In the world of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the way we discover, respond, and recover from cyberattacks. But despite the several advancements of AI in cybersecurity, cyberattacks are becoming more and more dangerous because of AI. Cybercriminals are now leveraging existing artificial intelligence tools and AI-based technologies for use in their own attacks, and as a result, cyber threats and attacks are becoming harder to prevent.
In this post, we will uncover how AI is being weaponized for cyberattacks and what your organization can do to best prevent these attacks from happening. Let’s take a closer look.
What is weaponized AI?
Weaponized AI is the act of altering existing AI systems or developing new AI programs and tools to break down performance and disrupt normal operations. The goal of weaponized AI in cyber attacks is to infiltrate networks and systems faster than most organizations can fight against the attack by using unique capabilities of AI technologies. Capabilities like information retention learned intelligence and improved speed from automation. By weaponizing AI to model adaptable attacks and develop intelligent malware programs, cybercriminals have been able to program these attacks to collect knowledge of what prevented the attacks and what proved to be successful.
How is weaponized AI being leveraged to enhance cyberattacks?
Traditionally, AI technologies have enhanced cybersecurity solutions to improve the overall security posture of business networks. But as cybercriminals continue to leverage and weaponize AI, they’ve been able to develop smart malware programs that execute attacks at a rapid pace. Here are some ways that AI can be weaponized:
Altering AI algorithms: AI allows users the ability to improve speed, efficiency, and accuracy. But when altered with mal intent, cybercriminals can create precise and undetectable attacks, such as phishing attacks, at an increased speed.
Data poisoning: By using AI training data sets, cybercriminals can “poison” these data sets with bad data. In doing so, data is easily manipulated and altered to reflect incorrect data and thus affecting the accuracy of an organization’s system.
Input attacks: Cybercriminals can alter inputs into AI networks that set off incorrect or unexpected results. For instance, an attacker can use concealed malicious codes to benign applications, programming codes to “go off” at a specific time, even months after altering the code. This is all in an effort to maximize the impacts of their attacks by infiltrating an application when it is most vulnerable.
Mimicking trusted systems: Cybercriminals leverage AI technologies to develop malware capable of mimicking a controlled and secure system. As a result, cybercriminals have the ability to execute undetectable ransomware attacks as they integrate into a business’ security network.
Weaponized AI has now created space for cybercriminals to accelerate, scale, and increase the impact of the cyber attacks to the point where many networks don’t even have the time to respond appropriately. As such, the cybersecurity industry must gain a deep understanding of the techniques used by cybercriminals to develop effective robust cybersecurity frameworks and controls to prevent AI-powered attacks in the future.
How to best secure your network from weaponized AI?
Until there are adequate controls in place to prevent weaponized AI attacks, here are some of the best practices to ensure your network is protected at all times.
1. Maintain cybersecurity hygiene
Maintaining good cybersecurity hygiene means updating software, creating a cyber hygiene policy, ensuring password hygiene and management, limiting those with administrative access to the network, and more. While there are other best practices, keeping up to date with your network’s health can improve incident response time and can help prevent future cyber attacks.
2. Continuous monitoring
Continuous cybersecurity monitoring of your organization’s network helps discover weak or vulnerable systems that may fall prey to a weaponized AI attack. Your business should establish a continuous monitoring plan to ensure your network can identify and respond to new threat attempts, apply new controls to mitigate risk and monitor the ecosystem to ensure controls are effective.
3. SecurityScorecard Security Ratings
SecurityScorecard Security Ratings ensure consistent, data-driven ratings that your organization can use to influence cybersecurity measures and prevent weaponized AI attacks. In addition, security ratings provide an inside look at your security posture, allowing you to take preventive action even before a cyber attack.
As we look towards the future of weaponized AI attacks, it’s clear that these attacks will only continue to become more complex as cybercriminals become more versed in AI-based attacks. However, by implementing a continuous monitoring plan and receiving advanced insight from security ratings, your organization can work to prevent and stay ahead of weaponized AI attacks for tomorrow and beyond.
Want to see the cybersecurity ratings for your business? Request your free instant security scorecard and discover how your network can hold up against a cyber threat.