The Untapped Potential of Big Data in Cyber Security

The sheer size and scale of Big Data has meant that it has sometimes been regarded as something of an Achilles’ heel with regards to cyber security.

Not only is it incredibly demanding to adequately shield a substantial amount of data from attacks around the clock, but the potential rewards of infiltrating such a data set make them all the more attractive a target to a potential hacker. Therefore, the difficulty of protecting the data appears to rise almost in proportion to the volume of attacks it is subject to.

However, this Achilles’ heel can also form the very poison arrow with which cyber criminals can be vanquished. With such a vast amount of information to hand, it can seem that searching for malicious threats is like laying your hands upon a needle in the biggest of haystacks – but what if the haystack itself had needle-detecting capabilities? What if the haystack could perceive a needle on its approach and prevent it from infiltrating the haystack in the first place? By unleashing the capabilities of modern machine learning techniques on Big Data sets, overlaid with crucial human analysis and insight, companies can actually use this weakness as a strength.

Finding The Dots And Joining Them

Traditionally, Big Data has been viewed as a way to isolate anomalies in large volumes of information, which can serve to flag potential threats to the overall security framework of a company. However, another potential boon of Big Data which has flown under the radar until now is the way in which algorithms can be employed to identify relationships between disparate pieces of data which, on the surface of things, appear to be entirely disconnected. This additional benefit can be instrumental in not only creating a digital signature of data breaches, malware, phishing scams and the suchlike, but then using that signature to anticipate future attacks.

For example, it’s perfectly normal for any small- or medium-sized business to receive thousands of unsolicited emails on a daily basis. Working in isolation, a single business might pinpoint a malicious missive perhaps once a week – but on its own, this information is far less useful than when pooled with other resources. The use of Big Data can assimilate a vast amount of information from a wide variety of sources and create a digital profile of recurrent characteristics in suspected attacks.

These algorithms can then go one further by recognising the links between ostensibly discrete attacks (such as time of day received, sender source, language used or file size attached) and establishing a pattern not immediately obvious to the human eye. Of course, a human input is necessary to minimise the occurrence of false positives and implement actionable insights, but the basis of the machine-fed information can be used to defend against a similar assault being launched in the future.

Big Data To Play An Even Bigger Role In The Future

The cyber security challenges facing companies both big and small are evolving and expanding on a daily basis. With an ever-larger data set to safeguard, an ever-increasing number of hackers looking to access that information and ever-more sophisticated methods being employed to do so, staying one step ahead of the game can seem an almost insurmountable obstacle. That’s especially true when all it takes for an attacker to successfully infiltrate the database is one lucky blow, while cyber security teams must work around the clock to field any and all efforts to break down those defences.

Going forwards, it’s inevitable that machine learning, AI and Big Data will all play increasingly important roles in fortifying the cyber ramparts and repelling attacks against the integrity of your company’s sensitive information. At Quorum Cyber, we offer a range of services designed to assess your existing security infrastructure, identify any gaps in its armour and implement a series of measures to minimise the risk of threat in the future. Although it’s impossible to absolutely guarantee safety from cyber-crime, harnessing the immense power of Big Data can help to convert its weakest link into its strongest armour. Reinforce your own defences today.

You can find out more about how we use data in our services in THIS case study.