AI and Cyber Security: Navigating the Benefits and Risks for Your Business


In our ever-evolving digital landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security are two areas that have taken SME businesses by storm. With AI’s potential to revolutionise how we approach cyber security, understanding its benefits and risks is crucial for any business looking to effectively safeguard its digital assets.

Discover the intersection of cyber security and AI, how AI can protect your business, and the potential security risks it poses.

What is AI?

AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines programmed to think and learn like people. From machine learning algorithms, which allow computers to learn and adapt through experience, to natural language processing, enabling machines to understand and interpret human language.

Since it’s conception in the mid-20th century, AI has become a part of everyday life, often without us even realising it. For instance, AI powers the predictive text on our phones, suggests a TV show on streaming platforms, and supports virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa, to understand and respond to our questions.

With regards to cyber security, AI’s capabilities can be leveraged to predict, detect, and respond to threats more efficiently than traditional methods.

How can AI help my business?

AI offers many opportunities to support business efficiency, productivity, and streamline processes, both in the long-term and the general day-to-day.

  1. Boosted efficiency: Supporting with automation, faster task completion, making decisions, and analysing and organising large sets of data.
  2. Increased productivity: AI can take over the repetitive, time-consuming tasks. It’s a great way to improve employee engagement and allows them to focus on more creative, satisfactory organisational activities.
  3. Process creation: As a business, processes and procedures need to be implemented to enforce fairness and compliance with legislation. AI can look to help you create and improve processes to ensure your business is running as it should be.
  4. Demonstrates innovation: Helps your organisation demonstrate innovation and forward-thinking. AI can support with expanding and developing new areas – allowing your business to work smarter and not harder.
  5. Increased security: And, of course, AI can help build resilience and defend against cyber attacks with enhanced detection and response, automated security processes, and continuous defence optimisation.

What are the cyber security risks posed by AI?

Whilst AI can significantly enhance business efficiency and productivity, it also introduces opportunities for cyber attacks and data breaches. Like all areas of cyber security, there’s a continuous arms race between cyber criminals and security measures. It’s essential for your business to monitor these AI-related risks and implement strategies to mitigate them.

Boosting cyber criminal tactics

Cyber criminals are increasingly utilising AI to improve their attack vectors and compromise business’ data. This includes:

  • Improving phishing communications to enhance their realism and effectiveness.
  • Conducting Input Manipulation or Prompt Injection to manipulate AI chatbots to provide illegal and immoral information, bypassing their default restrictions.
  • Leveraging AI to create malicious code that can exploit a company’s network or release sensitive information on their target.
  • Bypassing security defences and detection models on a company’s website via Model Inversion attacks.

Inadequate cyber governance and best practices

One risk posed by AI includes a lack of business governance, policies, or best practices. Your people may be adopting AI technologies for business purposes on their own accord, and without the relevant training and processes in place, this could lead to problems later down the line.

Businesses shouldn’t shy away from embracing AI throughout their daily operations, but a priority needs to be placed on de-risking and proper use to ensure these technologies are being utilised effectively.

Data breaches from oversharing sensitive information

Another risk is the potential of a data breach due to oversharing confidential, sensitive information with AI. For instance, if an organisation has a shared license of an AI tool, it may assume that all users have the same level of permissions and access to information.

To avoid internal – or even external – users gaining access to classified data, ensure information you input is public-friendly or redacted.

Misinformation and copyright infringement

AI is a great tool for gaining answers to questions, additional information, and inspiration. However, while these answers may be convincing, they’re not always correct. AI can be biased, discriminatory, and produce misinformation. Additionally, users need to be careful when utilising any AI responses to prevent copyright infringement.

Whenever you use AI, always ensure that you independently verify the information and avoid the copy-and-paste mentality.  

How can AI help protect your business?

But it’s not all doom-and-gloom! AI can help add an additional layer of protection to shield your business in our ever-evolving digital world. From improving the quality of firewalls, data-loss prevention, and optimised day-to-day monitoring. Within operational security, large amounts of data is produced in relation to activity and traffic on company devices and networks. Previously, the difficult part was analysing this information and differentiating malicious behaviour from expected behaviour and, in some cases, this can be near impossible for humans for execute. AI can be extremely beneficial in this area; by processing large amounts of data much faster than traditional methods, and also learning by monitoring user behaviour, watching for patterns, and establishing what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘suspicious’. Not only that, but AI can analyse transaction data to detect fraudulent activities in real-time and improve email phishing filtering and detection. Machine learning models can continuously improve their accuracy in detecting phishing scams as they are exposed to more data. Want to learn more about how Artificial Intelligence is used in cyber security? Take a look our recent webinar, ‘Securing the Future: Exploring AI’s impact on cyber security’. discover the risk and opportunities posed by AI by watching on-demand here:
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