How Microsoft uses AI to 'run a marathon' at 'sprint speed' to combat cyber criminals

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
(Image credit: Future)

Last year, Microsoft announced that former Amazon cloud executive Charlie Bell would oversee the company's new security division. It's been just over 12 months since that announcement, and Bell spoke with Bloomberg about the progress he's made.

Since Bell took the lead of the security division, he's brought several groups to create a combined security business. Bloomberg highlighted that Microsoft's lab for tracking nation-state and cybercrime gangs and its cybersecurity research units were brought together under the leadership of John Lambert.

"You’ve got to flip this asymmetry around. If the attackers could come from any angle, the one advantage that we have is we could see all of it," said Bell to Bloomberg. "The way I describe it is we get to set the playing field. Imagine that you’re playing soccer, and the other team’s scoring quite a bit, what do I do to this playing field that makes it harder for anyone to score? Shrink the goal down to just about the size of the soccer ball, stretch the field out to be 20 miles long, and just make it harder."

The security lead emphasized the importance of AI when battling cybercrime. "The opportunity in AI is tremendous. The way I’ve been talking to the team is, you’ve got to run a marathon, but it’s got to be run at sprint speed." Bell later added, "it’s basically having the machinery to just continuously go fast, and especially in machine learning. All the model training and all of the data stuff and everything else is just a super-high priority."

In other words, AI allows Microsoft to run its security efforts at a pace that would normally not be sustainable without the tech.

Microsoft has been outspoken about its cybersecurity efforts, including aiding Ukraine during the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Bell further discusses Microsoft's reorganization, the company's long-term plans, and the unique challenges within the cybersecurity space in his interview with Bloomberg.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at