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IBM Releases Cloud-based Watson to Tackle Cybercrime

Monday, May 16, 2016


ARMONK, NY: IBM announces a new cloud-based version of Watson for Cyber Security, that aims to close the imminent gap between the number of security data analysts with the required cyber security skills to make accurate decisions regarding data breaches and the vast volume of security data that needs to be reviewed.

Watson is IBM’s cognitive technology trained on the language of security. According to IBM, the average organization sees over 200,000 pieces of security event data per day with enterprises spending $1.3 million a year dealing with false positives alone, wasting nearly 21,000 hours. Those numbers, combined with the more than 75,000 known software vulnerabilities and 10,000 security research papers published every year, make it virtually impossible for any security analyst to stay completely informed about all the possible security issues that could be encountered.

IBM’s Watson for Cyber Security will be the first technology to offer cognition of security data using Watson's ability to reason and learn from "unstructured data"; 80 percent of all data on the internet that traditional security tools cannot process, including blogs, articles, videos, reports, alerts, and other information. According to IBM’s analysis, only 8 percent of this unstructured data is leveraged by organizations. Watson for Cyber Security also uses natural language processing to understand the unclear and imprecise nature of human language in unstructured data.

IBM said that it plans to make use of its X-Force research library, a data repository that includes 20 years of security research, details on 8 million spam and phishing attacks and over 100,000 documented vulnerabilities. IBM also mentioned that it intends to begin beta production deployments of versions of the platform later this year.

IBM to Collaborate with Eight Universities

IBM aims to further scale the system by collaborating with eight universities in order to expand Watson for Cyber Security’s collection of security data. The universities include California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Pennsylvania State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; UMBC; the University of New Brunswick; the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo to train Watson with the world's best cybersecurity programs and introduce their students to cognitive computing. IBM plans to process around 15,000 security documents per month over the next phase of the training with the university partners, clients and IBM experts collaborating.

UMBC also announced a multi-year collaboration with IBM Research to create an Accelerated Cognitive Cybersecurity Laboratory (ACCL) in the College of Engineering and Information Technology. This will allow faculty and students from ACCL to apply cognitive computing to complex cybersecurity challenges, build upon their own prior research and work with IBM scientists.

“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,” says 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. By leveraging Watson’s ability to bring context to staggering amounts of unstructured data, impossible for people alone to process, we will bring new insights, recommendations, and knowledge to security professionals, bringing greater speed and precision to the most advanced cybersecurity analysts, and providing novice analysts with on-the-job training."

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