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Report: Cyber security pros fear AI will do more harm than good

A recent survey has found that an overwhelming majority of cyber security experts believe that “malicious AI” is closer than we think.

Report: Cyber security pros fear AI will do more harm than good
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“Understanding the profound impact of AI on cyber security is crucial for navigating the evolving threat landscape,” said Laura Wilber, senior industry senior at Enea, one of the sponsors of the survey. “That begins by listening closely to the concerns and hopes of cyber security leaders and their teams on the front lines.”

The Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity Report found that 76 per cent of professionals surveyed felt that a truly malicious artificial intelligence (AI) – one that can bypass known security systems – was not far away.

More alarmingly, 26 per cent feel this will happen inside the next 12 months, while half believe the time frame to be closer to five years. Overall, 62 per cent of cyber security experts believe offensive AI will “develop faster” than defensive AI.

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Rogue AI – which ignores its designed purpose and effectively does its own thing – is another fear of 77 per cent of those surveyed.

Traditional cyber threats – such as phishing, identity fraud, and social engineering – are also seen as likely to get a boost from the use of AI by threat actors.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Vulnerability analysis and threat detection are also seen as likely to get a boost from AI integration, while deep learning could be used to detect malware hiding itself in encrypted traffic. Overall, 48 per cent of professionals see AI as having a “positive impact”.

That said, 61 per cent of organisations have not deployed AI at any great scale, and only 41 per cent see it as a priority. Holding back this adoption is a lack of knowledge; while half of those polled felt their company possessed “extensive knowledge”, about a third felt they had “no-to-minimal knowledge” on the subject.

“Understanding the profound impact of AI on cyber security is crucial for navigating the evolving threat landscape,” Wilber said in a statement. “That begins by listening closely to the concerns and hopes of cyber security leaders and their teams on the front lines.”

“This report confirms growing concerns around the malicious use of AI, but it also highlights some remarkable innovations in the use of AI to streamline and automate defences. Significant gains have already been made, such as a reduction in the average time it takes to detect and contain threats. However, AI is not a one-size-fits-all solution – it’s essential that businesses take a clear and methodical approach to implementing AI strategies in order to achieve maximum readiness and resilience.”

You can read the full report here.

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