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Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence - A Nightmare or a New Opportunity?

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

We are in an exciting phase of the Internet revolution.


Artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and Bard are the talk of the town.


And there are plenty of experts who are concerned about them too.


Cybersecurity is a field that has been using AI for a while.


However, everyone having access to powerful AI tools is concerning.


Let’s talk facts and debunk the myths today -


👉 What is AI and where does it intersect with cybersecurity?


👉 How is AI used to improve cyber security?


👉 What are the risks associated with it?


👉 What's the future of the intersection between the two?



In this article, we're going to discuss all the above and more.


Let’s begin by addressing what AI is and building it up from there.


What is AI and where does it intersect with cybersecurity?

Artificial Intelligence is basically developing intelligent systems.

The goal is to get them to reason, learn and make decisions.


The concept is to mimic human intelligence, hence the name.


We’ll quickly dive into Machine Learning (ML) because it’s often confused with AI.


Yes, they are different.


Machine Learning is used to understand data and learn from it without any human intervention, through pre-written algorithms.


So, they use historical data to predict future patterns, among other things.


Machine Learning is one of the many approaches used to create AI systems.

So, ML is the subset of Artificial Intelligence. You can read more about the differences HERE.


How does it relate to cybersecurity?


Several top companies like IBM, Symantec, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks use AI in their cybersecurity.


One of the foremost examples is the Falcon Platform by CrowdStrike.

Sounds complicated?

We’ll simplify it!

It continuously collects data from the devices and sends it to AI-based cloud systems.

The data is about processes, network connections or files, among other things.


This data is then analyzed by ML algorithms.


The patterns are identified and any abnormal behavior is reported. It’s also capable of proactively defending the network without human intervention.


This can stop or reduce the impact of breaches.

And helps respond to threats efficiently, improving overall cyber security.


AI can be a very reliable defender because it’s faster and more accurate than humans in most cases.


This is just one example.

However, there are several other ways in which cybersecurity can be enhanced using AI.

Let’s dive deeper into it.


How is AI used to improve cyber security?

AI has one distinct advantage over humans.


Their margin of error is negligible once it’s been programmed to work a certain way.

Not only that, but it’s also much faster and more efficient in several cases.


AI can be trained to identify and mitigate cyber security threats.

How exactly?

Let’s get you into the world of AI-based cybersecurity.


The superpower of AI is to be able to detect patterns that humans may not always be capable of.


They can also help in malware and phishing detection, saving users from scams.


Moreover, it can also detect and proactively protect against network intrusions.


These aspects of AI in cybersecurity help in reducing threats.



Neural fuzzing is another fascinating application of AI for cybersecurity.


Don’t worry, we’ll explain what that means.


Fuzzing is basically automated software testing.


What is it testing?


Whether the software is ready to be released in the market.


And if all the data on there would be safe from cyberattacks.


Let’s say, we made a gaming app.


Fuzzing can be used to detect cybersecurity vulnerabilities.


If we find out that a hacker can use those vulnerabilities to steal data.


We’ll inform the software team who created the game.


They will fix that issue in the code (called patching) to prevent hackers from exploiting it.


Now, fuzzing can be made much more efficient with AI.


How?

Because AI can create and test such data much faster as compared to humans.


Neural fuzzing uses the power of AI to complete this process more efficiently.


It can test several inputs simultaneously.


(Note: AI uses Artificial Neural Networks for learning, which is why the word Neural is used)



Microsoft has used this to improve its software and patch issues.


This method leads to significantly reducing software errors and making it highly secure.

We know that top companies are using AI for cybersecurity.


And with the right systems, you can ensure the safety of your digital infrastructure.

However, AI's use cases span beyond that.


With over 30% of respondents in the financial services industry, using AI for their products. (SOURCE)

With AI penetrating almost every industry, many concerning downsides have come into the limelight.


What are the risks associated with it?


AI is revolutionary for the field of cybersecurity.


And it’s assisting us to build proactive and secure systems.


But it’s not all smooth sailing.


These AI systems are dangerous in the wrong hands.


And we’ll show you exactly why -


1) Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks involve deceiving people to obtain sensitive information.


They pose as someone else (Eg: Fake Amazon Customer Support)


And use fake links to get information to scam you (Eg: Credit Card Details)


They may also install a virus on your system or some software that gives them control of your system.


