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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new report suggest machine learning could help in the fight against cyberattacks, but cautions that AI is far from a panacea.

Why it matters: Attacks, including ransomware, have been on the rise across a variety of industries and institutions.

Several factors have led to the increase in attacks, including the digitization of more of the economy, the growing role of cyber attacks as part of international politics and a lack of security experts, according to the report from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

"Machine learning can help defenders more accurately detect and triage potential attacks," CSET said in its report. "However, in many cases these technologies are elaborations on long-standing methods — not fundamentally new approaches —that bring new attack surfaces of their own."

Between the lines: Cybersecurity has been and remains an arms race. It's hard to significantly change the game, when each side can and does utilize the latest advances in technology to aid their effort.

Yes, but: The report suggests that, at a minimum, the use of machine learning could make the best defenses more widely available.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated Jun 10, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on cybersecurity

On Thursday, June 10, Axios technology policy reporter Ashley Gold discussed the state of cybersecurity and the impact of software supply chains in preventing security breaches, featuring Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Thistle Technologies founder & CEO Window Snyder.

Sen. Warner discussed cybersecurity policy and the need for swift action from Congress.

  • On what policymakers need to do about cybersecurity: "Congress needs to act...We are working on a bill that would require mandatory reporting if you are a critical infrastructure company or a federal government contractor or the government itself...What we have right now is simply voluntary reporting."
  • On how to address cyber threats: "We need to up our game. We need to do better on defense. But defense alone will not solve this problem. We're going to need offensive capabilities. And that starts at least with making sure the government knows what's going on so we can bring those capabilities to bear."

Window Snyder unpacked trends in cybersecurity attacks as well as why technologies that depend on third-party components leave themselves more vulnerable.

  • On the increase in ransomware attacks: "I think there is an increase in these kinds of attacks with ransomware. There is a business model that's been established, it's been demonstrated successful for those criminals...The other end of it is that it feels more impactful to folks who are not deeply embedded in the industry because it's actually impacting things that consumers can feel."
  • How third-party technologies make security more complicated: "[Companies] are realizing that the technology products that they produce are not just built of components that they control, but are also incorporating third-party technologies that increase the complexity of these systems...The product is assuming all the security risks of risk of all of the components that it incorporates."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond hosted a View from the Top Segment with Google vice president of security Royal Hansen who discussed how businesses can make their software supply chains more secure.

  • "You are incredibly dependent in every part of your life on software. And as the number of lines of code grows you only increase your dependence and the risk...It's going to take up businesses, not only the efforts to write their software more securely but to understand all of their dependencies and the vendors they use."

Thank you Google for sponsoring this event.

Mike Allen, author of AM
17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's "Friendscape" crisis

New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past, and are less likely to have a best friend.

  • Why it matters: At a time of excruciating mental and societal stress, this is another sign we're breaking apart. And the friendship drought could get worse with more people working remotely or hybrid-ly.

Pelosi says it's her "plan" to appoint GOP Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that it is her "plan" to appoint Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to the House select committee investigating the deadly Jan 6. Capitol riots.

Why it matters: Pelosi's statement to ABC's "This Week" comes after she rejected two of the five Republican appointments offered by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).