A year ago, network security specialists spotted a worrying new trend: hackers began unleashing ransomware attacks on really big targets—America’s cities. Ransomware powered by artificial intelligence, a development that could give exploits such as RobbinHood and WannaCry a potent new makeover to evade cyber defenses, burrow into computer networks and wreak mayhem. In recent years, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been a godsend to IT security professionals, enabling them to detect malware sooner—even the moment it enters the wild—keeping networks more secure and corporate assets safer. platforms that are more than likely going to be used by cyber criminals,” says Kujawa, who spent five years dissecting malware for the U.S. Navy, and is now director of Malwarebytes Labs in Santa Clara, Calif. And that’s never been so true as the world transitions to computer systems automated by A.I., machine learning, and neural networks. Researchers have already demonstrated that machine learning can handily defeat the CAPTCHA security protocols that protect computer servers from certain kinds of malicious bot attacks.