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May 10, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:46am

IBM Watson fights cyber criminals with machine learning and analytics

News: Analytics programme turns cyber security tool as IBM launches research project.

By Alexander Sword

IBM Security has launched a research project that will train its machine-learning and analytics tool Watson to become a powerful cyber security tool.

The project, called Watson for Cyber Security, has been fed data for the last year to train it in the language of security.

Now, a partnership with 8 universities in the US and Canada will aim to expand the quantity of security data in the system. IBM’s world-renowned X-Force research library will form part of the material fed to Watson for Cyber Security.

Beta production deployments that take advantage of IBM Watson for Cyber Security will launch later this year.

The universities involved include California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Pennsylvania State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); the University of New Brunswick; the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo.

The aim of the tool is to address the cyber security skills gap, improving the capabilities of security analysts using cognitive systems that automate the connections between data, emerging threats and remediation strategies.

The tool will cover 80 percent of all data on the internet that traditional security tools cannot process, including blogs, articles, videos, reports, alerts, and other information.

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This could include finding data on new malware from an online security bulletin or a security analyst’s blog.

"Even if the industry was able to fill the estimated 1.5 million open cyber security jobs by 2020, we’d still have a skills crisis in security," said Marc van Zadelhoff, General Manager, IBM Security.

"The volume and velocity of data in security is one of our greatest challenges in dealing with cybercrime."

He said that the company would "leverag[e] Watson’s ability to bring context to staggering amounts of unstructured data, impossible for people alone to process."

UMBC, one of the universities, also announced a multi-year collaboration with IBM Research to create an Accelerated Cognitive Cybersecurity Laboratory in the College of Engineering and Information Technology.

Academics and students will apply cognitive computing to build on their own research, as well as collaborate with IBM scientists and use IBM’s advanced computing systems to build new cyber security solutions.

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