As cyberattacks continue to be waged on businesses and institutions across the world, the need for tools and resources to combat those attacks is growing rapidly. Cybersecurity experts at Indiana University say artificial intelligence is one means of fighting back. AI’s ability to automatically sift through large quantities of data, including malware, log files and the Dark Web, and detect patterns missed by human analysis makes it invaluable to cybersecurity, says Sagar Samtani, a professor at IU’s Kelley School of Business who specializes in studying artificial intelligence for cybersecurity and cyber threat intelligence. AI can help cybersecurity analysts better prioritize assets, manage vulnerabilities, detect threats, and allocate controls, adds Scott Shackelford, also a professor at the Kelley School who helps lead IU’s cybersecurity education efforts. Knowing how to deploy AI algorithms and systems for critical cybersecurity requires professionals who can take swift and decisive action, the IU experts say. To more effectively advance AI in the fight against cyberattacks, Shackelford, Samtani and others at IU are spearheading a project to develop new training for the next generation of “AI-cyber” professionals. In the project, IU researchers will study the current state of AI-cyber education across the nation and develop recommendations for educational programs that provide students with the understanding of AI they need to be top-tier candidates for jobs and key contributors to the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.
In other news, as the current COVID-19 wave in the U.S. sends many unvaccinated Americans to the hospital, questions are emerging about whether the unvaccinated can be asked to bear more of the cost of treatment, in terms of insurance. IU health economist Kosali Simon and her colleagues say the answer differs depending on whether it’s life or health insurance. While life insurance companies have freedom to charge different premiums based on risk factors, health insurers are largely restricted by various state and federal policies from pricing plans according to health. However, the researchers say, there is one tool that health insurers have to lower premiums for those who are vaccinated: wellness incentives. Just as insurers and companies offer discounts for things like losing weight or stopping smoking, they are also permitted to reduce health insurance premiums that vaccinated employees pay. Some employers are already incentivizing COVID-19 vaccinations with small discounts on health insurance premiums for employees who get a COVID-19 jab. So, the researchers say, even though insurers can’t price health insurance according to health risk, people who refuse to get a shot can still end up paying more than their vaccinated colleagues.