By Riera U. Mallari
BALI, INDONESIA — Artificial Intelligence or AI has seeped into practically every facet of our human existence, from education to commerce, logistics and entertainment. And just like every new technology that arises, AI in the wrong hands, is bad news and scary.
AI, which is the ability of a computer, robot or machines to perform tasks that are typically associated with human intelligence, such as learning and problem-solving, is now even a tool, possibly used in cyberattacks.
But in the same vein, AI is also a weapon to ward them off.
Noushin Shabab, Senior Security Researcher for Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) Asia Pacific at Kaspersky, discussed the importance of AI in the fight against cyberattacks during Kaspersky’s annual Cyber Security Weekend conference, titled “Deus Ex Machina: Setting Secure Directives for Smart Machines” at the Le Meridien here recently.
“I think AI is very important because all the information we shared today, we discussed how AI is going to be used by attackers to improve their techniques and improve their attacks. And obviously, it’s not just cyberattacks. It’s every industry with accessibility of AI services these days, every industry is moving forward with AI and utilizing AI in their environment,” said Shabab, one of the resource speakers in the conference with Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky; Adrian Hia, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky; and Vitaly Kamluk, Head of Research Center for Asia Pacific, Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky.
“Obviously, it’s very important for the cybersecurity industry to use and utilize AI. We all heard that we’ve been using machine learning and AI for a long time. It’s not something new for us, but we also know that it might be something new for cyber attackers. And we have to make sure that we understand this and we adopt our investigation techniques and analysis to address that,” she added.
Using AI, according to Shabab, is most useful in research.
“In research, AI services can save a lot of time for us, like when we investigate cyber attacks. Also like doing some automation tests for us, that actually can be very useful and obviously eliminates the need for being highly skilled in in some areas like writing code or scripting and you would have more time to focus on other skills that can’t yet be done through AI systems,” Shabab said.
To boost enterprises’ and organizations’ defenses against AI-assisted APT attacks, Shabab suggests the following:
- Advanced security solutions: Implement security solutions that use advanced methods to monitor user and system behaviours. This can help identify deviations from normal patterns, potentially signalling malicious activities.
- Regular Software Updates: Keep all software, applications, and operating systems up to date to mitigate vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit.
- User Training and Awareness: Provide employees with training on cybersecurity best practices, including recognising and avoiding social engineering attacks and phishing attempts.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA for accessing critical systems and applications, reducing the risk of unauthorized access even if credentials are compromised.
As a parting shot, Shabab stressed the importance of cybersecurity in our homes and industries.
“I think in this day and age that we live, there are a lot of opportunities that bad guys can compromise our safety and security, and also like the physical safety of your life. So we can we can’t just ignore the fact that these threats are around us. If you want to live with a peace of mind and have an easy and quiet and safe life, it (cybersecurity) is essential. It’s not a luxury to have cyber security solutions for your individual life or organization. It is a must. There’s nothing that you can debate for it. It’s something that is essential,” Shabab said.