Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the modern cyber security landscape. It is enhancing the capabilities of bad actors to perform more sophisticated attacks while empowering cyber security professionals to elevate their defenses. The question everyone wants to know is, “Will AI replace cyber security jobs in the future?”
AI has been at the heart of many new debates in cyber security. Is it safe? Is it helping the good guys or the bad guys? Is it going to change how we do cyber security? These are all important questions to consider. However, if you’re working in cyber security or looking to break into the industry, you want to know if AI will affect your job.
This article looks at what modern AI is, how it relates to the current cyber security job market, and how it could affect your future cyber career. It finishes with actionable advice that will help you best prepare for the world of tomorrow.
Let’s jump in and discover the evolving role of AI in cyber security!
What Is Modern AI?
Before exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) affects cyber security, let’s first look at modern AI and its advantages.
Modern AI refers to the development of computer systems that are capable of performing tasks that would usually require a human expertise or intelligence to perform. To do this, algorithms are created that train Large Language Models (LLMs) using large datasets (big data) so that they can be used to make accurate decisions when prompted.
The LLMs consume information and create artificial neural networks to link related topics. This repeated consumption of data and training refines the model and leads to the AI algorithm becoming capable of making an “intelligent” decision based on user input. This process is known as machine learning (or deep learning) and has been used for image recognition, natural language processing, and reinforcement learning in areas like robotics and video games.
In recent years, AI and LLMs have reached the point where they can be integrated with complex systems to automate some data analysis tasks. This was made popular by ChatGPT, but there has been an influx of AI-powered tools that have hit the market, from AI image generation tools like midjourney to domain-specific tools such as Github Copilot. The current state of AI is impressive, but it has limitations.
Advantages AI Offers:
- Provides access to a vast knowledge base immediately.
- It is more efficient and intuitive to use than regular search engines.
- Can augment the workflow of professionals to increase their efficiency and throughput.
- Reliable copilot for task execution.
- Automates the protection of systems.
Current Limitations of AI:
- Lacks human judgment and intuition.
- Relies on a high quantity of quality data to train and avoid bias.
- Needs humans to validate, enhance, and train with domain-specific knowledge.
- Concerns over the security and privacy of data uploaded to AI systems.
Cyber Security Job Market and Career Gap
Now that you know a bit about AI and its advantages to the modern workplace, let’s look at the current cyber security job market to understand how AI may affect your career.
There is currently a high demand for skilled cyber professionals in the job market. It is expected that by 2025 there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs due to a lack of skilled professionals and a growing need to secure more and more systems. This demand is spurred on by the rise of cybercrime, estimated to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion by 2025, and the increase in businesses moving their operations online and remote, leading to more potential victims.
This backlog of unfilled jobs has been caused by a talent shortage in cyber security. There is a skill gap between entry-level candidates and the open positions that must be filled. As such, jobs are left unfilled while, at the same time, it is very difficult to find an entry-level position without having prior experience.
AI has the potential to fill this skills gap by augmenting some of the work a cyber security professional has to perform and by enhancing their current capabilities. This will likely lead to fewer traditional entry-level positions while creating new job opportunities around developing, implementing, and maintaining AI.
To learn more about potential careers in cyber security, try reading Top 10 Careers in Cyber Security (and Which Is Right for You?), or if you want to become an ethical hacker, read Is Ethical Hacking a Good Career Choice?
Evolving Role of AI in Cyber Security
So what role does AI play in relation to cyber security? Well, both attackers and defenders are using AI right now to perform sophisticated attacks against systems and to augment the analysis of cyber incidents. Let’s explore how AI is currently used for good and bad in the cyber security industry.
AI for Good
AI has been empowering security teams as a guardian to protect systems from advanced cyber threats by leveraging the power of rapid big data analysis for threat detection. It is also being used as a reliable co-pilot for task execution to increase the efficiency of professionals.
A notable example of this is Microsoft Security Copilot, which security teams have used as an all-in-one virtual assistant that uses the power of AI to augment workflows. It is an AI-powered tool that has been created for SOC analysts to streamline investigations, improve the quality of detections by reducing false positives, and provide support for security operations.
Using Microsot Security Copilot During a Cyber Security Incident
AI has also been integrated with Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platforms like CrowdStrike Falcon, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platforms like IBM’s QRadar Advisor with Watson, and malware analysis tools like Mandiant’s StringSifter.
Cyber security domains AI-powered tools are being used in:
- Incident Response
- Threat Intelligence and Threat Hunting
- Compliance Monitoring
- Vulnerability Management and Third Party Risk Management
- Threat Detection and Detection Engineering
- Malware Analysis and Reverse Engineering
- Open Source Intelliengece (OSINT)
- User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
AI for Bad
That said, AI is not just a tool for good. Malicious actors and cybercriminals have been using AI to enhance their capabilities, launch more sophisticated attacks, and develop advanced evasion techniques to bypass defenses and exploit vulnerabilities.
