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AI-Based Cybersecurity (Questions/Answers)

Artificial Intelligence is being used more and more commonly in business and consumer-level technologies – including those designed for cybersecurity. Did you know that you can now protect yourself from spear phishing and common cybercrime tactics with AI-powered cybersecurity?

Did you know you can harness Artificial Intelligence to protect your business?

Cybercrime methodology continues to evolve as cybercriminals look for new ways to exploit and penetrate businesses. That’s why cybersecurity technology is improving as well, a key example of which is the integration of Artificial Intelligence into new cybersecurity solutions.

Spam emails, phishing emails, and emails that contain malicious content are nothing new.

These types of messages have been an ongoing source of trouble for St. George businesses and individuals alike for a very long time, and won’t be going away anytime soon.

In fact, the FBI reports these types of attacks have caused up to $12 billion in damages over a five year period.

A variant of phishing campaigns you may not have heard of is something called “spear phishing” – do you know what it is, and how to protect against it?

What is spear phishing?

Unlike phishing campaigns, which are designed to target as many potential victims as possible by using broader tactics, spear phishing attacks target a specific business or employee.

On one hand, the chances of someone on your team accidentally opening one of these emails and clicking on an attachment or link dramatically increases when a phishing email lands in the inbox of every single employee.

On the other hand, this can sometimes make them easier to spot because the messaging is more generic. Spear phishing emails are a different story.

While the bulk of these emails are being successfully caught by spam filters and other network security measures provided by St. George IT companies, the sheer number of emails being sent out has made the odds of something managing to slip past your business’ defenses higher than normal.

How can you protect yourself against spear phishing?

Spam filters and other cybersecurity technologies and services offered by St. George IT companies can only do so much.

Generally, best practices for protecting against phishing and other social engineering cybercrime tactics come down to awareness and training for you and your employees.

For business owners, staying a step ahead of a potential infection, intrusion, or scam means making a point of learning the basics of how to spot spam and phishing attempts, and training your staff to do the same. For employees, it means taking cybersecurity training seriously and actively applying what you know about how cybercriminals operate to your daily tasks.

There are a few common characteristics that malicious emails share that make them easy to pick out once you know what you should be looking for. Spam and phishing red flags include:

  • Overly-urgent or threatening-sounding subject lines
  • Generic salutations (messages that aren’t addressed to a specific recipient)
  • Spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that indicate a poor grasp of the English language
  • Attachments that you were not expecting to receive
  • Embedded links that don’t match the hyperlink text
  • The sender indicates that their request needs to be met within a very short timeframe and/or implying that there will be consequences if you fail to act on their request
  • The message seemingly comes from a familiar sender, but from an unfamiliar email address
  • The message contains a request that wouldn’t normally be sent to that recipient
  • The sender requests sensitive information that normally wouldn’t be shared through email

It’s always a good idea to use caution when opening any attachment or clicking on any links sent to you through email. If anything about a message you receive seems even the slightest bit suspicious, take a moment to read the message over closely.

You should never hesitate to follow up with the sender or check with a supervisor before acting on an email that just doesn’t feel right. Taking a few extra minutes to respond won’t cause any harm, but opening an attachment that contains malware certainly will.

However, that’s not the only way to protect yourself anymore…

How can Artificial Intelligence protect you against spear phishing?

In a nutshell – Artificial Intelligence can learn to filter suspicious emails.

Security based on advanced algorithms that can adapt and learn creates a system that can become familiar with the normal patterns associated with each user and device, detecting anomalies in those patterns quickly.

Essentially, something known as a neural net can be used in cybersecurity efforts. Based on a robust algorithm, the neural net can “learn” to spot patterns of data associated with previously identified and classified spear phishing emails.

By incorporating this technology into an email client’s spam filter, the filter will be able to spot fraudulent incoming emails and eliminate them before they reach the recipient.

One of the best parts about neural nets is that they continue to learn and improve the more that they are used. With increasingly more data to draw from, this Artificial Intelligence will become more and more accurate in doing its job. Investing in Artificial Intelligence technology is critical, as machines can respond much more quickly to the way these attacks are adapting.

While there’s no true replacement for a well informed and trained employee as a component of effective cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence is becoming a viable alternative. If you’re interested in seeing what this kind of cybersecurity could for you, consult with your St. George IT company to find out more.

Like this article? Check out these blogs about cybersecurity to learn more:

What You Need to Know About NextGen Malware and AntiVirus Protection

Most Small Businesses Pay The Ransom

Church Hit with Business Email Compromise

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