The Role of AI in Cybersecurity

Lucia Stanham - May 10, 2024

What is the role of AI in cybersecurity?

The use of AI has grown across all sectors, and cybersecurity is no exception. In modern cybersecurity, AI has become crucial for addressing the escalating speed, complexity, and frequency of cyber threats. Its role in identifying, mitigating, and responding to these threats is pivotal. This is especially the case as our digital world faces the rise of dark AI.

With dark AI, cyber threat actors are able to use AI to conduct faster, more sophisticated attacks. These AI-enhanced threats operate at machine speed and often go undetected, using legitimate tools and valid credentials to blend into normal enterprise activities. This new level of stealth and speed in cyberattacks makes traditional security measures less effective, as they struggle to detect and prevent these attacks. The need for advanced AI-driven detection and analysis has never been greater.

In this post, we’ll explore the critical role that AI has in cybersecurity. We’ll consider how cybersecurity tools integrate AI, the primary applications of AI, and the benefits of tools that integrate AI.

Understanding AI in cybersecurity

With each passing year, the role that AI plays in cybersecurity grows more prominent. It began with predictive AI, which analyzes historical data to forecast threats. With time, this role expanded to encompass user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), which focuses on user behavior patterns. Today, it has further expanded with the use of generative AI (GenAI) to create simulated attack scenarios for proactive defense.

Modern cybersecurity tools and strategies now depend on a blend of AI-related components:

  • Machine learning (ML): To recognize patterns and learn from past incidents
  • Natural language processing: To interpret human language, streamlining the analyst experience in task execution and democratizing security decision-making across teams
  • Data mining: To extract valuable patterns and insights from large datasets
  • Predictive analytics: To forecast potential threats based on historical data
  • Behavioral analytics: To monitor and analyze user behavior to detect anomalies
  • Automated decision-making: To enable quick responses to identified threats

Because AI can process large datasets quickly, detect subtle patterns, and adapt to new threats, it offers a powerful level of efficiency and continuous learning that complements human capabilities and can act as a force multiplier.

The human element in cybersecurity remains essential, especially for handling advanced attacks. However, AI surpasses human analysis in handling the volume and complexity of data in cybersecurity. Because of skills shortages in most organizations, human analysis simply cannot scale up as easily as AI. However, when security teams leverage AI to automate tedious, manual work, they are empowered to see, know, and do more.

Learn More

With every groundbreaking technology, there are new risks organizations must be aware of and should anticipate. Generative AI is no different. Learn five key questions to ask when evaluating generative AI application usage.Blog: Five Questions Security Teams Need to Ask to Use Generative AI Responsibly

Key applications of AI in cybersecurity

AI has become an indispensable tool in cybersecurity, addressing a range of challenges from threat detection to proactive defense. Let’s consider its key applications in more detail.

Threat detection

AI is adept at pattern recognition and anomaly detection, which is why it excels in identifying potential threats. With its ability to analyze vast datasets, AI can uncover subtle signs of cyber threats, such as unusual network activity or suspicious user behavior. Today’s cyber threats have become more sophisticated, making them nearly impossible to detect with traditional methods or human analysis alone. Pattern analysis can be especially valuable when conducted over cross-domain data, made possible by having centralized and unified security telemetry in a single security platform.

Response and mitigation

Threats aren’t always detected during business hours, and a human-mediated threat response may be slow, error-prone, and unreliable. On the other hand, AI-mediated threat response can lead to swift and effective action. Automated decision-making tools can instantly react to identified risks, significantly reducing response time and helping teams scale and accelerate response efforts. In addition, the ability of AI to learn from past incidents improves the accuracy of its response over time, making it adaptable to emerging tradecraft.

Vulnerability management

Vulnerability management is essential for a proactive defense. AI-native tools can provide continuous monitoring and automated scanning for security weaknesses in your system. When vulnerabilities are detected, these tools can offer remediation guidance, such as recommendations for modifying configurations or patch management based on AI-powered severity assessments. Because AI enables organizations to leverage always-on vigilance, it helps protect your systems against known threats and potential future vulnerabilities.

AI-assisted threat hunting

AI enhances the work of human analysts in threat hunting, combining the strengths of human intuition with the data processing capabilities of AI. AI can also support managed detection and response (MDR), providing threat intelligence and analytics so that human analysts can act on the results. MDR provides threat prioritization, hunting, investigation, response, and remediation — all of which depend in part on the analytics capabilities of AI.

Streamlined analyst experience

GenAI is transforming the experience of the security analyst by allowing natural language queries and simplifying complex data analysis. This streamlines the workflow, enabling analysts to focus on more strategic tasks and make informed decisions faster than ever.

Additionally, AI is making it possible for cybersecurity novices to become power users. For example, CrowdStrike® Charlotte AI™ serves as an expert cybersecurity assistant, providing contextual information about a user’s environment and surfacing information from their CrowdStrike Falcon® platform modules to enable faster, more accurate decision-making.

These key applications of AI in cybersecurity highlight its versatility and effectiveness in tackling diverse challenges. By augmenting human expertise with advanced technology, AI is fueling a new era of cyber defense.

The benefits of using AI in cybersecurity

Integrating AI into cybersecurity offers the following benefits:

  • Enhanced detection capabilities: AI improves the fidelity and speed of threat detection, identifying potential risks and advanced threats before they escalate.
  • Scalability: AI can effectively handle and analyze large volumes of data, ensuring comprehensive monitoring as organizations grow.
  • Adaptability to new threats: AI continuously learns from new data, so it can evolve to effectively counteract emerging cyber threats.
  • Cybersecurity democratization: AI makes advanced security tools accessible, providing smaller organizations with expert-level protection.
  • AI-assisted collaboration: AI works well in collaboration with human analysts, leading to more effective threat identification and resolution.

Learn More

CrowdStrike has always been an industry leader in the usage of AI and ML in cybersecurity to solve customer needs. Learn about advances in CrowdStrike AI used to predict adversary behavior and indicators of attack.Blog: CrowdStrike Advances the Use of AI to Predict Adversary Behavior and Significantly Improve Protection

The Falcon platform: your AI-native cybersecurity solution

The integration of AI into modern cybersecurity tooling marks a pivotal shift in how we approach digital defense. AI significantly enhances threat detection, can adapt to new threats, and scales easily as an organization’s digital footprint grows. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, the role of AI in predicting, detecting, and responding quickly to these threats becomes increasingly critical.

CrowdStrike has been at the forefront of AI-native cybersecurity. The Falcon platform utilizes AI-powered behavioral analytics and indicators of attack (IOAs) to stay ahead of adversaries. By offering expert-level protection and insights, tools like Charlotte AI are transforming how organizations approach their cybersecurity strategy.

As you continue to navigate today’s challenging threat landscape, embracing AI in your cybersecurity strategy and tooling isn’t just advantageous — it’s imperative. For more information about the CrowdStrike Falcon platform, sign up to try it for free or contact us today.


Lucia Stanham is a product marketing manager at CrowdStrike with a focus on endpoint protection (EDR/XDR) and AI in cybersecurity. She has been at CrowdStrike since June 2022.