Summary: Organizations and bad actors alike are increasingly adopting AI and ML tools to optimize their operations. Companies can use these tools to automate processes related to business operations as well as cyber defense. It is vital to account for the growth of AI/ML and implement them effectively and securely.
There has been a massive boom in AI and ML products and services in recent years. As more and more AI/ML technologies have been both independently developed and integrated into existing tools, the use of these technologies has increased among organizations, individual consumers, and bad actors alike.
While AI/ML can be used in a number of ways to help companies in all sectors with business operations as well as security, cybercriminals are equally capable of taking advantage of these technologies for their own ends. It is vital for organizations to use AI/ML effectively and securely while accounting for the unique dangers of cybercriminals using AI/ML to enhance and optimize their attacks.
How AI/ML Can Help
The benefits of AI/ML are many, so long as tools are implemented and maintained in an efficient and secure manner. These tools can enable organizations and their IT and security teams to automate processes such as the triage, investigation, and remediation of potential security incidents. This means that skilled IT and cybersecurity professionals are able to spend less time on responding to security alerts and more time working on improving the organization’s security strategy in other ways that cannot be automated.
Implementing AI/ML technologies and capabilities can be difficult for organizations that lack the required cybersecurity expertise, but it can also help to cover the skills gap. One major benefit of AI/ML technology is the ability to analyze large data sets for suspicious or concerning behavior, taking a pile of security alerts that humans could never sift through and narrowing it down to just the events that require human intervention.
By utilizing AI and ML tools to expedite incident detection, response, and remediation, organizations can reduce the impact of potential threats. Faster response times and fewer false positives go a long way toward improving the process of detection and response, cutting down the workload for security professionals, and fortifying the organization’s security posture.
How AI/ML Can Hurt
As organizations of all sizes and in all sectors increasingly adopt AI/ML tools, cybercriminals are doing the same with their attacks. Companies should keep up to date on the threat landscape and recent trends, modifying their security strategies to account for new and evolving threats. Lately, many cybercriminal individuals and organizations have begun relying on AI/ML to optimize the efficiency and efficacy of their attacks.
Bad actors are able to use AI/ML to automate some of the processes on their end that tend to take up a great deal of time and effort. This includes the task of identifying vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems, creating custom malware, and even composing phishing emails. Thus, they are able to bypass security measures and launch attacks that are more sophisticated, faster, and more targeted.
Furthermore, cybercriminals can use AI/ML to their benefit to launch attacks that are able to evolve in real time. These attacks are highly adaptable and capable of analyzing network traffic patterns, changing in response to defensive measures, and precisely exploiting vulnerabilities without being detected. It is important for businesses to adopt security tools that can effectively fend off these extremely sophisticated attacks, and AI/ML should be part of that.
How to Implement and Prepare for AI/ML Use
It is important for organizations to be properly equipped to handle new and evolving threats and adopt advanced technologies to fortify their security postures. Changes in the threat landscape require changes in security strategies, and sophisticated attacks require sophisticated defenses. Crucially, AI/ML tools should be used in conjunction with traditional practices like zero trust security and employee security awareness training.
Because AI/ML can be used to enhance a variety of cybercriminal tactics, organizations should keep certain questions in mind as they attempt to defend against attacks. Bad actors can use AI/ML to compose more convincing phishing messages and deepfake voices for phone calls, so companies should use security tools and practices that account for the level of uncertainty in determining whether an email or phone call comes from a legitimate source. AI/ML tools can be used to detect and respond to these deceptive attacks.
Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment is also an important step. This allows IT and security professionals to implement AI/ML tools tailored to cover the specific issues that the organization is concerned with. Depending on where and how important data is stored, modified, and sent, different solutions can be implemented in different ways to protect what matters most to the organization.
As more companies adopt AI/ML tools to bolster their business operations and fortify their security postures, it is important to ensure that your organization is prepared for what that means. The increased adoption of AI/ML solutions among businesses and cybercriminals alike will make it difficult for organizations to carry out their own processes efficiently and securely without employing those tools.
ITEGRITI has deep experience across critical infrastructure cybersecurity programs, compliance, risk, and audit. Contact us today to learn how we can leverage this experience to help you accomplish your cybersecurity goals.
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