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The Risks of AI in Cybersecurity: What To Expect for 2024 and Beyond

The world of cybersecurity is constantly changing, with new technologies being developed and used worldwide. However, these technologies aren’t always used in ethical ways.

While artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity has provided benefits toward keeping companies safe, it has also been manipulated by threat actors who wish to exploit enterprises.

We’ll explore how AI in cybersecurity is changing, and what cyber threats utilize AI in order to help you know how to best protect your organization.


Why Is the Use of AI in Cybersecurity Increasing?

Automated Cyber Attacks

Enterprises worldwide now face the issue of automated malware creation and attacks being executed at an astonishing rate. This includes AI models capable of creating highly customizable malware to target each industry or organization specifically. 

In the coming years, we may even see the entire process of creating and launching cyber threats automated by AI, making it more accessible to inexperienced hackers.


Prevalence Across Several Industries

AI is now commonplace, and several models are now public-facing. Generative AI, in particular, is at risk, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This is because countries from all over the world have access to it, opening the doors to threat actors to take advantage of this tool. 

As more users worldwide begin to implement generative AI into their daily lives,  threat actors will have more targets, more opportunities to attack, and more accessibility to information that may not have originally been public.


3 Ways Threat Actors Use AI in Cybersecurity

1. Sophisticated Impersonation

With technology like deep fakes, AI is making it more and more difficult to distinguish between authentic faces and voices.

Threat actors who use AI for deep fake attacks target those who have ample video and audio data online, such as public speakers, politicians, podcasters, musicians, and more. For instance, singer Taylor Swift was a victim of deep fake technology in January 2024. The attack resulted in mass public outrage that spurned X (formerly known as Twitter) to remove all search results of Swift on their platform. Swift has been a victim of deep fake technology in the past; her appearance and voice have been manipulated by threat actors to falsely endorse companies and products.

This kind of technology, as well as the ability for threat actors to leverage AI to accelerate its use, is detrimental to both individuals and companies as their public image and reputation can be tarnished.


2. Advanced Phishing Attacks

Threat actors are now leveraging automation in AI to maximize advanced phishing tools. 

In tandem with deep fake and voice replication technology, social engineering and phishing attacks powered by automated AI will skyrocket the amount and success rate of phishing attacks across several industries. In fact, in 2023, phishing emails that used AI increased by 1,265% from previous years.

Threat actors have even begun crafting their own AI tools to boost the rate at which they can launch phishing attacks. DarkBard, WormGPT, PoisonGPT, and WolfGPT are just a few examples of generative AI tools used by threat actors to create flawless phishing emails at an astonishing rate.


3. Reverse-Engineered Attacks

With many open-source AI models available to the public, threat actors are using their own AI models to dissect public-facing AI by reverse-engineering how they operate. 

Threat actors can achieve this by contaminating data with their own data filled with malicious code. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has even stated that “Adversaries can deliberately confuse or even “poison” artificial intelligence (AI) systems to make them malfunction — and there’s no foolproof defense that their developers can employ.”

This creates more opportunities for threat actors to uncover entire databases of information input into publicly accessible AI, such as generative AI. Additionally, threat actors may then know what attacks, techniques, and tools to use against each AI model after a successful breach, potentially spreading that information to other cyber criminal networks.


Get Advanced Cybersecurity Solutions That Give You Peace of Mind

While the future of AI in cybersecurity presents a lot of concerns, there is no better defense against the digital unknown than investing in capable cybersecurity services.

That’s where Tec-Refresh can help. From managed security services to vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, Tec-Refresh can help your organization stay on top of evolving threats and fortify your cybersecurity landscape against malicious attacks.

See our full list of services, as well as comprehensive breakdowns of them, in our Managed IT & Security Services Brochure today.


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