February 20, 2024

Beware the ghost in the machine: AI and cyber threats  

Adam Rice
Cyber Security Advisor, Cisco

JuiceIT 2024 Guest Blog – Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI, is transforming our world. While many are aware of AI’s existence, its full implications are not yet understood by anyone.   

AI is often considered a tool that can write more cleanly and concisely, but its potential extends beyond this novelty. It’s poised to revolutionise the tools we use daily, both at home and work. As companies integrate AI into their core products, a world of new possibilities is opening up along with the risk of many unknown or unintended consequences.

AI can perform tasks faster and with less error than humans. This potential is being utilised in various fields, including coding, network configurations, web page and database creation. In research areas like cancer research or novel drug design, substituting AI for human analysis can increase the speed of discoveries exponentially. 

Business applications like ServiceNow, Salesforce, or Workday are incorporating AI to enhance service desk operations. AI is set to replace L2/L3 support, and eventually L1 support, significantly reducing labour costs, but at the detriment of human workers. 

Professionals in roles such as: Software Developer, Web Developer, Graphics Designer, DBA, Network Admin, Microsoft Admin, Support Desk, Drug Researcher, or SOC Analyst, should consider moving into AI management roles as the industry evolves. 

When it comes to AI as a cyber security risk, it is already being used to create advanced cyber-attacks. The things cyber professionals should expect in the very near term are: improved spear phishing attacks, reconnaissance of organisation’s digital perimeter, and more effective credential stuffing attacks.   

However, the same technologies are being leveraged in security tools to help with remediation, enhance access security, and improve malware protection. Cisco is introducing a natural language AI assistant for security across its Security portfolio. 

What organisations need to do right now to manage AI risk: 

Generative AI, while revolutionary, is only a stepping stone toward Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). AGI, with full human cognition, will be indistinguishable from a human. Its integration into the internet will bring about significant changes, not all of which might be positive. Concerns about AGI’s potential for weaponisation in warfare, autonomous decision-making, and misuse by malicious actors are serious. 

We are on the cusp of a major technological evolution. In the next decade, AI could become an integral part of our civilisation, akin to HAL from Space Odyssey, Computer from Star Trek, or Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 from Terminator.

JuiceIT Australia’s largest IT Solutions and Services conference 

Hear more from Adam about the rapidly emerging AI landscape and what it might mean for cyber risks at JuiceIT 2024.  Also, don’t miss visiting the Cisco booth to get 1:1 expert advice and see demos from Cisco’s Security and Networking portfolios. 

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