Cyberwar and big data: gains in technology could alter balance of playing field

A US company, Recorded Future, claims it can predict 83 per cent of cyber exploits. The prospect of this kind of big data technology could begin to alter the balance of power between hackers and defenders.

Recorded Future says it takes exploit data and puts it into a mathematical model that can be used with machine learning algorithms to predict the type of upcoming attacks. “There is still room for a lot of improvement,” the US-based company said.

Given the ongoing crisis in cyber defense, you can assume there will be resources put into improvements, not only with Recorded Future and its technology – but all researchers in this areas. That trend begs the question of whether once these techniques are mastered, will the balance of power in the cyber domain be tilted back, ever so slightly, towards defenders?

As it stands, aggressors have the hands-down advantage in cyber aggression. Hackers enjoy anonymity and surprise. They try out new viruses which are usually only learned about after they are deployed – sometimes years afterward, which again means someone’s system has to be attacked.

But a future of significantly hardened cyber targets could change that. Being able to effectively secure targets would be a big breakthrough and could affect US-China relations in this dimension.