AI: A Valuable Ally And A Major Threat 

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought significant advances to many fields but it also presents daunting challenges for cybersecurity teams. AI acts as both an ally and an adversary, introducing new opportunities while fueling ever more sophisticated threats.

Phishing Techniques Are More Refined

Gone are the days when malicious emails and fake websites were easy to identify thanks to many grammatical errors, poor vocabulary choice and cringe worthy formatting. That era is now over with the arrival of artificial intelligence which makes threats so much more sophisticated and difficult to detect. In addition to further personalizing attacks, AI is deployed to automate the targeting of victims by analysing online behaviours, interactions on social media and other data that is publicly accessible. This ability to adapt allows hackers to increase the efficiency of their attacks through their ability to select the most vulnerable users who are more susceptible to phishing traps.

BEC Attacks Are On The Rise

According to SC Magazine, in 2022, BEC attacks increased by 81% and by 175% over the past two years. The median rate for opening BEC emails during the second half of 2022 reached 28%, with 15% of employees responding to malicious content. 

Business Email Compromise — BEC has reached new heights of ingenuity with the growing use of artificial intelligence by cybercriminals. By managing to circumvent traditional detection methods, hackers, making use of AI, represent a significant threat to organizations. Criminals can create sophisticated fake profiles imitating the precise communication style of a targeted user and the terminology employed in legitimate professional exchanges. This enhanced personalization makes BEC attacks harder to identify because they appear to be coming from a trustworthy source.

Fighting AI With AI

The fight against AI generated threats is considered a complex technological paradox. While AI is fuelling some of the most important advances of our time,  it is also being used by cybercriminals to orchestrate some of the most sophisticated attacks. It has become imperative to use AI to guard against itself. AI based security systems offer a proactive approach by using advanced learning algorithms to analyse suspicious behaviour models. These systems can rapidly identify threats, emerging tactics and  strengthen real-time protection. In addition, by making use of techniques like anomaly detection and behavioural analysis, AI based defences can distinguish between malicious patterns and legitimate interventions. 

Considering The Human Element

The last line of defence against phishing attacks, whether orchestrated by AI or not, depends on human presence of mind and quick thinking. Education and awareness training for personnel  become essential  to thwart the elaborate  tactics of cybercriminals. A properly trained employee will be better prepared and know not to click on attachments containing malicious software or URLs. 

Artificial intelligence is a double-sided sword when it comes to cybersecurity. On the one hand it provides advanced capabilities for strengthening protection against constantly changing threats, while on the other, it fuels increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Specialized IT teams must adopt a holistic approach that integrates AI into their defense strategies while staying on the cutting edge of  technological developments to counter the emerging threats. 

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