How software engineers are using AI to enhance cybersecurity

You may have noticed that artificial intelligence has suddenly become a talking point on social media platforms and tech news articles. This may lead you, as well as many other people, to assume that artificial intelligence (AI) is a new development. On the contrary, you may already have had run-ins with AI. iPhone’s Siri uses AI-enabled speech recognition while Facebook has adopted AI-powered facial recognition software. Even Google uses AI to show relevant search results to users.

One field where artificial intelligence can have a significant impact is cybersecurity. Certain banks and financial institutions are already using AI to prevent fraud. The potential for AI in enhancing digital security is immense given the way cyberattacks are evolving and becoming smarter.

Not only can AI help cybersecurity professionals and software engineers keep up with cybercriminals, but this technology can also make tasks related to digital security more efficient and effective. It can automate threat detection and allow cybersecurity professionals to respond more effectively compared to manual techniques or using antivirus or threat detection software.

Getting the right education and qualifications

If you are interested in new tech and have an interest in working as a software engineer in the future, you should be aware of how artificial intelligence can be used to bolster cybersecurity. Of course, before that you should learn how to become a software engineer so that you can make optimal use of artificial intelligence in your field. The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, engineering or a related field. That will help you gain the right education and skills to get access to software engineering jobs. However, do not stop there.

For access to a wider range of positions, complete a Master’s in Computer Science, and specialize in software engineering through a reputable institution such as Baylor University. Earning a master’s degree demonstrates that you have gone beyond the basic skills. Baylor University offers an online master’s in computer science that equips you with in-demand skills that help you resolve the challenges and problems that you could face in software engineering projects. This online program ensures you get hands-on experience while you are studying to prepare you for real-world situations and scenarios.

Job outlook

According to the projections by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2021 to 2031, jobs for software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers will increase by 25%, a growth surge that is higher than the average for all occupations.

BLS goes on to state this increase in demand will be due to the growth of software development in the fields of AI, IoT, robotics and other types of automation applications. Organizations are also expected to pour more funds into software projects that help to enhance the security of their networks and infrastructure. This could lead to an increased demand for software engineers who can create software to combat cyber threats.

This makes it a great time to learn more about AI and get the necessary education and skills to be job-ready.

How AI can help boost digital security

This brings us back to how to use AI to boost cybersecurity, especially in software projects. Here are some of the ways software engineers can use artificial intelligence in digital security.

Identify new cyber threats

Cybercriminals are tech-savvy and come up with new malware nearly every week. As a result, software systems used to detect these types of malicious software and applications cannot keep pace. This is where AI can be extremely useful.

With the help of advanced algorithms, software engineers train AI systems to detect malware. These systems can perform pattern recognition within a few seconds and detect even the smallest behaviors of malicious software. This happens even before the software can enter the network or system.

Artificial intelligence systems make use of natural language processing (NLP) and predictive intelligence to scour the internet for studies, articles and news on the latest cyber threats. With the help of data mining and collection, AI systems create their own database, which gets updated regularly. As a result, it can not only detect new attacks and anomalies but can also use prevention tactics.

Combat the problems of bots

Did you know that most internet traffic is due to bots? These bots are risky as they can steal credentials, take over accounts, create false accounts and resort to data fraud. For software developers, this can be a serious issue.

Software projects generate a lot of data, which cannot be analyzed using manual measures. On the other hand, AI technologies can analyze vast volumes of data within no time. This means that artificial intelligence systems can gain a comprehensive understanding of traffic and can easily differentiate between bad bots, good bots and humans.

With the help of advanced AI algorithms, software engineers can understand the behavioral patterns of users. If the analysis determines that it is automated traffic, engineers can adapt their cybersecurity strategies to combat bots.

Predict the risk of breaches

When it comes to cybersecurity, it is essential to be proactive rather than reactive. So, predicting the possibility of breaches, whether from an internal or external source, is essential.

AI systems in organizations keep an inventory of all IT assets. This record is detailed, and AI systems know how many devices there are, the applications that these devices use, who the users are and what level of access users and systems have.

With the help of predictive analysis, AI systems can use asset inventory to forecast where and how organizational systems could be at risk of a breach. Based on this information, you can create a plan to address vulnerabilities and strengthen the security.

Boost endpoint protection

Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of organizations have embraced remote work. With hundreds of employees now working from home or other locations, their systems can pose a threat to an organization’s digital security. Thankfully, AI can help secure these systems and ensure that endpoints are safe from potential cyber threats.

Software engineers can train AI systems to establish a baseline behavior for their endpoint systems. If there is a deviation in this behavior, the systems will flag it immediately and take the necessary action, such as alerting the organization’s tech support team or reverting to a safe state. This minimizes the damage and ensures that the entire infrastructure and network are not compromised.

So, rather than waiting until VPNs and antivirus software get signature updates, AI systems can actively protect the systems of remote workers. In doing so, AI ensures that the organization’s data and network stay safe.

Final thoughts

These are just some of the ways that AI is currently being used to strengthen cybersecurity. There are several other approaches that software engineers can take to boost the digital security of their organizations or software projects. The key is to adopt AI technologies and use their innovative capabilities to safeguard sensitive data and ensure that software systems are secure in the face of ever-changing cybersecurity challenges.