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Nowadays, robust security practices that involve a layered approach are the backbone of any company’s defense strategy. The most effective approach features multiple tools and policies to create an impenetrable barrier around your data and networks.

Among the critical layers of this security strategy are tools like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), which until recently had limitations. But with AI now in the mix, there’s plenty of change underway. 

Today, we delve into how IDS tools have evolved and how AI is primed to bolster their capabilities even further.

What are Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)?

Back in 2019, a study showed that every 11 seconds, a new business was hit by ransomware. Meanwhile, the data shows that the global cost of cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion/year by 2025.

Cyberattacks aren’t just possible; they’re a constant threat, always lurking in the shadows. So, the only sensible move is to upgrade your defense systems with specialized tools like IDS (among others).

The role of an Intrusion Detection System, or IDS for short, is to ensure that your business’s network remains safe amidst all this chaos and digital aggression. These tools work like airport security—checking everyone and everything trying to access your network for known threats or suspicious activities.

Most tools only act as monitors. This means they can’t do anything about the activity they consider suspicious except report it. However, more modern tools can also take action by blocking the traffic they find iffy.

What Types of Intrusion do IDS Tools Detect?

The most common types of intrusions detected by IDS tools are:

  • Malware Infections – IDS tools detect malicious software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to systems.
  • Unauthorized Access – These tools identify attempts by unauthorized users to access secure areas of a network.
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks IDS can recognize overwhelming traffic floods intended to incapacitate a network or service. However, they won’t be able to stop one by themselves.
  • Policy Violations – Actions that go against established security policies, such as inappropriate usage or unauthorized data transmission.
  • Scanning and Probing Activities – These are early signs of an attacker seeking vulnerabilities within the system to exploit.
  • Phishing Attempts – IDS can flag potential phishing attacks that try to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers.

Types of IDS Tools

Depending on how much they can detect and what they can do about it, current intrusion detection tools are classified into signature-based, anomaly-based, and heuristic-based. 

Signature-based systems operate by comparing network traffic against a database of known threat signatures. When incoming data matches a signature in the database, it triggers an alert for potential security threats.

Anomaly-based detection systems are powered by AI and work by first establishing what is ‘normal’ for your network activity. Aberrations from this baseline promptly put the system on high alert.

Lastly, heuristic-based detectors use algorithmic rule sets to simulate expert problem-solving. Drawing on established behavioral patterns, they attempt to anticipate how novel threats might manifest.

Some systems interlace various methods, creating hybrid solutions that leverage both the tried-and-tested accuracy of signature detection and the innovative intelligence of anomaly recognition. 

The offer is diverse, so it should be quite easy to find the right intrusion detection tool that fits your company’s needs and budget.

The Role of AI in IDS Improvement

While AI-powered IDS tools exist already, integrating emerging technologies, particularly machine learning and deep learning, can make a huge difference by enabling systems to learn and evolve from the data they analyze. 

Here’s what you may expect from your IDS in the near future:

  • Detection of unknown anomalies – AI can establish a baseline of normal network behavior and spot deviations that may indicate a threat, even if there’s no known signature.
  • Predictive threat intelligence – By analyzing trends and patterns over time, AI can utilize predictive analytics to predict potential vulnerabilities or emerging threats.
  • Adaptive learning – As cyber threats evolve, so too can the AI in an IDS through continuous learning from new data without requiring frequent manual updates.
  • Reduced false positives – Machine learning algorithms refine detection capabilities over time, leading to fewer false alerts and prioritization of real threats.
  • Automated response – In certain cases, AI-enabled systems could autonomously react to identified threats with pre-determined countermeasures, reducing response times.
  • Contextual understanding – Deep learning models analyze broader contexts of activities across networks for more sophisticated insights into potential security events.

With these features in place, IDS solutions may finally be able to catch up with cyber threats whose type and modus operandi evolve and change every year.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a wide range of IDS tools to choose from, with or without AI enhancements. Regardless of which one you select, a properly set IDS can be an invaluable asset for your business’s safety. 

So, embrace the robust capabilities of traditional IDS solutions now, and keep an eye on AI’s promising horizon to future-proof your security framework.