With the constant evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, a crucial debate arises regarding their impact on cybersecurity. AI, with a particular focus on generative AI, which is able to create content such as text, images, video and music with a level of realism hardly recognisable from that produced by a human being, is rapidly becoming a topic of interest for anyone involved in cyber security. The key question is whether AI represents an asset or a threat to the cybersecurity industry.
This new frontier of AI represents a significant threat to security. The phenomenon of ‘deep fakes’, which uses AI to create fake and falsified content, can easily cheat people, enabling attackers to acquire sensitive information to carry out targeted attacks. . This phenomenon amplifies one of the most dangerous hacking tactics, the social engineering, which relies on cheating to gain access to reserved information.
A recent survey conducted by Gartner showed that concern about cybersecurity has increased significantly among company managers, since understanding and mitigating these potential risks has become a primary goal. However, it is important to observe that AI also offers an important advantage in cyber defence.
AI’s cyber threat detection and prevention capabilities, particularly against unknown attacks, known as ‘zero-day’ attacks, allow organisations to identify anomalies and suspicious behaviours that would otherwise be difficult to detect. The rapid detection and reaction capability improves cyber defence and provides an important tool to counter cyber attacks.
At present, many next-generation security tools rely on AI algorithms, especially machine learning, to improve threat detection and to accelerate the response to attacks. Given the huge size of the data to be analysed, traditional analysis techniques would not be sufficient to extract information in real time. This explains why the application of AI to cybersecurity is becoming increasingly common.
In summary, the IT security sector and AI are increasingly converging. The adoption of AI-based tools and techniques in cybersecurity is no longer an optional choice, but a necessity to cope with the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks. The paradox is that, in order to counter the risks posed by AI, it is necessary to have AI itself. Back to the original question, whether AI represents an asset or a threat, the answer depends on the point of view from which one looks at the issue.
In conclusion, AI is a two sides of the same coin in cybersecurity: it may pose a threat, but at the same time it offers crucial tools for cyber defence. The challenge for cybersecurity experts is to balance the responsible use of AI to protect digital assets and the privacy of citizens.