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Weaponization of AI in Security

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Weaponization of AI in Security

The potential and possible applications of Artificial Intelligence security is enormous. Both security professionals and cyber-criminals use AI for their objectives alike. Read on to know about how AI is being used for the purpose of attack and defense…

Over the years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have grown exponentially to a higher level leading to the development of many applications. The applications of AI and ML are developmental and also malicious in nature.

According to the ‘Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence’ report, the weaponization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already begun and is now widely predicted to be one of the biggest cyber security threats this year.  The report which was contributed to by 26 authors from 14 various Institutions including academia, civil societies and Industries — believes that in addition to malicious hackers exploiting Machine Learning for malicious purposes, they now have to capability to target much larger organizations and cause extensive widespread damage.

Double-edged Sword
While some analysts in the cyber security sphere have advocated using Artificial Intelligence to overcome security gaps in the enterprise, actually AI can also be used for malicious hacking. Actually, application of AI in cyber security is a double-edged sword.

The Chosen Weapon
Unlike the conventional malware, for the hackers Artificial Intelligence has proven to be the ideal weapon of choice for unleashing DDoS attacks. Since Artificial Intelligence is easily scalable, extremely efficient and capable of making automated decisions, such as who, what, when, where and how to attack a network, AI has become the common tool for the hackers. In fact, in several cases Artificial Intelligence is actually capable of making better decisions and is more efficient than humans.

Security experts predict that malicious hackers will take advantage of Artificial Intelligence to drive more phishing attacks. They are likely to use AI to help design malware that’s even better at fooling ‘sandboxes’ or security programmes that try to spot rogue code before it is deployed in the enterprise systems.

Now hackers have exploited Artificial Intelligence to create personalized phishing attacks by collecting and analyzing data of their chosen targets from publicly available sources such as a person’s or businesses online presence, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

In addition to phishing attacks, AI can be also used to create thousands of malware-loaded, send automated fake emails at a much faster pace than any human.

Threat Mitigation
The rise of AI based machine-generated attacks is a cause for concern for every security professionals. The first step that can be implemented to prevent enterprises from falling prey to these attacks is to make sure that appropriate security measures are in place. The security measures can include patch and threat management systems, as well as identification and encryption of critical data.

The most crucial process of securing an enterprise network is by being proactive about network security. This can be achieved by ensuring that enterprises have the capability to rapidly change course when necessary just like Artificial Intelligence. Several security experts believe that implementing DDoS mitigation technology as a stand-alone defense system is adequate. However, this is not the right process. When the AI processes are firmly ingrained, it then becomes less challenging for enterprises to easily identify, quarantine and investigate events that are not considered the norm. When CISO makes security and governance a daily process, then enterprises can completely safeguard themselves against potential AI based attacks.

As more organizations embrace AI, and it continues to grow rapidly, hackers will continue to find new opportunities through AI and Machine Learning to create chaos within organizations. By ensuring that IT managers have a deep understanding of AI and Machine Learning, they should be confident in their ability to internally detect any anomalies and are well prepared to secure their organizations against even the most unpredictable AI attacks.

The Future
Artificial Intelligence along with Machine Learning has the potential and possibility to be exploited by both malicious hackers and security professionals. Both attackers and defenders in a cat and mouse game use Artificial Intelligence for their respective goals. In addition to driving cyber-attacks rapidly, AI can also change tactics and strategy just as fast so the AI driven defenses respond equally as quickly. The decisive factor is in identifying what is normal in the AI behavioral analysis and then identifying behaviors that are irregular or unusual.

As Artificial Intelligence continues to learn, and malicious attacks using AI and ML become more complex, IT managers should safeguard their organizations from these threats.

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