Will AI make you more susceptible to cyber attacks?

It’s hard to navigate the tech world without hearing AI mentioned. Since the rise of ChatGPT and other AI tools in 2023, there has been much debate around AI and its implications for business. Opinions are still truly divided, with data showing just 52% of people believe it has more advantages than drawbacks.

Much of the controversy around AI is due to the risks it poses to security. By powering cyber criminals with AI, attacks are likely to become more prevalent. Businesses need to be aware of the threats to protect themselves.

We explore how AI might impact your security and the frequency of cyber attacks targeting your business.

Impersonation and social engineering

Phishing schemes are already common, where staff receive an email that looks like it’s from an official organisation but contains malware. Usually, these have a few tell-tale signs that distinguish real from fake.

But with AI, it’s becoming harder to tell the difference. Criminals can feed information about your business into AI models and get tailored emails that mirror natural language. There’s also the rise of deep fakes which can make scam comms look real.

Your staff can put you at higher risk of impersonation if they use open AI models like ChatGPT or Bard. These platforms learn from your inputs and can share them with users across the world. If people put in sensitive or confidential information about your company, this can be regurgitated to external parties.

If criminals get sight of this information, they can then use it to impersonate your business through social engineering.

This makes it more likely that staff click links in scam emails, leading to malicious viruses infiltrating your systems. It also makes it easier for criminals to hack into your network.

Scale of attacks

Fuelled by AI, criminals can conduct more attacks, faster. They can use it to create countless scam emails or develop advanced malware.

With AI enhancing their capabilities to plan attacks, it’s likely your business and staff will come across threats more often. This increases the chances of someone doing the wrong thing and falling victim to an attack, especially if you haven’t got stringent security measures in place.

Often, businesses think they are too small to be targeted by cyber criminals. However, with AI making it effortless and cheap, there are no limits to who they can mount an attack on. Smaller businesses tend to be less protected too, making them an easy target.

Exposing gaps in your IT walls

As your staff get curious about AI, they’re more likely to use third-party tools that sit outside your network security. These are known as shadow IT practices, encouraging people to find workaround tools that might be unsafe.

If the tools used don’t have accurate protection, it could quickly cause gaps in your security that criminals can exploit. This can further fuel social engineering and make it easier for people to break into your network.

How to protect yourself

There is no denying that AI poses a risk, which may lead to increased anxiety about using it. But it’s important to remember AI itself won’t harm your business, even if a criminal using it might.

If you want to minimise the threat to your business, there are some measures you should take to increase protection.

Firstly, remember your staff are your first line of defence. Invest time in thorough IT training, so your staff know what to do and not to do. This should include understanding what to spot in emails to determine they are safe and following robust password practices.

Carefully vet the AI tools your staff are using, with clear recommendations of which ones to avoid. Don’t ban them from using AI, as they’re likely to find tools that might be less safe than your approved options.

When you are considering AI tools for staff, focus on the privacy and security offered. While open AI models are incredibly accessible, they do not safeguard your data which could lead to breaches.

There are more secure AI tools that are worth considering. Microsoft Copilot, for example, offers commercial data protection, meaning there’s no risk of confidential information being leaked and used against you.

Finally, invest in advanced tools. Your security will only be as strong as the software you use, so try to focus on protection rather than cost. You’ll be thankful for it in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to use AI against AI either. In the wrong hands, AI can aid malicious activity, but it can also protect people against it.

Some tools can predict cyber incidents, provide accurate analysis of the threat and fuel your response plan. AI can also help you to verify users and prevent unauthenticated persons infiltrating your systems, helping you to strengthen your security.

If you’re uncertain how to proceed, it is also worth reaching out to a cyber security consultant who can guide you forward with independent, expert advice.

Dharmesh is Co-Founder of TechnoFizi and a passionate blogger. He loves new Gadgets and Tools. He generally covers Tech Tricks, Gadget Reviews etc in his posts. Beside this, He also work as a SEO Analyst at TechnoFizi Solutions.


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