Human and machine expertise against cyberattacks

Human and machine expertise against cyberattacks

PatternEx merges human and machine expertise to spot and respond to hacks.

Being a cybersecurity analyst at a large company today is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack — if that haystack were hurtling toward you at fiber optic speed.

Every day, employees and customers generate loads of data that establish a normal set of behaviors. An attacker will also generate data while using any number of techniques to infiltrate the system; the goal is to find that “needle” and stop it before it does any damage.

The data-heavy nature of that task lends itself well to the number-crunching prowess of machine learning, and an influx of AI-powered systems have indeed flooded the cybersecurity market over the years. But such systems can come with their own problems, namely a never-ending stream of false positives that can make them more of a time suck than a time saver for security analysts.

MIT startup PatternEx starts with the assumption that algorithms can’t protect a system on their own. The company has developed a closed loop approach whereby machine-learning models flag possible attacks and human experts provide feedback. The feedback is then incorporated into the models, improving their ability to flag only the activity analysts care about in the future.

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Source: “A human-machine collaboration to defend against cyberattacks”, Zach Winn, MIT News Office