How can organisations protect themselves against AI-driven cyberattacks?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly one of the most definitive technologies of today. With every AI development and new product, we take one more giant stride into the future. However, before we cry out ‘what a time to be alive!’, we also know too well that there are downfalls to iron out.

AI can be problematic in terms of its ethics, in terms of a potential cyber uprising (!), in terms of fears of replacing humans, and more. Another pressing matter is how AI might drive the efforts of cyberattackers. Ironically, it’s a double-edged sword – while AI has proven useful in boosting cybersecurity, it may also be paving new paths for malicious actors.

Secure before it strikes

AI-enabled cyberattacks have the potential to manifest in a number of ways, turning mitigation into a not-so-fun game of Whack-a-Mole. Although there are no instances of this attack style yet, it’s important to get ahead of the threat while you can. Unknown threats are among the biggest thorns in your security team’s side, as the team and your cybersecurity solutions can only really combat what they know.

In particular, fears are (quite rightly) brewing that we could be facing a generation of AI-enabled malware. This malware type would leverage AI and machine learning to snake its way around systems. In doing so, it can find vulnerabilities while keeping a low profile.

To make matters worse, the machine learning aspect can reinforce attack strength. More specifically, if a threat was unsuccessful in terms of penetrating your infrastructure, it can keep trying again and learning until it does.

Furthermore, AI can be used to create deepfakes, which are poised to wreak havoc, not just for celebrity dubbing, but for enterprise trickery too. Earlier this year, headlines broke that a CEO had been swindled out of more than £200,000 using AI-generated deepfake technology to feign his voice on a call to an employee.

Thoughts for the future

Unfortunately, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of AI-enabled threat capabilities. What’s worse, there is no hard-and-fast preparation for organisations to follow. However, organisations can take a leaf out of fighting fire with fire. This means heightening your AI cybersecurity as best as you can. It makes sense to; AI-driven cybersecurity is among the most forward-thinking and innovative solutions of our time.

Your best asset though, is preparation and education. Make your teams aware of the possible impending threat and encourage vigilance and proactivity. As well as this, ensure you are able to adapt quickly once the threats start coming.

Find out who won at the Women’s Cybersecurity Awards in this episode of Tech Chat.