We’ve spoken about it in detail HERE.


What’s AI have to do with this? Everything.


96% of phishing attacks arrive by email. (SOURCE)


And AI can be used to write a very convincing phishing email.

(Note: As a safety feature, AIs don’t directly provide such an email directly if you ask them to write a phishing email but you can write prompts to trick them into writing one for you)


So, vigilance for such phishing attacks needs to be at an all-time high.



2) Data Collection

Data is the new oil is not just a phrase.


The more the data, the better and more efficient the AI model.


AI models need to be trained on a lot of data to get better.


Eg: Google has around 8.5 billion searches in a day, and with each search, the AI model learns from the data and provides more accurate results.


The same can be said about ChatGPT, Bard, etc.


Now, to train a cybersecurity AI...


Many different malicious codes and malware are needed.


And most organizations don’t have the resources to get so much data.


Without adequate and accurate data, the AI is virtually useless.


As it does not have enough inputs to be able to detect and defend such attacks.


This makes it difficult for smaller businesses as inaccurate or insufficient data can be counterproductive.



3) The War of AI

Technology has been leveraged by humans for the betterment of people.


However, the same technology that helps with nuclear power generation can be used to create atomic bombs.


It’s the same case with AI as well.


Hackers can test and improve their malware using their own AI.


Which will make it more difficult for AI cybersecurity tools to stop an incoming attack.

They could come up with more advanced and AI-proof attacks on systems.


So, essentially, it becomes a battle between two AI's.



4) Neural Fuzzing

Didn’t we speak about how incredible this was?


We’re not changing our stance.

But we’ll provide an alternate perspective.


As we mentioned, neural fuzzing is used to find vulnerabilities in systems.


But what if it's in the wrong hands?


Hackers can use this data to attack and take down systems or steal data.


Even though neural fuzzing can be used to secure IT systems and software.


It can be exploited by hackers for malicious purposes.


It's a double-edged sword, like most of the technological advancements.


AI is indeed a technological marvel.

But it’s only as good as the intent with which it’s used.


If powerful AI models fall into the wrong hands, it will be chaotic.

The risks associated with it are concerning, as we highlighted with the above points.


"Artificial Intelligence is only as good as the intent with which it is used"

So, let's further analyze the future of AI and cybersecurity.


What's the future of the intersection between the two?


Currently, there are a lot of developments in the field of AI.


The global cybersecurity market is projected to grow to $2 trillion by 2030.


To put that into perspective.

The growth projection is twentyfold as compared to today.


You can read more about it HERE.

"Artificial Intelligence market is projected to grow twentyfold to $2 trillion by 2030."

However, many tech and AI pioneers like Elon Musk, Yoshua Bengio, and Steve Wozniak have raised concerns.

They have also called for an immediate pause on creating more powerful AI systems.


According to them, there should be guidelines for creating such models.

With global concerns rising, governments are also considering AI regulations.


The United Nations has urgently called for a creation of an international watchdog for AI development. (SOURCE) Whatever the resolution they come up with, cybersecurity will be a growing concern.


And hackers WILL use AI tools with malicious intent.


So what can we do?

We can ramp up our cybersecurity infrastructure.


Keeping up with AI and cybersecurity technologies.


But with rapid development in the industry, it’s a major challenge for in-house teams.


Especially if the financial resources provided to them are limited.

Thankfully, we have a feasible and more secure alternative. Entrust the cybersecurity of your systems to trustworthy organizations.

MailSPEC can assist you with its state-of-the-art cybersecurity services.


Our products have been ANSSI Certified, and we constantly upgrade to the latest technologies and keep your systems safe.

Invest in cybersecurity before AI becomes a threat to your organization’s existence.

"Technological advancements have pros and cons, it’s about who wins the game before the other."

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Artificial intelligence is evolving at a rapid pace with no signs of it halting anytime soon.


Hackers can use it to attack your system without any human intervention.

Thankfully, AI systems are being trained to fend off cyber threats too.


In such testing times, you should safeguard yourself with reliant cybersecurity experts.


Upgrade your cybersecurity arsenal today!


Stay SPECtacular and we’ll see you around with more lessons from the cybersecurity world.

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