Browse Definitions:

cognitive security

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Cognitive security is the application of AI technologies patterned on human thought processes to detect threats and protect physical and digital systems.  

Like other cognitive computing applications, self-learning security systems use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to simulate the human brain, albeit in a high-powered computer model. Such automated security systems that are designed to solve problems without requiring human resources. 

Machine learning algorithms make it possible for cognitive systems to constantly mine data for significant information and acquire knowledge through advanced analytics. By continually refining methods and processes, the systems learn to anticipate threats and generate proactive solutions. The ability to process and analyze huge volumes of structured and unstructured data means that cognitive security systems can identify connections among data points and trends that would be impossible for a human to detect.  

Cognitive security may be particularly helpful as a way to prevent cyberattacks that manipulate human perception. Such attacks, sometimes referred to as cognitive hacking, are designed to affect people's behaviors in a way that serves the attacker's purpose. Cognitive security efforts in this area include non-technical approaches to making individuals less vulnerable to manipulation as well as technical solutions designed to detect misleading data and disinformation and prevent its dissemination. 

See also: weaponized information

This was last updated in August 2017

Continue Reading About cognitive security

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...




  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.