While many business leaders consider their main adversaries as competitors who offer similar products or services within the same market segment, the reality is that adversaries can come in various forms these days. With the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI), practically anyone or anything could pose a threat to a company’s operations. This includes not only rival businesses and nations but also cyber criminals and even tech-savvy teenagers.
According to a recent study, it has been discovered that AI applications like ChatGPT have advanced to the point where they can generate malicious code for malware based on simple instructions provided by any individual with an internet connection. As a result, your company could be vulnerable to cyber attacks from not only business rivals but also dissatisfied customers or anyone with malicious intentions.
To mitigate the risks associated with social engineering attempts, your business should partner with a professional cyber security services provider. This partnership should equip your staff with the necessary knowledge and enhanced awareness of cyber security, thereby minimising potential threats.
The services provided should include user awareness training, vulnerability management, compliance management and risk assessments. While AI is revolutionising the world and offering numerous benefits to businesses and individuals, it also marks the beginning of a new threat landscape. Consequently, enterprises need to be prepared for any possible situation.
How AI is used to create cyber threats
ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is widely recognised as one of the most prominent examples of AI. Its beta version was introduced in November 2022 and since then, it has demonstrated remarkable efficacy as a versatile chatbot capable of performing diverse tasks. These tasks include writing technical papers, generating complex spreadsheets, organising events and even coding applications.
It has also proven to be capable of creating malware for individuals with little knowledge of how coding works. Experts at Check Point Research, a security firm, revealed that within a couple of weeks of going live, cyber criminals were using ChatGPT to write malicious software and phishing emails to target businesses and other entities, becoming formidable adversaries in the process.
In one particular example, the chatbot was used to generate malware code that could decrypt files and append a message authentication code (MAC) to the file, as well as encrypt a hardcoded path. This essentially means that AI can be used for ransomware, spyware, phishing and a variety of other cyber attacks.
Check Point Research highlights that while the coding may have a few syntax errors, enterprises equipped with advanced cyber defences can easily prevent these types of attacks. However, it also means that cyber criminals with a bit of coding knowledge can update the scripts and turn them into more advanced threats.
AI can also be used to create online “shops” where compromised bank card data and other illicit goods can be traded. The coding is generated within minutes, and after some editing, complex digital environments can be established. Many of these e-commerce platforms utilise cryptocurrency as it presents greater challenges in tracking payment origins.
Why hackers are a major business adversary
Large enterprises frequently fall victim to cyber attacks due to the wealth of valuable information and data they store. This includes financial and medical records, customer identities and intellectual property – all of which are highly sought after by hackers aiming to either encrypt the data for ransom or exploit it for financial gain.
Despite having advanced cybersecurity protocols and tools in place, enterprises remain vulnerable to successful attacks. It is not uncommon to come across news reports of multinational companies being hacked on a monthly basis. This serves as evidence that cyber attacks continue to be effective and the financial consequences for businesses can be substantial.
Even with robust security software and network protection measures in place, user awareness training remains crucial at the enterprise level. Employees serve as a significant line of defence as they have the power to decide whether to open a malicious email or download a fake application. They also play a vital role in accurately identifying potential adversaries.
User awareness training is necessary across all levels of the enterprise, encompassing CEOs, heads of departments, IT specialists and regular employees. No one is immune to sophisticated social engineering techniques, making user awareness training essential in empowering employees to identify and mitigate risks effectively.
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