Could AI Be Used To Fuel Cybercrime?
In insight / By Mark Flynn / 04 September 2018
Cybercrime and cyber defence continue to evolve with new technologies and new methodologies.
The first and most obvious next step is the integration of AI into cybersecurity. AI technology for some time now has been used in a number of ways such as screening for junk mail and phishing attempts, but as the technology continues to mature, the number of ways it can be used continues to increase.
For example, cybersecurity AI could recognise an attempt to hack your systems and then stop it before it ever becomes a problem and then share that information with other security AIs whilst receiving information on other threats in turn. Then, of course, there’s the fact that an AI could take care of simple routine tasks for your IT department which would free them up to do more specialised tasks.
Of course, if it can be used in defence, criminals will look for ways for it to be used in attacks. Whilst businesses and other large organisations may have the lead in using AI in cybersecurity, cybercriminals are hot on their heels in order to make use of it.
There are two styles of attack an AI could be useful in. Firstly, it could be used to take care of the more tedious sides of hacking. An AI could be used to orchestrate and plan mass phishing attempts. A large number of those emails will simply be deleted and fail but that doesn’t matter as an AI could send thousands of emails at any one time.
Secondly, an AI could be useful in aiding more personalised attacks. For instance, the AI could learn the mannerisms and speech patterns of an individual and then use that information to try to trick others into falling for a scam. Alternately the AI could focus on someone’s cybersecurity defences and try to find any holes in the software that could be abused by the hacker.
The other shift in cybersecurity is the move away from theft into cyber alteration. Instead of deleting data or holding you to ransom a hacker could manipulate the data for their own gain.
For instance, a hacker could choose to manipulate company performance data in order to push a company’s stock and shares prices up. Once the issue is found out the prices will quickly fall but by that time the hacker has already made a profit simply by manipulating data rather than stealing something and leave a trail of obvious problems.