Artificial intelligence (AI) is a fast-expanding technology with the potential to change the way we live, work and socialize. Like any new technology, AI comes with its own set of pros and cons. However, the use of artificial intelligence by hackers, and the exploitation that follows is among the biggest concerns looming over the security domain.
The potential use of the technology was intended to automate the process of identifying software and networks’ vulnerabilities, making it difficult for hackers to find and exploit weaknesses. However, hackers are exploiting AI to develop more sophisticated malware and phishing attacks that are harder to detect and defend against.
Researchers have also found that modern AI tools (the ones within reach of a common person) can also analyze large amounts of data, such as network traffic, to identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate a security breach. In short, while AI can help organizations protect data, it is equally terrifying if hackers can use it to target databases and online identities.
This simple yet effective ideology mimics real-world crimes. Looking at the rate AI is integrating into our daily lives, it is inevitable to stop criminals from adapting AI to their crimes of gaining unauthorized access and stealing sensitive information from their target organizations.
The nerve-wracking relationship between hackers and AI
Since the origin of the internet, many wanna-be hackers and authentic criminals, have used sophisticated tools and strategies to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and steal critical information.
As the rule of evolution applies in the modern world, the introduction of artificial intelligence has filled a big void of resources and accessibility — inadvertently paving the way for hackers to be more imaginative when planning and strategizing online fraud.
Another way AI is helping hackers is that the risk factor has increased, and finding the culprits behind each attack has become more complex and difficult to detect.
A good example of this is that AI-powered malware can evade traditional security measures by adapting to changes in the system and disguising itself as legitimate software.
Additionally, AI-powered phishing attacks can be more convincing than conventional phishing attacks, as they can use natural language processing to mimic the language and style of the target organization.
All these factors make hackers a formidable weapon as they can use the same technology intended to stop them as their ally. So, who is to blame? Is AI a friend to humanity or a dark silhouette of destruction waiting to ambush?
Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity
Contrary to all the criminal activities that have been happening in the world using artificial intelligence, cybersecurity specialists also use AI to protect against these threats.
Like for every thief, there has to be a police officer; the security domain also opted for AI-powered tools and systems that detect and respond to cyber attacks in real-time.
These tools are equally capable and effective against threat actors and have proven to be an ally for security-driven professionals. AI-powered threat intelligence platforms can analyze vast amounts of data from multiple sources to identify and predict potential threats.
With the right direction and intent, these tools can also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of incident response teams.
An industry-standard AI-powered security incident and event management (SIEM) solution can automatically correlate and analyze log data from multiple sources, providing incident responders with real-time visibility into the scope and scale of an attack.
A good example is when a malicious hacker uses bots to try and enter into a system through keylogging or other kinds of attacks against IT systems. AI can detect these attempts at entry through machine learning algorithms and alert security teams about possible threats.
Cybersecurity specialists use artificial intelligence (AI) in various ways to enhance their ability to protect networks and systems from cyber threats.
However, it is worth noting that AI is still a part of the human world — not the other way around, and it comes with its own limitations. However, as cunning as they are, cyber criminals use the same technology but break and mould it into its antagonistic form, deviating AI from its original purpose.
These modded AI-based programs can then evade detection and become more sophisticated, making the process of detection and mitigation problematic for cybersecurity companies.
However, since AI has just started its journey, the solutions that come out of AI-based products have a high rate of false positives and negatives, which can lead to a false sense of security.
Is AI a friend or foe?
There is no denying that AI is a powerful tool that has the potential to make or break the world we live in. While the current AI wave is helping users automate their mundane tasks or is simply helping them be more creative, a big surge of AI-based malware and cyberattacks poses a considerable risk, particularly in cybersecurity.
Hackers use AI to exploit vulnerabilities and steal sensitive information, while cybersecurity specialists use AI to protect against these threats.
SMEs, big corporations, and even individuals who use the internet must stay on their toes and take a multi-layered approach to security to protect against constantly evolving cyber threats.
The age of internet connectivity has given us many gifts and something that made human life simpler, removing the mundane tasks that once required human effort. However, the internet age also made everything easily accessible —- even for those who steal and commit fraud.
In some extreme cases, it has been seen that AI chatbots and other AI-powered platforms are being used to develop a botnet (a network of infected computers under the control of a hacker) that can take over thousands of devices in an instant.
It is crucial to understand that using AI means there are few chances for victims to catch hold of them before they cause irreparable damage to systems and data. To understand how hackers use AI, one needs to know how they think and their philosophy or why they do what they do.
The philosophy of hackers, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity
The philosophy of hackers on artificial intelligence (AI) can vary widely, as many different groups and individuals identify as hackers.
Some hackers may view AI as a powerful tool that can improve various aspects of society, while others may see it as a threat to privacy and autonomy.
Some hackers may believe that AI should be open and accessible to all, while others may feel that it should be closely guarded and regulated.
One primary concern is that as AI becomes more advanced, it may outsmart traditional security measures and enable new cyber attacks.
At the same time, many experts believe that AI can significantly enhance cybersecurity by allowing more effective threat detection and response.
Some in the field of cybersecurity may also have concerns about the ethical implications of using AI in security, such as issues related to privacy and bias.
The philosophy of cyber security within the two groups is guided by their intent and will because AI is the catalyst of good and evil, depending upon how one aims to use it.