An example of this is phishing attacks, which are the most common form of cyber crime and are on the rise. Attackers are using ChatGPT and other natural language processing tools to craft emails and text messages that trick victims into revealing sensitive information or providing them access to corporate systems. AI can make these attacks more convincing through generative content creation that attackers can use to manipulate human emotions.
Using ChatGPT to Create a Malicious Brute Forcing Tool
Attackers have even used AI to mimic the voices of loved ones and demand ransom money from unsuspecting victims. As AI becomes more advanced, these social engineering attacks will increase sophistication, and deep fakes will become more common and harder to defend against.
Collaboration or Displacement?
The current state of AI in cyber security is a game changer. It is helping both attackers and defenders and will revolutionize how we perform cyber security as it grows in sophistication. The question is will AI collaborate with or displace humans in the future? Here are some predictions.
AI Will Improve Efficiency
AI is a transformative technology that will improve the speed at which cyber professionals can perform tasks. It will help you triage and respond to emerging threats faster and more effectively using the insights gleaned from big data analysis. This will reduce the manpower required to perform certain business functions and cut company costs while increasing productivity.
AI Will Be Used as a Tool by Attackers
AI is just a tool. It can be used to defend systems, but it can also be used to attack systems. Cybercriminals and malicious actors will use AI to perform more sophisticated, large-scale attacks against organizations. High-profile attackers will use AI to perform attacks that would not have been possible for human operators alone. Less-skilled attackers will use AI to enhance their capabilities and target more mature organizations.
AI Will Still Need Human Interaction
AI is still very much in active development. It has not reached the point where it can fully mimic the intelligence of a human being, nor our creativity, and will still require some level of human expertise and interaction for the foreseeable future. This means cyber professionals will need to learn new skills in areas such as machine learning, data analysis, and AI-driven security solutions to stay ahead as the demand for AI increases.
AI Will Lead to New Types of Cyber Security Jobs
AI is likely to lessen the number of entry-level jobs and narrow the skill gap that currently exists in the cyber security industry. However, it will require humans to develop, train, implement, maintain, and secure AI. This will lead to new types of cyber security jobs, such as AI security analysts or machine learning security engineers, as AI becomes more prevalent in cyber security.
Preparing for the Future
With the inevitable collaboration between AI and cyber security, how is it best to prepare for this new and exciting future? Let’s look at some actionable steps you can make right now.
Embrace AI and Look for Opportunities to Use It
AI is here to stay. It offers huge advantages for you as a cyber security professional, and you should try to make the most of these advantages at every opportunity you get so you can stay ahead of the game. This could be using AI to help you learn new cyber security concepts, perform research, or even create a new cyber security tool. You can then discuss using AI during a job interview to impress future employers!
Stay Up to Date on the Latest AI Trends and Technologies
AI is evolving fast. New LLMs and AI systems are being developed and refined every day. Meanwhile, companies are trying to integrate AI with their existing products or create new ones. To prepare for the future, you need to stay updated with the latest AI trends and technologies so you know how AI is being used and where it is likely going.
This will allow you to prepare for future job opportunities, learn new and exciting AI tools that will empower you in your day-to-day work, and develop the skills necessary to tackle the future challenges AI will pose. One way to keep updated with the latest AI trends and technologies is by following the StationX blog, where industry professionals give insights and guidance on all things cyber.
Expand Your Skillset
To have a long and fulfilling cyber security career, you must always try to expand your skill set. Cyber security is a demanding industry that rapidly evolves to keep up with new trends and technologies. This means you must become a lifelong learner and continuously expand your skillset. When it comes to AI, this is no exception. You should master the skills needed to develop, implement, and maintain AI-powered tools to best prepare for future job opportunities.
To learn about the skills required to become a cyber security professional, give Top Cyber Security Skills You Need for an Exciting Career a read.
AI is revolutionizing cyber security. It makes defenders more efficient at tackling threats while enabling attackers to carry out more sophisticated, large-scale cyber attacks. This transformative technology is changing the face of cyber security and amplifying the demand for skilled security professionals to develop, implement, and maintain AI-powered tools.
You need to learn to embrace the challenges AI will pose on security and look for opportunities to integrate AI into your daily work. To stay ahead of AI, you must keep pace with its rapid evolution and adoptions within the cyber world.
You can keep up-to-date by following StationX blog for cutting-edge insights and knowledge or by signing up for the StationX Accelerator Program. Our program teaches you the skills needed for your ideal cyber security career, and connects you with mentors, our career toolkit, and a custom study roadmap to get you there faster.
If you enjoyed this content and want to learn more about AI and cyber security, try one of the courses below: