Mr Keting | Italian Netiquette

Cybersecurity and AI: scenario, risks and opportunities

8 May 2023
The international debate on AI and cybersecurity is surging once more. In a mix of alarms and reassurance by the experts, how far off is the point of no return?

Artificial intelligence is back in the public eye after a few weeks of apparent calm: the return of ChatGPT to Italy together with the RSA conferencewhich just ended in San Francisco, have in fact rekindled the discussion that has been the talking point in all walks of life since the beginning of the year.

Artificial intelligence has been officially talked about for over 40 years, but it is only in the last few months that the topic has raised numerous and, given the risks, justified concerns among sector professionals and many others.

So what are the dangers and benefits that AI could bring to the table in the daily lives of businesses, freelancers and retail businesses in general? What is its impact on cybersecurity? Let’s try to summarise this aspect here.

The (new) cards are on the table

The AI phenomenon is defined by the US National Security Agency (NSA) with its director of cybersecurity Rob Joyce, who declared “… I think we’ve all seen the explosion. I won’t say it’s delivered yet, but this truly is some game-changing technology.”

According to Joyce, it’s impossible not to consider the relationship between AI and malware: the protection of computer systems and the tools available, in this respect, see a complete change in prospectus compared to what we adopted so far.

In considering the scenario in the near future, it is impossible not to question the role of hackers in the development and distribution of malware that can disrupt even the most sophisticated public and private sector systems.

In fact, attackers can use the AI technology to automate attacks, producing catastrophic free fall effects with significant repercussions for EVERYONE.

The concerns of the experts and concrete hazards

It is its godfather, Geoffrey Hinton, who warns of the risks of further AI development, and after 10 years at Google as head of the current artificial intelligence, does an about turn and resigns with the declaration that “technology can be dangerous.”

In addition to the godfather of AI, in recent months there have been numerous highly skilled experts who have warned about the potential dangers of AI development, and the relationship between AI and malware.

Although AI Chatbots are not capable of developing new malware from scratch, one must consider the fact that hackers could modify existing malware with AI in order to change its characteristics and behaviour.

If this were to happen, current cybersecurity tools, such as anti-virus software, would not be able to recognise them and therefore not be able to report their version, causing irreparable damage to the most state-of-the-art IT computer systems.

The AI that is positive for businesses, SMEs and Industry 4.0

However, the opportunities that artificial intelligence is undoubtedly capable of providing for the growth and development of the economic system is also at the heart of international debate.

First and foremost, in the field of cybersecurity, is the defence accelerator aspect: the use of AI’s specific features, such as big data analysis and automation, makes it possible to identify vulnerability exploitation models, providing practical support to businesses in defining security priorities.

Another positive aspect of AI technology, for example, is the possibility to automate customer service processes as Mr Askme testifies, the virtual assistant resulting from the collaboration between Mr Keting and Open AI that supports customers and helps SMEs to accomplish their objectives in a completely secure environment.

Finally, Industry 4.0, which has already exploited AI innovations for many years, could further increase the level of cybersecurity until, who knows, it becomes an aspect it no longer has to worry about.