The Future Impact of AI on Cyber Crime

Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

The Future Impact of AI on Cyber Crime

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change the face of computer security in multiple ways. On one hand, the adoption of smart technologies makes hackers evolve and use more sophisticated methods to open the backdoor in even well-protected devices and sow chaos. On the other hand, security developers and testers can use machine learning algorithms that can automatically recognize the signs of a cyber attack and interrupt them before a crisis occurs.

Although experts’ opinions on the subject are polarized, there is no exact reason to treat AI as a blessing or curse for security. Rather, it’s similar to the race — Artificial Intelligence offers solutions both to protectors and cyber attackers, and it’s only speed and innovative thinking that can decide who’ll win the battle.

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AI-based security threats

Although hacking algorithms indeed are getting smarter with every passing year, the most dangerous are the ones that you never see coming. An experienced user can easily spot a message that was written by a bot by its style and contents.

Machine learning can shake things up

Artificial Intelligence is already widely used to personalized commercial email, create personalized special offers, and send follow-ups. It’s embedded into CRMs and marketing automation platforms, precisely because machine learning can analyze customers’ feedback and improve the results of the campaign automatically. The business owners only get personalized reports and can approve or decline the improvement — not a second goes wasted on manual work.

A similar system can be easily used for phishing methods. An AI-based platform can monitor personal emails of targeted users, analyze contents, feedback, on-page behavior, and figure out a personalized way to target a person. The AI-based malware can go as far as to send the letters from your account, mimicking the behavior of the user. In the worst-case scenario, the recipient will never suspect that the conversation is conducted by a bot and will send a transaction, share credit card credentials and other types of personal financial information.

Such technology might seem to be a sci-fi fantasy at first, but it’s a likely development. Similar systems are already used for client relationship management, planning, and big data analysis. It’s only a question of time when the technique migrates to online attacks.

AI-based hardware invasions

Even now, data breaches aren’t surprising anymore. Hackers are capable of compromising a user database of a large company, as an example Equifax company, and get into a well-secured cloud service. The company loses its reputation and clients’ data is put in jeopardy.

The increasing usage of smart assistants and intelligent smartphones with real-time tracking provides hacking with potential data to ultimate personal data collection. AI might be able to install itself on the device, only o monitor at first the kind of hardware and software that are used by the smartphone or laptop.

Then, by tweaking privacy settings or hardware specifications, Artificial Intelligence can figure out a way to transmit data from cameras and microphones. Potentially, it could become a case of global espionage. Sure, it will take a while for hackers to implement this on a more or less global scale, but we already have technical possibilities to execute a similar feat.

Big businesses aren’t safe

We often talk about a shocking number of cybersecurity threats that target small companies — in fact, the majority of the attacks are directed towards SMBs. However, hackers equipped with AI can use technologies to target national organization or oil rigs.

By making a relatively small change to geographical data, an oil rig will use faulty data to drill for oil in the wrong place that inflicts long-term damage on the oil company. It can be a way to threaten new oil and gas projects — and AI will do all the main work, minimizing the chances of human error.

AI-based security solutions

Artificial Intelligence can do a lot of harm to the software system. The good news is, it can also reverse or even prevent the inflicted damage. Let’s take a look at the three main answers the technology provides to these three pressing issues.

Automated threat detection

Artificial Intelligence can analyze interactions within the company and monitor the online activities of the employees to detect potentially dangerous situations. Such a system can come in handy if employees aren’t equipped with the knowledge required to recognize compromising situations immediately.

The Hacker News

The AI-based system will create a set of criteria of “normal” behavior — this will be a complex evaluation that is based on multiple factors and sub-factors. Whenever an event doesn’t fit the “normal” description, the software will notify IT professionals who are responsible for online security and flag compromised devices, accounts, files, or networks. AI will learn on its own experiences, becoming more precise in danger detection — with time, the algorithm might not even require human supervision.

This provides an answer to the first problem — AI can be capable of detecting suspicious “humanized” fishing attacks that could be missed by a human.

Smart damage prevention

AI-based platforms can collect data on recent data branches and analyze used techniques as well as evaluate the behavior of people who are responsible for the major threats. This information can be collected in detailed profiles that will later make up a united database.

NSFOCUS

As soon as these insights are obtained, such a system can contact a company or individuals to inform about potentially harmful activity. The predictions can include the threat description, previous risks analysis, and assign a score for each potential threat.

In theory, such a database can work not only within one corporation but assure the safety of multiple organizations, institutions, and businesses.

Biometric data can substitute traditional login systems

A year ago, Amazon faced a serious data crisis that led to many accounts getting compromised in a day. The security team, however, didn’t urge users to change their passwords, potentially endangering their profiles — seeing how personal information has likely been leaked to the dark web.

This situation could be avoided with AI-based login systems. Biometric registration mechanism can use fingerprint scans and eye scans to ensure the safety of financial or health-related data. Although such a complex system won’t likely be adopted by mainstream websites or social media, it can be incredibly useful to banks, hospitals, and government institutions.

Final thoughts

Artificial Intelligence can leverage data and improve its understanding of possible security threats with machine learning algorithms. With a profound reasoning system, AI can identify the logical connections between risks, detect the profiles of the most active hackers, define compromised data and devices.

Finally, AI saves time and money that would otherwise be required to hire and train IT security specialists. Sure, companies will still need a security supervisor — a competent person or small team who will oversee the process, but these expenses will be reduced drastically due to automation.