IBM Watson tapped for healthcare cybercrime watch


The Watson for Cyber Security beta program launched this week to help prevent crime in finance, healthcare, and other sectors. About 40 companies will adopt the program into their security systems.

The initial goal of Watson will be to learn how to identify security events and determine whether they are associated with malware and suspicious user behavior. A story from WIRED magazine notes that the beta Watson only understands the fundamentals of security. It still needs to understand the verbiage of various use cases.

For perspective in cognitive security, Lisa Feldman, assistant U.S. attorney for the cybersecurity unit at the Department of Justice, spoke about healthcare security during OCTANE’s Medical Device investor Forum in October. She noted that cyber attacks would eclipse terrorism in the near future and said that AI is a compelling option for security. She also warned that companies should not consider the use of cognitive security as a permanent cure. “The moment you have AI in security, hackers will start to use it as well.” For Feldman, programs such as Watson are good tools to explore, but they can never replace vigilance and training.

Understanding this concept, Watson is not intended to replace people. It will provide security analysts with reports and recommendations. The goal is to improve the speed and comprehensiveness of a security response. IBM research shows that security teams sift through an average of 200,000 potentially significant events per day. With the help of a computer, those events are automatically prioritized and reveal how they fit into the broader security climate, which saves time. It will also result in fewer false positives, because AI doesn’t repeat mistakes.

As Feldman explained, healthcare companies that look into this tool may find it valuable as a product differentiator as well as a method to keep ahead on the security game.

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