Artificial Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence

December 2021

Intelligence collection is as old and established in history as governments are:  Knowing your enemies’ and opponents’ plans and intentions is central to protecting national security.  For any new techniques and methodologies that are developed for intelligence collection, there is the certainty that they will also be used to conduct espionage by adversaries.  This is the essence of Counter-Intelligence:  To protect national security secrets, including intelligence sources and methods, sensitive technologies, and Intellectual Property, from hostile governments and criminals.

The continuous, sophisticated improvements in cyber hacking techniques makes the protection of classified and sensitive information increasingly challenging.  The theft of sensitive secrets at the core of military and economic security is a globally recognized threat to the well-being and national security of democracies.  This has been clear in the case of ransomware attacks by hackers extorting money from private companies, hospitals, and governments. Past cyber attacks on a massive scale, as well as indications of extensive preparations and capabilities by hostile foreign intelligence services to attack vital infrastructure and the Internet of Things, can cause debilitating disruptions in supply chains, power and utilities, communications, and emergency services. The relative affordability, anonymity, safety, and accessibility of these forms of attacks means that smaller, weaker forces have the potential to do serious harm to more powerful countries – cyber attacks are a new and powerful “asymmetric warfare” capability.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being successfully deployed to counter this rapidly developing and very serious new threat phenomenon.  Given the complex, technically advanced, and simultaneous attacks that cyber intrusions for espionage or ransomware extortion depend on, only tailored AI can effectively detect, disrupt, and counter such attacks on a wide and continuous scale.  AI has been developed and is being used with high impact in innovative approaches to secure critical data and immediately detect and identify cyber security breaches and vulnerabilities.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used around the globe to gather, process, analyze, and present massive amounts of data in manageable, highly actionable ways.  It is applied in virtually every field and industry in which data provides key insights for decision-makers.  AI has the potential to improve speed, capacity, and accuracy exponentially beyond traditional methods. OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), HUMINT (Human Source Intelligence), GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence), SIGINT (Signals Intelligence), and the other “INTs” can be powerfully augmented by AI and machine learning, speeding and streamlining processes for faster and more accurate results.

Similarly, AI can be used to protect vital information by running algorithms that detect potential cyber vulnerabilities, identify breaches almost immediately, proactively detect potential threats and their targets, and assist Counter-Intelligence professionals in all phases of threat detection and disruption.

The AI-driven assessment of threats can also be effectively applied to all phases of Due Diligence for personnel in agencies and organizations, for detecting and mitigating threats. As the amount of sensitive data grows each day, it is likely that security professionals will increasingly depend on AI to manage and protect the information that drives the world forward.

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