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BT today announced that it has developed an epidemiology-based cybersecurity prototype, “Inflame,” that uses Deep Reinforcement Learning to enable organizations to automatically detect and respond to cyberattacks before they compromise a network. Inflame uses the propagation of viruses in human populations as a model for its AI and is a key component of the recently announced Eagle-i platform from BT.

Epidemiological modeling is typically associated with the spread of viruses and diseases in human populations and has been critical to the analysis and management of the spread of COVID -19 over the past 20 months. The Inflame solution from BT is based on the same principles of epidemiology and is designed to understand how computer viruses and cyberattacks spread through enterprise networks and how to prevent them.

To develop the technology, security researchers at BT Labs in Suffolk, UK, created models of corporate networks that they used to test numerous scenarios based on different rates1 of cyber infection. These tests enabled the research team to understand how these threats can enter and compromise a network, and to develop the optimal automated responses needed to contain and prevent the spread of viruses on the network.

The deep reinforcement training and learning that went into the development of Inflame means that the solution can automatically model and respond to a detected threat within an enterprise network. These responses are also supported by ‘attack lifecycle’ modeling, which compares real-time security alerts against established patterns to understand the current stage of an ongoing cyberattack. These insights are used to predict the next stages of an attack and quickly determine the best response to prevent further progression.

BT recently announced its transformative cyber defense platform ‘Eagle-i’, which uses AI to detect issues in real-time and deliver intelligent automated responses. The platform is designed to self-learn from the information it receives with each engagement, so it is constantly improving its knowledge of threats and dynamically refining how it protects other users in the future.

“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,” added the Chief Technology Officer of BT, 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.”