The Kids are Learning, and So Is Your Computer

School season is in full swing and the kids are back to learning. With all that hard work, they’re getting pretty smart, but they’re not the only ones. The rise of machine learning means computers are also honing their skills, especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity can be complicated, but it’s also a valuable resource in many areas, from detecting intruders to preventing attacks. While AI may seem overwhelming for Small Business, there’s actually a fairly simple way to make use of it as a part of your cybersecurity arsenal in the form of Next-Generation Antivirus software.

 

Antivirus 101

Traditional antivirus software is signature-based. It works by cross-checking processes in your computer against a virus signature database, sort of like a dictionary of known malware. When it finds a match, it flags the process running as a virus or potentially harmful. Otherwise, if the execution isn’t recognized as a threat, the antivirus lets it through and keep running.

The limitation of traditional antivirus is that it relies on an existing virus signature database—something that is updated, not in real time, but only every so often (e.g. hourly or daily). With 5 new malware threats created each second of the day, advanced threats like ransomware and zero-day threats, which are not yet known by the “dictionary,” can still slip by.

 

Why AI is an A+

Next-Generation Antivirus addresses the limitation by taking a behavior-based approach. Once installed, the AI works to learns your computing behaviors – what programs you use, your typical methods, etc. If it notices something unusual, it identifies the program as potentially malicious, even if it’s not a known threat in the world.

Let’s say you typically perform basic office functions on your computer, then one day you open a file that starts making large-scale encryption changes (as in ransomware) behind the scenes. Traditional antivirus wouldn’t recognize it while your Next-Generation Antivirus says: “Whoa! This isn’t normal activity!” It can then stop the suspicious activity and quarantine the file.

While no software can guarantee 100% protection, Next Generation Antivirus helps address some of the newest and most dangerous threats. Some software can even roll back in time to remove malicious programs and run forensics to find the original attack source. Now that’s smart!

 

It’s Not Just What You Know

To help understand the benefits of artificial intelligence through antivirus, it’s helpful to use this analogy:

  • Traditional Antivirus: Someone calmly threatens you in a foreign language, so you don’t easily recognize the threat.

  • Next-Generation Antivirus: Someone threatens you in a foreign language, but you recognize their aggressive body language and identify the danger.

Don’t discount traditional antivirus – it’s an important tool that protects against a wide variety of mainstream malware. But with 350,000 new malware samples identified every day and ransomware on the upswing, it’s important to do your homework and consider advanced, intelligent protection. After all, you don’t want to get schooled by malware!

Stay Safe,

Your Friends @ Defendify