It takes a truly massive network of hundreds of thousands of computers to help scientists around the world unravel the mysteries of the Universe, which is the purpose of the CERN grid (CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, in English, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics). Naturally, however, particle physicists aren’t the only ones who want to access that kind of computing power. Hackers are also interested in CERN’s grid, and CERN scientists are skipping past standard cybersecurity measures and deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to stay protected.
Machine learning can train a system to detect potential threats while retaining the flexibility that it needs to provide computing power and storage on demand. F-Secure senior security researcher Jarno Niemelä told Scientific American that the biggest challenge for the project will be developing algorithms that can accurately distinguish between normal and malicious network activity without causing false alarms. For now, the AI upgrades are still being tested. If they work well protecting just the part of the grid that ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) uses, the team can deploy AI cybersecurity measures throughout the system.