A Growing Threat: How AI Poses Risks to Cybersecurity in 2023

In the constantly evolving world of cybersecurity, one new factor stands out as both promising and risky: the integration of artificial intelligence (AI).

According to a recent survey by identity management security company Beyond Identity, most cybersecurity experts believe AI is a growing threat. People can use AI platforms like ChatGPT, GPT-4, and DALL-E 2 for good, but bad actors can also leverage these tools to commit crimes and breach security. In this article, we’ll explore Beyond Identity’s survey findings about the potential dangers of AI and how this technology may threaten cybersecurity in 2023.

ChatGPT Users Go Phishing

While many companies use AI to improve and streamline their security protocols, others have experienced AI-fueled cyber attacks. Over 1 in 6 cybersecurity experts have worked for companies that have suffered an AI-powered attack, with the most damage reportedly coming from phishing attacks. Medium-sized companies were the most likely to have suffered this kind of intrusion.

This finding may seem like a small percentage of companies affected; however, the majority of cybersecurity experts surveyed by Beyond Identity are sounding the alarm: 75% believe that AI use in cyberattacks is currently on the rise. Multiple specialists were concerned about the potential dangers AI-powered entities such as ChatGPT, GPT-4, and DALL-E 2 posed.

Sixty-percent of cybersecurity experts expressed concern that people will exploit the AI language model ChatGPT for cyberattacks this year. Respondents also identified the most common AI-fueled attack methods as:
  • Phishing scams (59%)
  • AI-powered malware (39%)
  • Advanced persistent threats (34%)
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks (34%)
These findings indicate a shift in cybercrime tactics, with malicious actors increasingly leveraging AI’s capabilities to carry out sophisticated and targeted attacks on individuals and businesses.

Fueling Advanced Threats

While AI excels at handling a lot of data, identifying spam, and spotting vulnerabilities in code in cybersecurity, this new technology could also lead to more advanced and effective cyber threats. Over half of the specialists (64%) surveyed thought so; they also shared the top five AI-related risks to cybersecurity, including:
  • Reduced human oversight
  • Over-reliance on AI
  • Increased vulnerability to cyberattacks
  • Data privacy issues
  • Lack of transparency
Such vulnerabilities create opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit the weaknesses in AI systems, leading to potentially devastating consequences for individuals and organizations.

Stealthy Malware Design

Nearly half of the cybersecurity professionals surveyed (47%) raised concerns about the ability of AI-powered platforms like ChatGPT, GPT-4, and DALL-E 2 to design malware that can evade detection. This capability could allow cybercriminals to deploy sophisticated attacks that bypass traditional security measures, making it harder for organizations to defend against and mitigate threats effectively.

Lacking Confidence in Defense

Perhaps most concerning of all, the survey revealed that half of the cybersecurity specialists lacked confidence in their respective companies’ ability to defend against future AI threats. This lack of confidence underscores the urgency for organizations to invest in robust cybersecurity strategies that account for the evolving role of AI in cyberattacks.

Collaboration for a Safer Future

As AI evolves and becomes more deeply integrated into our daily lives, businesses, governments, and individuals must proactively address the security challenges it poses. Strengthening AI security measures and developing innovative solutions to detect and mitigate AI-driven cyber threats must be a priority for the entire cybersecurity community moving forward.

Collaboration between AI developers and cybersecurity specialists is vital in understanding potential vulnerabilities and developing effective countermeasures. By uniting their expertise, they can ensure that AI technologies are developed with built-in security features and ethical considerations. Transparency in AI algorithms is also crucial, as it empowers cybersecurity professionals to identify potential weaknesses and stay one step ahead of malicious actors.

AI in Cybersecurity: Risks and Potential

The rise of AI in cybersecurity presents a dual-edged issue: It’s a promising tool to strengthen defenses but also an emerging threat in the hands of cybercriminals. The findings from Beyond Identity’s survey provide valuable insights into the concerns of cybersecurity professionals regarding AI’s potential dark side.

The risks posed by AI-powered cyber threats are real and require proactive measures to address. By building a more resilient cyber future through collaboration, education, and transparency, we can navigate the challenges posed by AI and create a safer digital landscape for everyone.

Read next: New Study Shows How AI is Boosting Ransomware
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