Excerpt from CNN article, Clinton calls for intel surge as predictive technology gathers steam — and critics, published October 6, 2016
Predictive analytical tool
The analytic tool, called “graph technology,” isn’t about sucking up more data; it’s about being able to more efficiently sift through it. Experts say it can be used to spot signs of imminent cyber attacks, such as the theft of Democratic National Committee emails or other hacking attempts on voter registration systems in 20 states.
They maintain that graph technology, initially released about seven years ago, would work equally well in hunting down terrorist cells.
“We think in the next few years, tech will be able to help in a much greater way” with national security work, said Mark Testoni, president of SAP National Security Services.
“We’ve doubled the entirety of digital information in the entire world in the last two or three years,” said Testoni, who added that when you apply high-speed analytics like graph technology to this mass of information, “It offers great promise.”
Preventing cyber attacks
“We’re starting to see strong adaption of the technology” by national security agencies, said Emil Eifrem, CEO of Neo Technology, the San Mateo, California, firm that invented the approach and coined the term “graph technology.”
While Eifrem said that the technology isn’t yet being used in “predictive ways” for national security, he said it could easily help point to imminent cyber intrusions of the kind seen on voter registration systems and the DNC.
Using graph technology, for instance, you could identify the network of IP addresses used in attacks, the central server the addresses link back to and the way these addresses were used.
“What isn’t being done yet,” said Eifrem, “is that you embed all that in the graph database, so you can start predicting it ahead of time,” and say, “based on network traffic that we’ve seen before, we suspect we’re going to see a breach attempt.”
The technology “translates identically, completely, into national security” for investigators looking for connections between terrorists or other plotters, according to Eifrem.
“The tension is with civil liberties, but in terms of efficiency, the more data you have, the better,” he said.