Artificial intelligence (AI) is making waves in the business environment by helping businesses be more competitive and unlock new capabilities. While it brings more autonomy to businesses and can help improve security in various ways, cybercriminals are ahead of the trend. These criminals are already exploring ways to exploit businesses using AI, whether you’ve adopted the technology or not.
To protect your business from the growing number of AI cyber-attacks, you should understand the scale and sophistication of AI cyberattacks and gather valuable tips to help you prepare for them.
How AI Is Aiding Cybercriminals
Cybercriminals are now using AI to bolster the effectiveness and impact of traditional cyberattacks. They’ve found creative and almost undetectable ways to bypass the automated defenses that secure IT systems in organizations. Through AI and machine learning, cybercriminals can gather information on employees, identify and target employees, trick them more effectively and get away with their attacks more easily.
One way cybercriminals can perpetuate cyberattacks with AI is by using AI to create deep fakes — fabricated images, videos and audio recordings that are identical to real ones. These criminals can use deep fakes to impersonate people who employees trust or authority figures to gain access to sensitive IT systems, acquire highly confidential data and spread malicious information.
Attackers are also using AI to rewrite code on company software and gain access to unauthorized data without being detected. Additionally, with AI, it’s now easier than ever for cybercriminals to bypass spam filters using generative grammar tools that produce a large data set of text. They use this text to distort and manipulate the filters on antispam systems to allow phishing emails to hit your employees’ inboxes.
Further, attackers can use AI-powered bots to automate these phishing attacks and use more personalized messages that inspire more people to open them. Finally, AI also allows more sophisticated password guessing that involves analyzing millions of passwords exposed from hacks or public leaks on major websites. This provides them insight into how people modify their passwords and helps them make more accurate guesses.
Example of an AI Cyberattack
WannaCry is a notable example of an AI-powered cyberattack. WannaCry is a cryptocurrency ransomware that led to a global attack in May 2017, which involved cybercriminals launching and spreading the ransomware globally on computers using the Microsoft Windows operating system.
When WannaCry’s ransomware worm infects a Windows computer, it encrypts valuable files on the PC’s hard drive and locks users out of their computers, making it impossible for them to access the data. The attackers then ask the victims for a ransom in cryptocurrency to regain access.
The Positives and Negatives of AI Regarding Cybersecurity
AI unlocks a wide variety of opportunities for businesses in terms of cybsersecurity, but it can also endanger them by making it easier for criminals to launch AI-powered cyberattacks. Therefore, it’s important to know where AI can help your business and where AI might hurt it.
How AI Can Help Businesses
Companies that have adopted AI-based cybersecurity solutions can leverage the technology to predict, detect, flag and respond to cyberattacks.
AI-based identity and access management (IAM) tools equip IT security professionals with advanced threat-prediction capabilities that are more effective and efficient than human risk sensing or rule-based algorithms. These tools assess risk, create detailed risk predictions and enable security teams to implement security measures before the risk is widespread.
AI also enables security personnel to establish standard activity patterns, detect anomalies in user behavior and send real-time notifications to security teams so they can get ahead of possible attacks.
How AI Can Hurt Businesses
AI-powered cyberattacks can pose significant threats to businesses by exploiting vulnerabilities and evading traditional security measures. With AI, cyberattackers can automate various stages of an attack, which reduces the time attackers need to breach a system and increases the potential damage of the attacks.
AI also poses a threat to businesses’s reputations because it makes it possible to generate fake and misleading news, reviews or content that can lead to customer mistrust and financial losses. These losses could be worse if cybercriminals use AI to analyze supply chain data to identify weak links and exploit vulnerabilities in partner organizations.
The Future of AI Cybercrimes
AI adoption rates are expected to grow at an annual rate of 37.3% between 2023 and 2030. As more companies embrace this technology, we can expect cybercriminals their game in using AI to launch cyberattacks. AI will enable cybercriminals to launch attacks at a larger scale by analyzing more data to single out system vulnerabilities and “gullible” targets that will help them gain access to company assets.
Malware and ransomware attacks are also predicted to be enhanced by AI because of how much easier it’s becoming to gain access to information and remain undetected in systems. As AI continues to evolve, it’s becoming more possible for it to mimic and recreate human behavior, which only means that deep fake profiles will become more and more realistic, making it easier to fool anyone who’s unaware.
How Can You Prepare for AI Cyberattacks?
Combating AI cyberattacks involves understanding the technology and how cybercriminals are abusing it to scale attacks. To begin, you should consider employing AI-powered cybersecurity tools, such as IAM, to match the scale of the sophisticated attacks by detecting and responding to cyber threats in real-time.
It also helps to implement multiple layers of security and maintain strict access controls. Organizations must prioritize cybersecurity sensitization for their employees to help them understand how to use security systems effectively, create strong passwords and identify phishing emails. This training helps to minimize the margin of human error and reduces the vulnerability of your employees.
Finally, your organization must have a response plan that can be launched in case of an attack. This plan should include instructions on how to communicate with stakeholders during the attack, how to contain the breach, how to clean up systems and how to restore lost data.
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