Bringing AI-powered cybersecurity to the general consumer
An EU-funded project has enabled companies to offer cybersecurity as a low-cost subscription service, boosting protection from hackers by using artificial intelligence. This could help consumers better safeguard personal data such as passwords and bank details.
© peshkov # 207672771 source: stock.adobe.com 2019
Todays cybersecurity experts deal with constantly evolving threats, making it tough to distinguish good from bad. Instead of lone wolves who are easily stopped, increasingly sophisticated teams of hackers are finding ways around current security systems and breaking into servers and networks to steal vast amounts of sensitive information.
The scale of the problem is staggering. According to a recent report from professional services firm Accenture, cyberattacks could cost companies up to US$ 5.2 trillion in additional expenses and lost revenue over the next five years.
As standard programmes struggle to keep up and the digital economy becomes more widespread, the EU-funded SHIELD project has made it possible for internet service providers (ISPs) to offer stepped-up security services powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning at very competitive prices.
Traditionally, security services are only able to identify known threats with clear signatures, says SHIELD project coordinator Georgios Gardikis of Space Hellas, an information technology and security company based in Greece. SHIELDs artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning techniques scour the network for threats. The system catches them in real time and reconfigures itself to thwart them.
Security as a service
While most cloud-based security services are offered remotely via clouds on northern European or US servers, SHIELD allows ISPs to offer security services in the network closest to the user. The results are a better user experience, faster updates, and unlimited data flow.
As with Software as a Service (SaaS), people can access SHIELDS offering for a monthly fee that is added to a standard internet connection charge.
Its very user-friendly, says Gardikis. Paying by the month means you can protect your data and systems without needing to invest in expensive cybersecurity functionality. You just pay for what you use.
And in response to businesses using both new and old technology and sharing functionalities with different branches and subsidiaries, SHIELDs services can easily be scaled up or down and configured or upgraded according to a consumers needs.
Much of this is thanks to the software-based approach that underlines everything within the SHIELD framework. By literally virtualising traditional network devices, SHIELD can implement cloud-based firewalls so that companies no longer need to install firewalls on in-house servers. This also prevents attackers from modifying and hijacking the systems critical components.
SHIELD uses innovative trust-monitoring techniques and all results are available to administrators via a dashboard, which frees up resources on a companys IT team. Indeed, users get total management of cloud security services, security policies, and general administration.
SHEILD has released its system components on an open-source basis, bringing multiple advantages.
When developing the system, we relied on many open source functionalities, so we thought it was only right to keep it that way, says Gardikis. Were completely transparent. Theres no black box. Our customers and potential customers are free to check all our code and get a complete understanding of how the whole system works.
The SHIELD team hopes others will build upon what it has achieved.
We also want other developers to use what weve created and expand it further, Gardikis adds.