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How Machine Learning is Enhancing Personal Security

Reine Amabel Jaruda, Freelance Writer for OctoShrew


Machine learning (ML) is a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows software to learn from data without explicitly being programmed. This is accomplished through a process of iteration and refinement where the machine learning algorithm is constantly exposed to new data that it then uses to improve its performance.

With this, machine learning is playing an increasingly important role in personal security at it helps to detect and prevent cyberattacks.. It does this by analyzing large volumes of data which can then identify patterns that would be difficult for humans to spot. As a result, the algorithm is able to detect and block malware attacks, phishing attempts, and other fraudulent activity.

Moreover, machine learning can be used to improve the security of mobile devices. By analyzing data from these devices’ sensors such as the accelerometer, microphone, and gyroscope, ML can help in identifying when a device has been compromised and be able to take appropriate action.

ML for everyday life

Over the years, ML has become more and more ubiquitous in our daily lives. We use it every day without even realizing it. For example, when you type a search query into Google, the results that come up are personalized for you because of trained machine learning algorithms. Additionally, Facebook uses machine learning to identify people in photos and recommend friends to tag. Similar algorithms are even used to power one’s recommendations on Netflix.

With the growing applications of ML, how is it used within the realm of personal security?

As ML is good at classifying and identifying patterns in data, it can determine individuals’ log in patterns. For example, if you have a habit of logging into your bank account from a specific device and at a specific time of day, a machine learning algorithm can identify that pattern and alert you if someone else tries to log in to your account from a different device or at a different time.

Another way that machine learning can be used to enhance personal security is by using it to identify malicious websites and emails. Machine learning algorithms can analyze the characteristics of malicious websites and emails in order to distinguish them from legitimate websites and emails. This helps to protect you from being scammed or becoming the victim of a cyberattack.

Machine learning is also being used to create facial recognition software. This software can be used to identify people in photos and videos. Face recognition is also being used to help law enforcement officials identify wanted criminals from surveillance videos and the like.

AI for safety and security

There are many potential applications for artificial intelligence in enhancing personal security. AI can be used to identify suspicious online behavior or predict criminal activity.

Broadly, the following are some ways that AI can improve safety:

  • Face recognition: AI can be used to identify individuals in real-time through the use of face recognition technology. This can be used in a variety of applications such as unlocking devices, granting access to secure areas, or identifying potential security threats.

  • Predictive analytics: AI can be used to analyze data from various sources such as through social media or location data to identify potential security threats, allowing for proactive measures to be taken to mitigate those risks.

  • Fraud detection: AI can be used to identify patterns in financial transactions that may indicate fraudulent activity, helping to protect individuals from financial scams.

  • Cybersecurity: AI can be used to identify and defend against cyber threats, such as malware or phishing attacks.

Overall, AI is a promising tool for improving the safety, security, and well-being of an individual.

ML in the real world

As machine learning extends towards business, finance, and healthcare, it can similarly be used to enhance personal security. ML can even go as far as predicting terrorist threats or identifying child predators.

However, the most common use for ML in personal security is with regards to identity fraud and theft. Credit card companies are starting to use machine learning algorithms to identify fraudulent activities. These algorithms analyze past transactions to look for patterns that may indicate fraud as well as identify new types of fraud that may not have been seen before.

Machine learning can also be used to predict terrorist threats. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has even launched its own initiative for using AI that include enforcement of immigration laws, securing cyberspace, preventing terrorism, and strengthening national preparedness and resiliency.

Financial institutions are now even using AI to identify money trails and money laundering schemes which are used to fund drug trafficking and terrorism. Additionally, the DHS funded a system known as the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessment in Real-Time (AVATAR) which uses sensors and biometrics to track suspects’ responses and reactions after a series of questions. The system identifies untruthful individuals or those predicted to carry potential risk, flagging them for a follow-up interview. Currently, the system has a success rate of 60 to 70 per cent, showcasing the potential that AI has for risk management and security.

Machine learning can also be used to identify child predators. Through its new AI-powered tool called Safer, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children can identify perpretrators. It woks by stemming the flow of abusive content, finding the victims, and identifying the suspects. The algorithm analyzes images of child pornography to look for patterns that may identify the child predators.

Dangers of ML

While machine learning is becoming an increasingly important tool for personal security, it is not without its dangers. One of the most common dangers for machine learning is the possibility of bias. If data is not properly cleaned or if the algorithms are not properly tuned, they can lead to inaccurate results. This could cause the machine learning algorithm to mislabel someone as a security risk when they are not or to miss a security risk entirely.

Another danger of machine learning is the possibility of malicious actors deliberately feeding incorrect information to the system in order to skew the results. This could lead to the machine learning algorithm mistakenly identifying someone as a security risk or fooling the algorithm into thinking an attack is not happening when it actually is.

These dangers highlight the importance of careful data cleaning and algorithm tuning in order to ensure that the machine learning system functions accurately and effectively.


Machine learning aids security in multiple ways. It can identify patterns in data that humans would not be able to see and can help us better protect our systems and personal information. In addition, it is being used to create and improve security tools and systems. As machine learning evolves, so too will the ways in which it helps keep us safe.


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