The Potential Security Hazards of AI
While the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence offers plenty to be excited about, it also presents several potential threats. These threats exist in a variety of arenas, though one of the most vulnerable is that of cybersecurity. AI and cybersecurity are closely intertwined. It’s not surprising that so many security companies are already employing AI to beef up their security measures, but don’t forget that it can work both ways.
Yes, there are ways that AI can increase your security, but it can also lead to increased and more effective cyberattacks. If there was ever a double-edged sword, it’s artificial intelligence.
AI Can Identify Weaknesses in Security
This is probably the most important thing worth mentioning because the way that AI is being used to make servers more secure can be flipped and used against them.
Security experts are using AI software to identify patterns in cyberattacks to better predict and defend against them. However, that same type of software can be used to find weaknesses in security systems that hackers can then exploit. This is the double-edged nature of AI. It’s adaptive. While the software can get creative, loosely speaking, in detecting cyberattacks, it can also utilize that same creativity (or adaptability) to constantly change malware signatures to evade detection. At the same time, the AI can spawn even more malware to increase the power behind its attacks.
The more we remove the human element behind cyber warfare, the more unpredictable it becomes, and the harder it becomes to detect and stop. (Tripwire)
More Effective Phishing Emails
Human error can be blamed for a lot of successful cyberattacks. Hackers often use phishing emails to gather information from their victims, and if people are undereducated or careless, they’re more likely to fall prey to these sorts of data-gathering schemes. It all comes down to whether or not the email in question seems trustworthy enough to open. The more someone is educated about these sorts of scams, the more they’re going to be on the lookout for these suspicious messages.
However, hackers are now using AI to generate phishing emails that have higher rates of being opened than manually written emails. These IA programs are actively gathering public data, generally from social media, to craft emails that contain personal information and therefore come off as legitimate emails from friends, loved ones, etc. There was a time where you could spot a phony email from a mile away, but that time has long passed, and phishing emails are more convincing than they’ve ever been. (CNBC)
AI Security Doesn’t Replace Human Vigilance
This is sort of the odd man out on the list, because it’s not about AI being a traditional threat. That said, it definitely needs to be kept in mind.. Just as we mentioned above, one of the biggest threats in cybersecurity is human error. People often slip up, and when they do, breaches happen. Even if someone is vigilant, if they’re not properly educated in the field of cybersecurity they may fail to take the appropriate measures.
As we come to rely on AI for our security, these human errors will only increase. If we think that everything is properly secured through AI programs, there’s little motivation to be vigilant against cyber threats. We should never drop security standards. If anything, we should increase human oversight with AI in place, if only to ensure that it’s doing its job properly. There’s no such thing as being too secure. (Dataconomy)
Sharing of Personal Information With AI
Especially during the early days of popular AI such as ChatGPT, there is a severe risk of users sharing personal or confidential information with the AI in an attempt to find the solution to their problems. As we often see when rapid development occurs, employers are not prepared for the potential consequences of the availability of Artificer Intelligence at the tip of every employee’s fingers. While interacting with any AI software, it is important to remember that it is a software and as such can itself be misused or hacked.
Proactive business managers are already hard at work building new AI company policies; when should AI be used, what data is allowed to be input, and what needs to be done to confirm its value. If you were to ask your employees frankly how frequently they use a chatbot or other AI software to accomplish company tasks this week, you might very well be surprised by the answer. The time to develop an understanding and policy for proper AI use within your company was yesterday, but today is second best.
AI isn’t Coming, It’s Here
Artificial intelligence is not only here to stay, but it’s only going to grow more capable, more efficient, and harder to get a handle on. The best way to prepare, at least from a cybersecurity standpoint, is to double down on existing security practices. Be vigilant, be educated, and keep sensitive information as isolated as possible.