More Than 90 Percent of Cybersecurity Professionals Concerned About Cybercriminals Using AI in Attacks

Cybersecurity Experts Say AI Critical to Protect Digital Assets in the Future

BROOMFIELD - December 14, 2017

Webroot, the Smarter Cybersecurity® company, revealed the results of a new global survey, “Game Changers: AI and Machine Learning in Cybersecurity.” The results reveal that 95 percent of IT security professionals say machine learning is a critical component in a cybersecurity strategy.

Conducted in conjunction with Wakefield Research, the study also demonstrates the attitudes among cybersecurity professionals toward security spending priorities, as well as the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in their information security strategy and cyber defense. The survey is part of the company’s Quarterly Threat Trends newsletter focusing on security trends and predictions for 2018.

Explore the Results: Game Changers: AI and Machine Learning in Cybersecurity

Key Findings:

  • The U.S. is an early adopter of AI for cybersecurity and 87 percent of U.S. cybersecurity professionals report their organizations are currently using AI as part of their cybersecurity strategy.
  • Three quarters of cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. believe, within the next three years, their company will not be able to safeguard digital assets without AI.
  • Overall, 99 percent of U.S. cybersecurity professionals believe AI overall could improve their organization’s cybersecurity. Drilling down, respondents detailed using AI for time-critical threat detection tasks, such as identifying threats that would have otherwise been missed and reducing false positive rates.
  • The majority of cybersecurity professionals (91 percent) are concerned about hackers using AI against companies in cyberattacks.
  • AI will show up in future budgets – 97 percent of cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. report their organization has plans to increase budget for AI and machine learning tools or solutions within the next three years.

Key Quote:

Hal Lonas, Chief Technology Officer, Webroot

“There is no doubt about AI being the future of security as the sheer volume of threats is becoming very difficult to track by humans alone. We stress to organizations the importance of a contextual view of threats that also incorporates visibility and data points from networks, endpoints, and human threat researchers to derive the most accurate cyber risk assessment. As the results reveal, AI is here to stay and it will have a large impact on security strategies moving forward.” 

Tips for Organizations to incorporate AI / Machine learning technologies:

  • Hire and develop AI/machine learning experts – These technologies cannot replace a human. The use of machines and algorithms requires human training and oversight. The machines must be taught what is bad, what is good, and when to flag unknown threats to humans.
  • Think outside the box – Cybercriminals are beginning to use AI and machine learning to develop even more advanced threats. As they continue to innovate, it takes more creativity to stay ahead of them. Let the machines solve the simpler problems, so human experts have more time to think of new ways to solve problems and identify threats.
  • Learn from your mistakes – Organizations need to accept that, at some point, their systems will be compromised. Rather than viewing this as a net-negative, organizations can learn from breaches by identifying and analyzing normal and abnormal network behavior across their entire business, thereby gaining a greater understanding of threats and how to respond.
  • Automate – Deploy advanced AI and machine learning-based technologies to automate policy enforcement, block malicious files and inbound malicious IPs, and protect against sophisticated phishing attacks and malicious websites. Machine learning won’t replace human intelligence, but can be used to automate and speed up security operations and repetitive tasks.

Additional Resources:

Report Methodology:

Commissioned by Webroot in conjunction with Wakefield Research, the survey was conducted among 400 cybersecurity professionals at companies with 100 or more employees in the U.S. (200 respondents) and Japan (200 respondents), between October 30 and November 6, 2017.

About Webroot

Webroot was the first to harness the cloud and artificial intelligence to protect businesses and individuals against cyber threats. We provide the number one security solution for managed service providers and small businesses, who rely on Webroot for endpoint protection, network protection, and security awareness training. Webroot BrightCloud® Threat Intelligence Services are used by market leading companies like Cisco, F5 Networks, Citrix, Aruba, Palo Alto Networks, A10 Networks, and more. Leveraging the power of machine learning to protect millions of businesses and individuals, Webroot secures the connected world. Headquartered in Colorado, Webroot operates globally across North America, Europe, and Asia. Discover Smarter Cybersecurity® solutions at

About Us

Webroot delivers next-generation endpoint security and threat intelligence services to protect businesses and individuals around the globe. Our smarter approach harnesses the power of cloud-based collective threat intelligence derived from millions of real-world devices to stop threats in real time and help secure the connected world.