Whilst it can be overwhelming to see technology accelerate at the pace it has, along with the pandemic’s influence, it’s exciting to see the new types of digital technologies emerging.
Artificial intelligence (AI), automation, machine learning (ML) and other digital technologies are becoming more available, particularly as more start-ups are able to bring their products to market thanks to enhanced interconnectedness.
Digital technologies are guaranteed to play an important part in our lives in the near future, with some emerging technologies benefitting us now through autonomous cars and in company practices such as automated platforms and bots. AI is a key player in this area which can be used in a plethora of ways, especially when trying to fight cybercrime.
As companies are able to make AI more intelligent, hackers are equally doing the same with their ‘skills’ and technology. You only have to look at the unfortunately notable malware attack of Solarwinds, consequently affecting more companies to realise it can affect anyone, with devastating impacts across many platforms and a breach of personal and highly-sensitive data. Malware attacks are becoming more sophisticated as attackers’ AI becomes more intelligent as companies invest in doing the same: cybersecurity is big business for companies buying protection, as well as companies selling it. The seller boom matches the breach boom in the pandemic in 2020, up by 20% for UK companies from the year before!
Now is the time for companies to use AI to fight AI.
Rise of offensive AI
Offensive AI has increased, particularly during the pandemic. A whitepaper by Darktrace and MIT Technology Review revealed how IT security professionals have admitted to upping their game when protecting the company – 96% say they are braced for AI-powered attacks in what’s likely to be another pivotal moment in cybersecurity.
Deloitte revealed as many as 47% of individuals fall for phishing scams while working at home, with KPMG drawing upon similar conclusions, where IT security teams are having to manage incidents in unfamiliar conditions which don’t work well with their operating models and lack of resources available. Traditional cybersecurity technology will only go so far for companies, as it continues to evolve more frequently.
Implementing appropriate defensive AI can attack perpetrators at equal machine speed, but that is only good if you can afford it, which is fortunate for large companies who can invest in more, greater malware. This isn’t the case for SMEs who are a softer target, placing them at higher risk of being attacked: sometimes they can only afford basic IT security which may not even be enough, with as many as 60% of small businesses going out of business within 6 months of an attack.
Then there’s the risk associated with human error when adjusting company IT cybersecurity, which is a delight for hackers and an easy welcome for them to attack. Kelvin Murray, senior threat researcher at Webroot, revealed such companies stand a better chance by incorporating a multi-layered approach by using appropriate software and security knowledge to improve employees’ vigilance, as well as training and best-practice guidelines for passwords and systems policies to maintain effective defences.
A great insight into the powerful yet damaging impact of using AI and being a victim of it when used maliciously. Are you using the right AI in your organization?