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Never fear, Watson is here!

Today’s security challenges requires more intelligence to identify and prioritise threats that in turn increases the workload of security analysts with more alerts and anomalies to process than ever.



AI needed in the fight against cyber crime
AI needed in the fight against cyber crime

Global leaders in banking and finance, education, healthcare, and other key industries have joined a new cyber security beta programme developed by IBM Watson.

Sun Life Financial, University of Rochester Medical Center, Avnet, SCANA Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, California Polytechnic State University, University of New Brunswick and Smarttech will be amongst 40 organisations testing Watson’s ability to detect and protect against cyber crime.


Watson for cyber security takes advantage of IBM’s cognitive technology, which is being trained to understand the language of security. By applying intelligent technologies like machine learning and natural language processing, Watson can help security analysts make better decisions from structured data, as well as the vast amount of unstructured data that has been dark to an organisation’s defenses until now.


A recent study from the IBM Institute for Business Value shows that nearly 60 percent of security professionals believe emerging cognitive technologies will be a critical part of changing the tides in the war on cybercrime.


“Customers are in the early stages of implementing cognitive security technologies,” said Sandy Bird, chief technology officer, IBM Security. “Our research suggests this adoption will increase three fold over the next three years, as tools like Watson for Cyber Security mature and become pervasive in security operations centers. Currently, only seven percent of security professionals claim to be using cognitive solutions.”


Beta customers involved in this programme are leveraging Watson in their current security environments to bring additional context to their cyber security data. New use cases demonstrate:

  • Whether or not a current security ‘offense’ is associated with a known malware or cybercrime campaign; if so, Watson can provide background on the malware employed, vulnerabilities exploited and scope of the threat, among other insights.
  • Better identifying suspicious behavior, Watson provides additional context to user activity outside of the primary suspicious behavior, which can provide better guidance to whether or not an activity is malicious.


The IBM Institute for Business Value recently surveyed over 700 security professionals to gauge perspectives on the challenges, benefits and opportunities for cognitive security technologies.


Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed believe that cognitive technologies will mature soon enough to significantly slow down cybercriminals in the near future. While only seven per cent said their organisations are currently in the process of implementing cognitive security solutions, 21 per cent said they will implement these solutions over the next two to three years, representing a three-fold increase in adoption.


Security professionals also said that the top benefit they expect to see from cognitive technologies is improved detection and incident response decision-making capabilities, which was indicated by 40 per cent of respondents. Currently, the average data breach takes organizations an average of 201 days to identify and an average of 70 days to contain.


As development of Watson for Cyber Security continues, IBM continues to build more advanced analytics and cognitive capabilities into other areas of its security portfolio and includes the following:

  • Applying behavioral analytics to better understand the usage patterns of insiders—employees, contractors and partners—and to determine if their credentials have been compromised, via IBM QRadar User Behavior Analytics.
  • Using patented analytics, machine learning and behavioral biometrics capabilities to help prevent banking fraud with IBM Trusteer Pinpoint Detect, which analyses how users interact with banking websites, creating gesture models that can become increasingly more accurate over time.
  • Leveraging machine learning to help clients find potential vulnerabilities in their applications faster with IBM Application Security on Cloud.
  • Visualising data access in a single 3D view empowers security teams to detect and flag suspicious activities before they turn into a breach using IBM Security Guardium.
  • Hiring nearly 2,000 experts into its security business in the past two years including developers, consultants, and research professionals, with 600 of these in the US alone.


If you liked this, you may wish to read the following:


UK government unveils national cyber security plan

Chancellor Philip Hammond sets out a £1.9bn security strategy that aims to strike back at malicious hackers



Smart city services cyber attack ‘likely’, says survey


A survey by Tripwire reveals that 88 per cent of state and local government IT professionals are concerned about cyber attacks targeting critical city infrastructure

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