The digital environment is changing and evolving. Implementing and developing new technology can be a double-edged sword. It can help with protecting the organization and improving the world. But some can also use it to exploit other people and assist in various cyberattacks.
One of such disruptive technologies is artificial intelligence. AI has changed the cyber game, and it has led to many surprising discoveries and applications. But hackers and other malicious actors have also realized the vast potential. So they started implementing it in their malicious software.
Let’s see how hackers can abuse AI capabilities for their own profit and how to protect yourself against them. Also, check out: How Macs Now Face Twice More Threats than Windows PC [2020 Analysis].
What Are AI-Assisted Cyberattacks?
Recent developments in the world of AI have enabled both hackers and regular digital experts to improve their technology. AI is becoming an integral part of many technologies. As a security solution, users can use in many ways, including:
- Modeling user behavior
- Automating network systems
- System analysis
- Antivirus application
- Scanning emails
But there are also many different ways malicious actors can use this type of technology, including:
- Mimicking voices
- Mimicking faces
- Concealing malicious code
- Collecting and analyzing data from previous attacks to improve and optimize future attacks
Hackers can now also use AI to simulate trusted system components. They can use AI-assisted software to teach their malware about the cyber security infrastructure and the environment of an organization. For example, they can learn about communication protocols, patches and security updates, when the systems are the most vulnerable, etc.
Smart malware is dangerous. It can have a devastating impact on any organization within a short time frame. The most appealing thing about AI is the fact that it can learn, adapt, and improve on its own. It increases the pool of possibilities and ways of how hackers can execute their attacks.
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Recent AI-Assisted Cyber-Attack Examples
One of the most notable cases in the last few years is the TaskRabbit attack. TaskRabbit is an online platform that acts as a marketplace and connects freelancers with clients. In April 2018, a massive AI-assisted cyber-attack affected its four million users. Hackers collected their bank details and social security numbers. They used a sizable AI-controlled bot network. Their slave machines performed a devastating DDoS attack on the servers of the company. They had to shut down the entire site to restore the system security.
One of the most interesting AI-assisted cyberattacks is the one where hackers taught their computers to mimic the voice of a CEO. Namely, the CEO of a UK-based energy company was tricked into thinking that he was talking to the CEO of their parent company in Germany. But, all along, he was speaking to a machine that mimicked the CEO’s voice. Hackers demanded a transfer of $243,000, which they received. Then, they went a bit too far by requesting another transfer, which made the company suspicious.
As you can see, AI-assisted cyber attacks can be difficult to spot and prevent. But by using some precautionary measures, you might be able to avoid them. Also, check out these Best Tips Keep Your Fortnite Accounts Safe from Hackers.
What to Do to Protect Yourself?
Company owners need to continually improve and update their cybersecurity infrastructure to protect their organization. But a couple of simple precautionary measures can make the job much more difficult for hackers. Here’s what your company and your employees should do.
1. Leave Password Creation to Software
Sometimes, only one weak password is enough to compromise a whole organization. And the threat is even more significant when hackers involve AI. They can teach it to guess what password you may use next. That’s why everyone should stop creating passwords by themselves. That’s what software is for.
You can use password managers to suggest strong passwords and store them. When you use a robust password, it can take decades and billions of attempts to crack it. Make sure to use software that has zero knowledge encryption (the developer can’t see your passwords) and remember the encryption key to ensure that your passwords don’t get lost.
2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is another outstanding security measure that effectively reduces the chances of hacks. There are many different forms of multi-factor authentication, such as:
- Biometrics (e.g., facial recognition)
- Email confirmation
- SMS confirmation
- One-time passwords
- USB devices
If hackers breach the initial layer of authentication, for example, passwords, they still wouldn’t be able to get in. In the same way, they couldn’t perform some actions without completing the second and the third step of authentication. And that they couldn’t do unless they have your phone, fingerprint data, etc.
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Artificial intelligence has improved a lot of things in the digital environment. But it has also caused a lot of damage by being a part of many recent cyberattacks. Because these types of attacks are challenging to recognize and mitigate, you must think ahead. All companies should introduce as many preventative measures as possible to create a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.