IBM Watson tries its hands on cybersecurity

After Jeopardy, complex problem solving, and healthcare industry, IBM Watson is jumping the cybersecurity bandwagon with the intention of carrying out extensive research that will advance the field of cognitive security.

As we reported yesterday, IBM is betting big on cognitive cybersecurity and in the grand scheme of things, the company is going to train Watson in the field of cyber security. As per the plan, IBM has already started training Watson about the nuances of security research findings and discovering patterns and evidence of hidden cyber attacks and threats that could otherwise be missed.

IBM is not alone in this and is joining hands with multiple organizations across the US. Through the collaboration, IBM is moving ahead with its pioneering cognitive security project that will primarily address the looming cybersecurity skills gap.

IBM intends to improve security analysts’ capabilities using cognitive systems that automate the connections between data, emerging threats and remediation strategies. Further, through the research, the company intends to begin beta production deployments that take advantage of IBM Watson for Cyber Security later this year.

Central to it all will be IBM’s world-renowned X-Force research library that comprises among many things more than data and knowledge about 20 years of security research, details on 8 million spam and phishing attacks and over 100,000 documented vulnerabilities.

How will Watson address looming security skills Gap

With increased instances of data and information sharing and dimming boundaries because of cloud computing, organizations around the world are seeing an increase in the number of security events. IBM says that an average organization will see over 200,000 pieces of security event data per day and millions of dollars are being spent in dealing with false positives alone. The problem gets compounded with more and more vulnerabilities being reported.

Designed on the IBM Cloud, Watson for Cyber Security will be the first technology to offer cognition of security data at scale using Watson’s ability to reason and learn from “unstructured data” – 80 percent of all data on the internet that traditional security tools cannot process, including blogs, articles, videos, reports, alerts, and other information. In fact, IBM analysis found that the average organization leverages only 8 percent of this unstructured data. Watson for Cyber Security also uses natural language processing to understand the vague and imprecise nature of human language in unstructured data.

As a result, Watson for Cyber Security is designed to provide insights into emerging threats, as well as recommendations on how to stop them, increasing the speed and capabilities of security professionals. IBM will also incorporate other Watson capabilities including the system’s data mining techniques for outlier detection, graphical presentation tools and techniques for finding connections between related data points in different documents. For example, Watson can find data on an emerging form of malware in an online security bulletin and data from a security analyst’s blog on an emerging remediation strategy.

“Even if the industry was able to fill the estimated 1.5 million open cyber security jobs by 2020, we’d still have a skills crisis in security,” said Marc van Zadelhoff, General Manager, IBM Security. “The volume and velocity of data in security is one of our greatest challenges in dealing with cybercrime. By leveraging Watson’s ability to bring context to staggering amounts of unstructured data, impossible for people alone to process, we will bring new insights, recommendations, and knowledge to security professionals, bringing greater speed and precision to the most advanced cybersecurity analysts, and providing novice analysts with on-the-job training.”