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Generative AI in Cybersecurity: A Double-Edged Sword

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TL;DR

  • Generative AI enhances cybersecurity but is also used by cybercriminals for powerful scams.
  • National security agencies benefit from generative AI, but it’s not a magic fix; skilled users become more effective.
  • Generative AI strengthens cybersecurity but worries experts as hackers use it for advanced phishing attacks.

In cybersecurity, the adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) has become a pivotal tool for practitioners in their ongoing battle against cyber threats. While this innovative technology offers marked benefits, it also presents new challenges as malicious actors increasingly harness its power to enhance attacks. 

Rob Joyce, Director of Cybersecurity at the National Security Agency (NSA), recently emphasized the significant advantages that generative AI brings to the table in identifying and countering malicious activities. However, he also acknowledged the growing concerns surrounding its misuse by cybercriminals.

A force for good: Strengthening cybersecurity

At an event held at Fordham University in New York, Rob Joyce spoke enthusiastically about the positive impact of generative AI in bolstering cybersecurity efforts. He stated that generative AI ” makes us better at finding malicious activity.” This technology empowers security personnel with innovative tools and methodologies to detect and mitigate cyber threats more effectively.

One key benefit of generative AI in cybersecurity is its ability to combat threat actors who lurk on networks, disguising themselves as safe accounts through vulnerability exploits. These disguised accounts exhibit abnormal behavior patterns, which can be challenging to identify manually. Generative AI, along with Large Language Models (LLMs), assists cybersecurity teams in aggregating and analyzing this suspicious activity, thus uncovering malicious intent more rapidly.

A growing concern: Misuse by cyber criminals

While generative AI holds great promise for enhancing cybersecurity, it has also raised alarms due to its misuse by cyber criminals. Over the past year, malicious actors have increasingly used generative AI tools to amplify fraudulent activities and scams. These advanced technologies allow them to launch highly personalized and potent social engineering attacks.

Mandiant, a renowned cybersecurity firm, issued a warning the previous year, highlighting that generative AI could empower threat actors to unleash a new wave of social engineering attacks with unprecedented sophistication. 

These AI-supported phishing attacks could be finely tuned to deceive even the most vigilant users, posing a substantial threat to individuals and organizations. Such concerns were echoed by various security experts throughout 2023.

Additionally, research conducted by Darktrace raised apprehensions regarding AI-driven phishing attacks. The concern is that hackers could continually leverage generative AI to refine their techniques, making it increasingly challenging for users to discern legitimate communication from malicious intent.

A dual-edged sword: Weighing the impact

Rob Joyce acknowledged that concerns over the misuse of generative AI in cybercrime are valid. However, he also emphasized the significant strides made by national security bodies in harnessing these tools effectively. He noted that cybersecurity experts leverage generative AI to combat threats and protect critical assets as much as malicious actors exploit it for their nefarious purposes.

Joyce cautioned against viewing generative AI as a panacea for all cybersecurity challenges, stating that it “isn’t the super tool that can make someone who’s incompetent capable.” Nevertheless, he stressed that it enhances the capabilities of those who utilize it, making them more effective and potentially more dangerous in cyber defense and offense.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Benson Mawira

Benson is a blockchain reporter who has delved into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.His area of expertise is the cryptocurrency markets, fundamental and technical analysis.With his insightful coverage of everything in Financial Technologies, Benson has garnered a global readership.

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