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AI defeats the hackers

AI and machine learning are already making inroads as far as preventing spam from getting through to the user, and it’s now being employed to prevent scams that use compromised, legitimate email accounts, writes Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President Trend Micro, Sub-Saharan Africa.

The technology that exists now analyses the user’s writing style, based on previous emails and compares it to the fake emails. 

While there has been so much focus on all kinds of malware that could be downloaded from email, or picked up through malicious links, email hacking is a regular method of attack for the cybercriminal. It is still a favourite amongst hackers because it is the easiest and most successful way to spread high-risk threats. 

The thing with hacking an email account is that the hacked account can be used for fraud. For example, a cybercriminal may gain access to a financial advisor’s account – and address book – and send spoof emails to clients asking them to make payments into their account. Alternatively, the compromise can provide the cyber criminal access to the company’s network, potentially allowing the hacker to spy on the organisation or even steal personal information. 

This kind of cyber attack is quite different from email attacks that contain malware. There are a number of reasons that attackers use this method: to make a political point, sabotage, revenge, and of course, to make money. These cyber criminals will use a number of different means to get money out of the targets, such as keyloggers, phishing and social engineering. 

A number of industries are severely affected y this kind of compromise and range from healthcare to education. AI and machine learning can enhance protection, potentially preventing corporate disaster. There are, of course, tools available to prevent these breaches.. 

You can’t compromise on the right kind of security software that is properly configured and updated on a regular basis. However, don’t overlook the importance of staff education on every level – from CEO down. Ensure that everyone in the organisation understands how to keep their email secure and how to avoid clicking on malicious links. 

Your security is effectively as good as the people who are using the network and it’s imperative to create a culture of security in every organisation in order to combat cybercrime. 

Cyber criminals don’t take days off and neither should we.

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