Cyber Sherlocks and the Case for Digital Watsons

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson form one of literature’s most memorable crime-fighting partnerships. When he dreamt up his characters, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could not have foreseen the meteoric rise of computers, nor the fact that battling malicious hackers would become one of the world’s most complex and pressing challenges. But if they are to foil the 21st century’s “Moriarty” of malware, today’s cyber defenders in companies will need to turn to a new generation of Watsons for assistance.These new partners aren’t fictional doctors; instead they are machine-learning platforms such as IBM’s Watson, which hit the headlines in 2011 when it beat a set of human competitors to win the game show Jeopardy! A subset of artificial intelligence, machine learning involves creating powerful algorithms that spot patterns and relationships…

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