Artificial Intelligence (AI) is both a blessing and a curse in the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity. While it holds immense potential to detect and mitigate threats, it also opens up a new dimension of risk. Bad actors can weaponize AI to carry out highly sophisticated attacks, including phishing, exploiting vulnerabilities, designing malware, deconstructing code, and perpetrating fraud using deep-fake technology.
Building Highly Sophisticated Phishing Attacks
With the help of AI, attackers can automate and personalize phishing campaigns to trick victims into revealing sensitive information and login credentials. AI can design “heat-seeking missiles” that adapt conversations in real-time to maximize persuasion and do so at scale.
The availability of AI tools such as ChatGPT and phishing kits has significantly influenced the growth of phishing. These tools have lowered the technical barriers to entry for criminals, saving them valuable time and resources. These AI tools have enabled cybercriminals to generate malicious code, conduct Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, and create polymorphic malware that makes it difficult for victims to detect phishing attempts.
Hunting Exploits and Scanning Vulnerabilities
AI can play a significant role in identifying vulnerabilities and launching attacks in an automated fashion by conducting scans against search engines like Shodan. With the help of AI, attackers can quickly identify and exploit vulnerabilities in internet-facing systems, including servers, routers, and IoT devices, which can have severe consequences for businesses.
Moreover, AI-powered attacks can also use advanced techniques such as machine learning algorithms to make attacks more effective and difficult to detect. One such example is a botnet called Mirai, which uses machine learning algorithms to identify vulnerabilities in IoT devices and recruit them into its network. Mirai was responsible for one of the largest DDoS attacks in history, which impacted Dyn, a major domain name system (DNS) provider, and disrupted services for several high-profile companies, including Twitter, Spotify, and Airbnb.
Designing Malware Using ChatGPT
Recent reports suggest that cybercriminals use AI, specifically ChatGPT, to develop highly sophisticated and evasive ransomware attacks. This technology enables attackers to create new variations of ransomware that can bypass traditional security measures, making them harder to detect and stop. Such attacks can cause significant damage and financial losses for businesses, as they may not have adequate security measures to detect and mitigate such threats.
Deconstructing Code and Algorithms
By using AI to analyze code, cybercriminals can quickly identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can be exploited to launch attacks. This tactic can save them time and resources otherwise spent on manual analysis.
In a business context, cybercriminals can use AI to deconstruct code and algorithms to identify weaknesses in software products or applications developed by a competitor. This information can be used to gain a competitive advantage or to launch targeted attacks against the competitor’s products.
For example, a business in the financial sector may use AI to analyze the code of a competitor’s mobile banking application to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited to steal user data or access financial accounts.
Defrauding with Deep-Fake
Many experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential misuse of deep-fake technology (which is a combination of “deep learning” and “fake”). Firstly, it could be used for spreading misinformation, such as making people believe that a politician made a statement they never actually did. Secondly, scammers have been using AI to perpetrate identity theft and gain access to individuals’ finances.
According to computer science experts, creating a convincing deepfake doesn’t require much effort. According to Matthew Wright, Chair of Computer Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology in an interview with Euronews. “For instance, scammers could pretend to be a salesperson and capture just enough audio to make a convincing deep-fake. That might be all they need to deceive someone,” he explained.
Strategies to Safeguard Against AI Threats in Cybersecurity
To stay ahead of these emerging threats, organizations must adopt a multilayered defense and in-depth strategy that includes using AI-based security software, developing and enforcing policies around AI, raising security awareness, and having a red team mindset. Let’s dive deeper into these recommendations and explore how they can protect your business against AI-driven cyber threats.
1. Invest in AI-Based Security Software
As cybercriminals use AI to launch sophisticated attacks, businesses should invest in AI-based security software such as EDR, SOAR, UEBA, and advanced AI-based email security solutions to proactively detect and prevent emerging AI risks.
2. Develop And Enforce Policies Around AI
Businesses should have clear and transparent guidance for users about using AI and how it’s being used to protect it from malicious influence. Employees should also be aware not to input sensitive data because that information is stored somewhere inaccessible.
3. Raise Security Awareness Around AI
A sound and well-established security culture is critical to ensuring that employees are aware of the potential risks associated with AI and are coached to spot phishing scams and the perils of misinformation. Businesses should provide training to employees to educate them about AI-based attacks and how to prevent them.
4. Test Cybersecurity Defenses Regularly
Businesses should adopt a red team mindset, regularly testing their code and defenses to spot weaknesses in their tools and processes. This practice should involve phishing employees using real-world examples and assessing if they are prone to phishing. They should also take a data-oriented approach, evaluate results, fine-tune their strategy, and monitor their metrics.
5. Stay Up-To-Date with Emerging AI Threats
As bad actors discover new ways to compromise or destroy systems using AI, businesses must stay up-to-date with the latest threats and update their security policies and procedures accordingly. Businesses should also consider joining industry associations, attending conferences, and networking with peers to stay informed about emerging AI threats.
Harnessing the Power of AI Safely
Businesses face both benefits and risks with the use of AI technology. While it helps detect and prevent emerging threats, cybercriminals can also launch sophisticated attacks. UDTSecure maximizes the potential of AI and ML technology while promoting a culture of resilience and hyper-vigilance. By adhering to best practices and continually improving manual processes, UDTSecure can help enterprises stay ahead of threats and build a strong defense against cybercrime.