Vulnerable or safe with AI?

text: Kerstin Wiström

"With the rapid evolution of technology and the increasing complexity of cyber threats, artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly crucial role in cybersecurity."

That's how confidently AI describes itself in response to a question about the link between AI and cybersecurity - and of course it's true - AI provides a wealth of opportunities to strengthen cybersecurity.

Some of the main ones are:  

- Easier to identify and predict threats
AI systems
can be trained to identify previously known threats but also to predict new threats and risks based on previous patterns.

- Protecting the system
AI can monitor systems and networks to detect suspicious activity that could be indicative of an attack, quickly alert you to anomalies, and take action to protect the system.

- Identifying vulnerabilities
AI can analyze code and configuration files to find weaknesses in systems and applications, thereby suggesting ways to improve security and protect against attacks.

- Detecting anomalous behavior
AI can be used to protect against fraud, where attackers try to manipulate people to gain unauthorized access to systems or information. By analyzing communication and behavioral patterns, AI systems can identify suspicious or fraudulent behavior and alert users to potential threats.

But AI is not only a good thing, it also makes us more vulnerable, for example through:

- Smart attacks
In the same way that honest people use AI to detect malware, less honest people can use AI to create malware that can avoid detection by AI-based security systems. A bit of a cat and mouse game.

- Theft of AI technology
Attackers may try to steal or copy valuable AI models to use them for malicious purposes or for their own gain.

- Manipulation of data
Attackers may try to alter or falsify data to make systems or people act inappropriately.

- Confidentiality and privacy risks
If AI handles sensitive data, there may be a risk of data breach and leakage of personal information.

AI is thus a double-edged sword to act in the new cyber reality. It highlights the importance of IT security and having knowledge and insight into both risks and opportunities. When a breach occurs, it is often us who are at fault. Up to 90% of all data breaches happen because of the human factor, often due to mistakes we make in everyday life, such as quickly clicking on a wrong link or sharing our password in a situation when we shouldn't have. Just like AI, we humans can be both a threat and a defense - the latter with the right knowledge.

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