Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been all over the media, showing us some amazing capabilities. It has been a part of our lives now for some time, in one way or another, but one question that plays on the minds of experts and consumers alike is: What is the risk? One of the biggest risks is that AI technology can be used to power cybercrime, making it easier for criminals to launch sophisticated attacks against organisations and individuals. Let’s take a look at how AI can be used for malicious purposes, and what steps organisations should take to protect themselves.

How AI technology is redefining cybercrime  

As AI continues to increase in its capabilities, so too does its potential for abuse by cyber criminals. AI-powered attacks are becoming more common; they are faster, more effective, and much harder to detect than traditional cyber-attacks. This is because AI algorithms enable criminals to conduct large-scale campaigns quickly and efficiently by automating tasks that would otherwise require manual effort. They can also assess the weaknesses of potential targets more accurately and develop strategies accordingly. These characteristics make AI-powered attacks particularly dangerous.  

How AI is being used by cyber criminals  

AI has been used to create more sophisticated malware and phishing emails. By using machine learning algorithms, attackers can generate highly effective phishing emails that are difficult to detect and even harder to defend against, as they will mimic the spoofed sender almost perfectly. These emails can then be sent out en masse, increasing the chances of someone falling victim to the attack.  

AI Chatbots such as GPT-4 are one of these risks. AI chatbots are fast tracking knowledge mining in that the abilities of this AI can surpass the comprehension rate of humans. It can think and reframe information from many sources in a fast and persistent fashion – processing so fast that even if it fails, it can fail and learn faster than we can.

Deepfakes and their ability to impersonate pretty much anyone has been on the radar of security experts for some time. Using an audio and video facsimile of a real person to perpetrate crime, or even impersonate a celebrity or political figure can cause widespread harm; not to mention the epidemic of using real people’s faces without their knowledge or consent for exploitation. The fast-moving technology in this area means the quality is going up almost exponentially, and that soon almost anyone will be able to use this technology, similar to the rise of the beautification filters we see every day on Instagram and other social media sharing sites.

Consequences of AI-powered cybercrime  

The consequences of these developments in AI-powered cybercrime are twofold. Firstly, businesses and organisations need to be prepared for a new wave of attacks that are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect and defend against. Organisations must stay vigilant to ensure they remain one step ahead of the bad actors who may try to exploit them using these advanced techniques. Secondly, as these types of attacks become more common, organisations must also invest in the same technologies - machine learning and AI, to counter-protect themselves and their data, assets and reputation from harm.  

As the threat of cybercrime continues to rise, it's more important than ever to prioritise security awareness training. By taking proactive steps to empower and educate your employees, you can help mitigate the risks of cyber attacks and safeguard your organisation.  

If you're looking to strengthen your organisation's security posture, contact our phriendly team to book a personalised demo.