Wouldn’t it be an amazing sight? Artificial Intelligent Sentinels communicating each other through neural networks, digging deep through big data. Al for making the world a safer place. This is what the future looks like: Cyber Reasoning Systems (CRS) will emerge and are inevitably responsible for global disruption of the cyber security consultancy industry.
The world is evolving in such a rapid pace that the human minds cannot keep up. Malicious actors working through the dark web have acknowledged this a while ago. Look at the documentaries that McAfee, amongst others, made on the matter.
When these malicious actors strike, they strike merciless and with a global impact. Wannacry and Petya are just two of the most recent examples. FedEX/TNT even had to issue a financial performance warning  due to the latter attack, and they have just been hit as “collateral damage”. After all, the initial target was a Ukrainian accountancy software platform.
In order to keep up, cyber consultancy as we know it has to change, fast. If we don’t adapt, adopt and embrace what malicious actors are doing with both hands, we are lost. We need to fuse Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence together in order to win.
We need machines – sentinels – to work with us, 24/7, at a pace that no human can keep up with. Reducing the window of opportunity to zero. Create automated patches to close a whole the moment it was breached.
Humans are exploitable
It’s impossible to deny: humans are weak. They have an emotional state and therefore are flawed by design. Humans are the most complex machine in the existence of mankind. Free will ensures that things are done that are not meant to be done. I’m sure no detailed examples are needed for this illustration, just open a history book at a random page. One human executes worse ideas than others.
Social engineers are masters in exploiting the human mind. Flooding the logic center of humans creates a phenomenon which is known as the amygdala hijack.  Unstoppable giggles are a positive example of such hijack. Malicious intent however can cause much more harm.
Overflowing a human with logical reasoning grinds the amygdala to a devastating halt. The result is that the emotion takes over from reason and humans can no longer think straight. A great example is trying to see if you can get a fellow employee to serve you coffee. “John, I see you are heading to the kitchen, will you get me a double espresso please?” It will be socially awkward to say no, so in most cases you will get what you requested. Alcohol is another good example what happens if the amygdala is no longer to behave the way it should…
Humans are built in such a way that we want to be liked and loved by others. This is human nature, humans try to please and avoid getting hurt. This vulnerability is very hard – if not impossible – to patch.
Humans are slow
Humans need to sleep. This means that you need at least 3 employees to cover a 24 hour time windows. In order to operate a security operating center that detects and responds to breaches you’d need a minimum of 10FTE, which equals 30 FT employees. The cost to create a breakeven point is massive.
When using CRS, we are able to replace many of the repetitive tasks which had to be executed before by employees. Machines don’t complain, they don’t need a 401K and they don’t have a union.
A well designed CRS can process massive amounts of data in a split second. Something which would take a human weeks or months. This allows defense to reduce the window of opportunity and react fast. In fact the CRS can isolate the threat and patch the vulnerability on the spot, avoiding the breach from happening again.
A new Industrial Revolution?
The industrial revolution showed the benefits of automation, in many cases of factory lines. It is about time that the consultancy industry embraces change and accepts that humans are replaceable in many cases by smart sentinels.
The biggest advantage of doing this is that it will free these resources up and allow them to do true intelligent work, and do things that no machine is capable of doing yet. Humans can build more machines, newer, bigger, better.
What’s next? What do we need to do?
Cyber Reasoning Systems are on the verge of disrupting the cyber industry.
If Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence continue to work separately they will never be able to reach their full potential.
We have to accept that humans are vulnerable by design. They should not be used to fight the cyber war. Let Cyber Reasoning Systems replace employees and allow humans to dream big dreams.
Industrial revolution proved it works. Embrace change. Welcome the future!