Trained using data of how viruses spread in human populations, BT says its cybersecurity protype Inflame will shed new light on how to defend against cyber attacks

Many of us have become only too aware of virus transmission methods in the past couple of years, but BT thinks that understanding epidemiology could be more useful to the telecoms sector than simply helping us stay healthy. 
Today, the operator has announced its ‘Inflame’ prototype, which uses deep reinforcement learning to help enterprises to automatically anticipate and detect cyber threats, as well as responding to overcome these threats in real time.
In order to better prepare Inflame to meet these challenges, security researchers from the BT Labs in Suffolk used epidemiological modelling methods to explore numerous enterprise network scenarios with different R-rates of cyber-infection – a metric familiar to us as a measure of how many people the average Covid-infected person would subsequently infect. 
According to BT, this varied testing with deep learning has allowed Inflame to automatically model and respond to detected threats within an enterprise network, using insights into the ‘attack lifecycle’ and established patterns of these cyber-attacks. Furthermore, Inflame will continue to learn and adapt from its experiences in the field, becoming increasingly effective at preventing attacks that could compromise a network.
Inflame is part of BT’s recently announced ‘Eagle-I’ cyber defence platform, incorporating AI to anticipate and detect threats to the network and produce automated responses in real time.
BT claims there is a 50% increase in malware traffic since April 2021, most of which have been ransomware attacks on businesses and public sector bodies, including the NHS.
“We know the risk of cyber-attack is higher than ever and has intensified significantly during the pandemic. Enterprises now need to look to new cybersecurity solutions that can understand the risk and consequence of an attack, and quickly respond before it’s too late,” said BT’s CTO Howard Watson. “Epidemiological testing has played a vital role in curbing the spread of infection during the pandemic, and Inflame uses the same principles to understand how current and future digital viruses spread through networks. Inflame will play a key role in how BT’s Eagle-i platform automatically predicts and identifies cyber-attacks before they impact, protecting customers’ operations and reputation.”
Naturally, it is not only the UK that is facing this huge increase in cyber attacks. Just two weeks ago, Microsoft warned that hundreds of companies and organisations in the US were being hit by a wave of cyber attacks, likely orchestrated by the same group that carried out last year’s enormous SolarWinds attacks.
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