The effectiveness of cyber security Early Warning Systems (EWS) 

Cybersecurity 101

Traditional network-based intrusion detection (IDS) or intrusion prevention (IPS) approaches have proved incapable of handling the upcoming challenges in the cyber environment. The management of infrastructural security and infrastructure of the Internet of the Future needs to be on high priority in this era of cyber security. In the Internet of the Future, all devices communicate among each other with a seamless integration of networks that enables the end user to “see” only “one network”.

Also in ‘Internet of Future’, the data and services are located or are provided somewhere in the “cloud”, making security, trust and privacy, essential factors for data stored. As traditional approaches are not sufficient with such advanced factors affecting the cyber world, a need of proactive infrastructure is required to protect the infrastructure of the Internet of the Future and manage these security mechanisms in a consistent manner. 

Also, lately a ramp up in the efforts of cyber criminals has been observed with sophisticated techniques and on contrary, a continuous effort from defenders has been well thought-out to gradually update their security measures. Attackers usually hold a long-term interest in their targets. Due to a number of factors such as scale, architecture and nonproductive traffic however it makes it difficult to detect them using typical intrusion detection techniques. Early warning systems (EWS), in the cyber world, aim at alerting such attempts of intrusion, at their nascent stages using preliminary indicators. 

Cyber security early warning and detection system 

In this era of Internet worms and Bots leading to Ransomwares and other financial and reputational losses of organization, protecting your information from malicious hackers has become a challenge. To over-power such challenges in the real world environment, usage of Early Warning Systems has been included to alarm the organizations of any intrusion or breaches. These systems can be standalone systems or can be integrated with AI for a better response, as required by various organizations. The main challenge in the cyber security area is providing network protection services against various threats and vulnerabilities.  EWS has proved to be an effective mechanism to manage the threats on which the security team usually raises a query and demands a solution. Early warning Systems are a higher version of Intrusion Detection System, and can be considered as a proactive approach against security threats in the world of increasing cyber crimes. Approach of Early warning system works on carrying out early detection of potential behavior of a system, evaluating the scope of malicious behavior, and finally, using suitable response against any kind of detectable security event. 

An early warning system (EWS), for cyber security is an emerging area of research which aims at alerting an attack attempt in its nascent stages. Early warning system is 

“A system or procedure designed to warn of a potential or an impending attack in order to minimize the damage against the attack with preventive scanning and analysis. This system gains more importance as the damage becomes more tremendous” 

An Early Warning System (EWS) implements a systematic process to collect data internally, gather intelligence from third parties, and then analyze this information for particular dangers to your environment. It aims at detecting unclassified but potentially harmful system behavior based on preliminary indications before possible damage occurs, and to contribute to an integrated and aggregated situation report. 

EWS and Detection System in real world 

Early warning systems can be used to accomplish two different errands: 

  • To start the security process on time for a success in preventing or minimizing damages. 
  • To process uncertain and incomplete information and inform the same to the respective stakeholder. 

A very famous example for EWS was the FIDeS. FIDeS was an EWS project, funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) which used Early Warning and Intrusion Detection System, based on Combined AI Methods. This project aimed at developing an advanced, intelligent assistance system for detecting attacks from the Internet both in local area networks and in wide area networks as early as possible. 

Conventional IDS and in particular IDS for glitch detection usually produce a high false positive rate (incorrect indication of attack) or do not detect all attacks (false negatives). Complementary to anomaly-based IDS, the project develops an early warning system based upon using different methods of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This system was basically helpful in supporting a security officer to analyze the attacks and carry out suitable countermeasures. Consequently, the project FIDeS focuses more on assistance (such as concrete instructions in case of an attack) rather than on mere intrusion detection. For this purpose, various AI-based methods are used such as declarative knowledge representation, the generation of explanations, and cognitive assistance. 

Thus it is very evident that Early warning systems are more responsive and useful with the upcoming challenges in the world of cyber security.