Cybersecurity providers are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to counter the latest security threats, but could AI be more of a force for bad than good in the cybercrime world?
A new report written by a group of 26 experts spanning industry, civil society and academia has warned that the growth of AI capabilities could actually spur cybercrime and security threats.
It makes several recommendations, including that policy makers should collaborate closely with technical researchers to investigate, prevent and mitigate potential malicious uses of AI.
Among its concerns is that AI could lower the barrier of entry for labour-intensive cyberattacks such as spear phishing.
"We also expect novel attacks that exploit human vulnerabilities (eg through the use of speech synthesis for impersonation), existing software vulnerabilities (eg through automated hacking), or the vulnerabilities of AI systems (eg through adversarial examples and data poisoning)," the report stated.
Report co-author Dr Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, executive director of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, said: "We live in a world that could become fraught with day-to-day hazards from the misuse of AI and we need to take ownership of the problems because the risks are real. There are choices that we need to make now, and our report is a call to action for governments, institutions and individuals across the globe."
However, Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of next-generation end-point security vendor Crowdstrike, argued that those tasked with protecting data will win the AI "arms race".
"There are going to be improvements on both sides; this is an ongoing arms race. AI is going to be extremely beneficial, and already is, to the field of cybersecurity. It's also going to be beneficial to criminals. It remains to be seen which side is going to benefit from it more," Alperovitch was quoted as saying in the Guardian.
"My prediction is it's going to be more beneficial to the defensive side, because where AI shines is in massive data collection, which applies more to the defence than offence."
Guy Golan, CEO of cybersecurity provider Performanta, told CRN: "AI is here whether we like it or not. Everyone will have to use AI or they will be stuck behind and we see tremendous value coming from AI in the form of end-point detection and response [systems]. You can say you are going to ban it, but how would you do that exactly? Regulation wont' stop it."
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