auto-generated investigative and response playbooks, and a unified understanding of product knowledge throughout the ecosystem.

Trellix AI capabilities

By providing critical insights earlier in the kill chain, Trellix Intelligence helps our customers mitigate more attacks sooner and utilizes AI-guided investigations to help you resolve attacks sooner.  

Here's how Trellix is using AI:

  • Tracks, analyzes, and disseminates over 3000 threat campaigns through curated intelligence dossiers. 

  • AI-guided threat modeling supported by our Advanced Research Center for data analysis

  • Operationalizing intel with proactive policy guidance within the Trellix Insights product

  • Control points provide rich telemetry across threat vectors with highly trained models for faster, more accurate detections.

  • Leverage AI to analyze diverse data sources, including logs, alerts, and threat intelligence, to extract meaningful insights for faster remediations.

  • Trellix utilizes AI to offer recommendations for enhancing defenses, such as implementing intrusion detection and prevention systems, tightening access controls, updating security policies, or conducting security awareness training.

  • AI's language processing capabilities enable SOAR platforms to support multiple languages, overcoming language barriers in incident response.

Trellix Wise 

Trellix Wise is GenAI-powered hyper-automation for threat detection and response. Wise’s capabilities leverage over 10 years of AI modeling, 25 years of analytics and machine learning, and numerous petabytes (PBs) from control points like endpoints, networks, email, data security, and more. With Wise, teams can automatically investigate all of their data, eliminate false positives, automate remediation, and use conversational AI to perform threat hunting, no matter their current level of expertise. Additionally, Trellix has teamed up with Amazon Bedrock to enhance GenAI functionality. 

  • Delivers 5x more efficiency for analysts

  • Ensures alerts are quickly triaged, scoped, and assessed with automatic alert investigations

  • Saves 8 hours of SOC work for every 100 alerts

  • Leverages 3x more third-party integrations

  • Delivers real-time threat intelligence leveraging 68 billion queries a day from >100 million endpoints

  • Delivers 50% reduction in MTTD and MTTR


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