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On April 29th, 2021, hackers breached the networks of Colonial Pipeline Company through a virtual private network account. About a week later, the hackers sent a ransomware note that demanded cryptocurrency. What followed was a complete shutdown of the entire gas pipeline system in its 57-year history. The Colonial pipeline supplies nearly half of the East Coast’s gasoline and because of the shut down it had for several days, there was gas panic-buying, shortages, and price spikes. The attack happened due to a breach through a leaked password to an old account that had access to the virtual private network (VPN) used to remotely access the company’s servers. It was undoubtedly one of the largest cyberattacks ever on an American energy system and definitely brought to light how vulnerable the world is when it comes to cybersecurity. Businesses, governments, and individuals are taking measures to become more resilient to such attacks in the future and adopting various smart solutions as well. But guess what? Cyberattacks are getting smarter, too.
AI-assisted cyberattacks are becoming a rising security concern for everyone around the world. While cyberattacks are quite known, one may feel that AI cyberattacks are not as common. But the fact is that Artificial Intelligence cyberattacks have happened in the past and continue to happen. Hackers are leveraging machine learning algorithms and botnets and launching them across the web.
Social security numbers and bank account details of nearly 3.75 million people were extracted by hackers in the attack on TaskRabbit in April 2018. The hackers used an AI-powered botnet that performed a DDoS attack on TaskRabbit’s servers. The consequences? The entire site was disabled until security was restored and an additional 141 million users were affected.
Not long ago, around 20,000 WordPress sites were infected with a botnet which was feared to have granted the hackers access to critical personal information of users as well as their credit card numbers.
In 2019, many Instagram users reported that they were locked out of their accounts. Instagram didn’t release detailed information or confirm the root cause but it was speculated that hackers used AI to scan potential vulnerabilities and carry out the attack.
These are just a few of the many incidents that have taken place over the past. And there’s no stopping yet. Just in case if you believe that having the basics of security checks such as firewalls, malware scanners, and secure CMS covered will guard you against cyberattacks successfully, think again. AI-assisted cyber attacks will only get worse.
AI-powered cyberattacks are known to “supercharge” cyber attacks. Over time, they learn what types of attacks are more successful. The notorious Emotet Trojan is a fine example of that. Once considered rare, AI attacks are increasing every day. The reason behind this increase is simple- the same reason why AI is preferred over human efforts when it comes to solving problems. AI can reach (read: attack) far more computers than humans in the same amount of time. If one is using machine language, the cyber-attacks become more unpredictable, efficient and can surpass planned security efforts as well by learning on their own. AI cyberattacks are so fast that they don’t give cyber security teams the time to respond to incidents timely and can go on with repeated attacks without getting tired, unlike humans. As for the cost involved, AI bots are less costly as they don’t need to get paid. Another key reason is that it allows hackers to remain hidden and operate remotely, keeping them safe from getting caught. All these reasons are driving the use of AI in cyber attacks.
According to a report by meticulous research, Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.6% to reach $46.3 billion by 2027. Implementing AI security measures help in taking preventive measures, proactively, making cyber security efforts more effective, and reducing the time taken to respond to incidents. Artificial intelligence is already changing how cybersecurity is addressed across all major industries by providing solutions that can analyze and respond to attacks in real-time, thereby improving the overall security. Here are more reasons why you should consider implementing artificial intelligence in your cybersecurity efforts:
In one of our reports titled The Secrets to Building a $100 Million IoT Business within 5 Years, and More!, we have extensively covered how smart digital solutions can be secured against various risks. We have also highlighted potential security weaknesses and targets and how you can start securing your solutions right from the development stage. Know all about how you can adopt top-notch security measures in this free report.
We’ve been seeing how Artificial Intelligence is leveraged across various industries to overcome many challenges, what we are yet to see with the same intensity is its application in cybersecurity. A lot of leading companies have already implemented AI to secure their ecosystem from threats and vulnerabilities. While it hints at their far-sightedness, it also creates an example and a proven model for other businesses to follow without giving thoughts on how it could benefit them. Here are few examples of early adopters of AI in cybersecurity:
Even though it is ideal to implement Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity, it can sometimes get a bit challenging to do so especially if some common constraints are not considered initially.
Undoubtedly, business leaders and cybersecurity professionals are acknowledging the scope of Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity. But as of today, the solution can’t address all the problems and threats posed by hackers. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are improving cybersecurity but at the same time, they are also being leveraged by hackers to commit cybercrimes to an extent that may no longer require human intervention from their side at all. The ideal thing to do would be a mix of both AI-powered cybersecurity as well as a human intervention that can synergize the intelligence to operate not just on a technology level but a strategic level as well.