Search for ‘Artificial Intelligence’ on Google and you will see a staggering 734,000,000 results – the notion of AI has slowly made its way into the mainstream. AI is now considered to be a staple in the cybersecurity diets of many, and yet most individuals are still in the dark about artificial intelligence’s dual nature.

Considering the ever-evolving threat landscape of today, staying unaware of the potential threat posed by artificial intelligence can prove to be lethal for most organizations operating in today’s digital climate. Simply put, the sooner companies come to terms with the fact that AI is a double-edged sword, the better. Therefore, to aid our readers in understanding the two sides of AI, we’ve compiled an article that depicts both sides of the AI coin.

The positive side for AI

When the concept of AI was first introduced, most individuals tended to overlook the security potential of artificial intelligence in favor of a more ‘practical’ application, where results were more noticeable. Fortunately, however, cybersecurity specialists were quick to realize the staggering security potential that AI had and ended up collecting valuable insight into how the tech could virtually revolutionize the cybersecurity landscape.

With the advent of AI-centric cybersecurity tools and products, the security process has become extraordinarily streamlined and relies on minimal to zero input from humans. Along with automating detection and response processes, AI also equips organizations with the ability to concur with a timely response, which cuts on the finances devoted to cybersecurity.

To further demonstrate the lucrativeness of artificial intelligence implementation within the cybersecurity hemisphere, we’d like to go through some of AI’s application in cybersecurity, which includes the following:

1. Email scanning

With emails being the primary delivery technique for malicious links and attachments, cybersecurity specialists need to devise ways to detect corrupted emails before they infiltrate an organization’s security infrastructure. Fortunately, the power of artificial intelligence can be harnessed to detect phishing emails as well.

AI, combined with machine learning capabilities, proves to be an excellent means to detect phishing emails since they perform an in-depth inspection of the email. Moreover, the combination of anti-phishing tools with AI allows for simulation clicks on sent links, which ultimately points towards phishing signs, which may be present in any sender feature, including attachments, links, etc.

2. Combining AI with antivirus products

Although cybersecurity analysts focus on harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to formulate new cybersecurity tools, amalgamating AI with antivirus tools can play a pivotal role in identifying anomalies present within the network or the system.

Moreover, combining AI with antivirus products can also help enterprises combat malware programs using machine learning tactics. Once the AI algorithm has learned how legitimate programs interact within the organization’s digital infrastructure, an AI antivirus solution can quickly detect malware programs and drive them out of the system before the malware has accessed any system resources.

3. Modeling user behavior

Another real-time application of artificial intelligence in the cybersecurity world is when organizations and companies use AI to monitor and, consequently, model their system users’ behaviors. This practice comes extremely handy when an organization is faced with a takeover attack. A cybercriminal gains access to an employee’s credentials and uses these to wreak havoc on a company. Using a reliable username generator can also be useful in preventing any uncertain situation.

As more and more time elapses, AI learns of the user activities and sets the benchmark for what browsing habits constitute the norm for most users on the network. Suppose a hacker gains access to an employee’s credentials and leverages it to carry out cybercrime. In that case,- AI-powered systems can identify the unusual activity patterns and immediately alert the system admins of the suspicious activity.

4. Increased automation

AI can increase the automation of specific processes within an organization, which results in both time and money being saved. Furthermore, along with the automation of menial processes, AI can also play a critical role in system analysis.

Owing to the whopping amount of data generated by user activities, manually analyzing the task is nearly impossible to fulfill. Fortunately, with AI stepping in, system analysis can take place without the need for human input. Moreover, since the AI-powered system continuously monitors the network, malicious agents have a much higher chance of getting detected.

The darker side of AI

We will now discuss some of its more sinister aspects. As we’ve already mentioned, as the digital landscape welcomes an increasing number of technological advancements, so does the threat landscape. With rapid progress in the cybersecurity arena, cybercriminals have turned to AI to amp up on their sophistication.

One such way through which hackers leverage the potential of artificial intelligence is by using AI to hide malicious codes in otherwise trustworthy applications. The hackers program the code in such a way that it executes after a certain period has elapsed, which makes detection even more difficult. In some cases, cybercriminals programmed the code to activate after a particular number of individuals have downloaded the application, which maximizes the attack’s attack’s impact.

Furthermore, hackers can manipulate the power offered by artificial intelligence, and use the AI’s ability to adapt to changes in the environment for their gain. Typically, hackers employ AI-powered systems adaptability to execute stealth attacks and formulate intelligent malware programs. These malware programs can collect information on why previous attacks weren’t successful during attacks and act accordingly.

And if that wasn’t enough, hackers leverage AI to devise malware that is capable of mimicking trusted security components. Typically, these trusted security components contain information such as the company’s computation environment, preferred communication protocols, patch update cycles, etc. Not only does an AI-enabled malware make for almost undetectable attacks, but it also allows cybercriminals to launch lethal stealth attacks on an organization.

Final words

At the end of the article, we can only hope that we’ve presented to our readers a new look into both sides of the AI spectrum. Instead of pretending that AI is some messiah that can’t be tampered by cybercriminals, enterprise owners need to be prepared. With advances in AI, it can only be assumed that technology is a crucial facilitator of multiple cyberattacks in the future!

Source: Becoming Human

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