What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Defined as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages”, artificial intelligence (AI) has never been more sharply in focus, or in use, than during the first half of 2023.
In simple terms, machines are increasingly able to simulate human intelligence.
For computers to think, learn and adapt.
When we then consider that the vast proportion of cyber attacks are based on exploiting humanities frailties, through the human sciences – such as social engineering attacks – then we should be deeply concerned about the rapid adoption of AI in business, and how it might be used against us by cyber criminals.
The growth of AI in business
There is no doubt that the deployment of AI as a key business tool is on an unprecedented upward curve, with the biggest headline in 2023 being ChatGPT. Launched only in January, it reached 100 million active users two months after launch – and the site is seeing over a billion visits per month.
It is estimated that ChatGPT receives 10 million queries per day.
AI In numbers:
- 35% of companies are already using AI in some capacity (Techjury)
- 42% of companies are exploring AI for implementation in the future (Techjury)
- Customer satisfaction is expected to grow by 25% in 2023, for organisations that use AI (Gartner)
- 44% of private sector companies plan to invest in AI systems in 2023 (Info-Tech Research Group)
- 97% of mobile users are using AI-powered voice assistants (Techjury)
- 40% of people use the voice search function at least once every day (Techjury)
AI and Cyber Crime / Security
As with any invention or evolution, the weaponization of tools is never far behind the point of their creation.
AI is no different, as it can both help to detect and defend against cyber threats – while also being used by malicious threat actors to launch cyber-attacks. As such, it is already playing a significant role in cyber-attacks, with NATO commenting recently that AI presents a “huge challenge” for cyber security, worldwide.
David van Weel (NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Emerging Security Challenges) commented in December 2022, that:
“Artificial intelligence allows defenders to scan networks more automatically and fend off attacks rather than doing it manually. But the other way around, of course, it’s the same game.”
McKinsey recently reported that it has key concerns over specific risks associated with the use of AI, and as such urged businesses to prioritize the following areas of focus, in respect of commercial AI adoption:
- Personal Privacy
How does AI help cyber criminals?
It is commonly acknowledged that social engineering-based attacks (such as phishing emails) represent between 80 and 90% of the delivery model for cyber-attacks.
Generative AI tools can generate high-quality text, images, and other content based on the data they were trained on and can (unfortunately) be used to develop more effective cyberattacks, particularly in the use of phishing.
These tools possess the ability to generate human-like text and speech, which can be used to automate phishing emails and social engineering attacks (delivered by email, SMS, or voice) to great effect.
While it is fair to say that the use of AI remains in its infancy, true to form this fact has in no way prevented cyber criminals from leveraging the technology to maximise their efforts at cyber-attacks and hacking.
AI and Cyber Security: Essential Partners
Fighting fire with fire.
A common consensus within the cyber security community appears to be that the best (and maybe only) option, long term, is to integrate AI into security systems and processes.
It is feasible that AI software can evaluate cyber threats and implement the most effective strategies to defend against attacks.
In fact, we may have no choice – as Gray Scott (host of the digital-philosophy web series Futuristic Now, and board member of The World Future Society) suggests:
“There is no reason and no way that a human mind can keep up with an artificial intelligence machine by 2035.”
There is no doubt that AI represents a pivotal development in the world of technology. In many ways it will make society and business more efficient and effective and comes with many positives.
The flip side, however, is that cyber attackers are already weaponising AI to – developing (and deploying) new methods and models of cyber-attack.
It’s here to say, that much is certain, and therefore we must quickly keep step and match the progress being made by cyber criminals.
Moore ClearComm delivers a proven and experienced approach to cyber-attack defence – whether through employee awareness training, bespoke or scheduled attack simulation campaigns, or guidance in respect of your technical defences – we are here to help.
Contact our team today: email@example.com
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