In today's digital age, cybersecurity and compliance requirements have become an increasingly crucial aspect of running any business. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity has emerged as a popular solution for many organizations looking to improve their security posture, or just to create cheap efficiency. However, this technology has also introduced new dangers. As a CISO, CEO, or CFO, it is critical to be aware of the potential risks AI poses to both cybersecurity and compliance.
False Positives and the Inability to Discern Intent
One common danger of AI in cybersecurity is its tendency to produce false positives. AI may flag benign activities as suspicious or malicious, leading to unnecessary and costly investigations. Additionally, AI's inability to discern intent can cause it to misinterpret human behavior as malicious, resulting in unnecessary actions. Ultimately, these false positive alerts can lead to alert fatigue, reducing efficiency and effectiveness in security teams.
Unforeseen Consequences from AI System Failures
Another risk of AI in cybersecurity is the potential for system failures leading to unforeseen consequences. AI relies heavily on machine learning algorithms, which can be manipulated or disrupted by attackers or well-meaning programmers. A successful breach may go unnoticed, allowing attackers to covertly leverage the organization's AI algorithms to infiltrate other systems and data. Furthermore, AI systems may occasionally produce unexpected results, creating new security vulnerabilities and compliance risks that your organization is still held accountable for…
Use of AI Technology by threat actors
Hackers have begun to exploit the power of AI to elevate their attacks and evade detection. AI-powered attacks can learn from and adapt to current cybersecurity technologies, making them highly effective. Attackers can use AI algorithms to scan networks and steal data more efficiently, plan attacks more strategically, and cover their tracks better, making them difficult to detect. This will morph even the script kitties into highly effective threat actors. Obviously, the implications of these AI-driven attacks can be dangerous for any organization, leading to severe consequences strategically, technically, reputationally and financially.
AI technology's use in cybersecurity compliance performance has its advantages. It can help organizations automatically track and manage their security protocols, report on vulnerabilities, and provide alerts when threats emerge. Nevertheless, AI introduces unique risks to compliance, including the possibility of AI algorithms making decisions contrary to compliance, security, legal, or privacy regulations. Not to mention there is no stop-gap for the moral implications regarding decision making on the use of the ever-changing definition of Personally Identifiable information (PII). Additionally, if a vulnerability or attack is missed due to AI as a single point of failure in security monitoring, the organization may be found to violate laws like 201 CMR 17 (Massachusetts) or compliance standards like ISO/IEC 27001:2022 or FEDRAMP.
Automation without oversight
Finally, a significant danger of relying solely on AI in cybersecurity is the potential risk in transfer to a fully automated security infrastructure. As we humans are lazy, an entirely automated security environment may lead to overreliance on that automation or algorithms, decreasing the importance of human oversight. In such cases, attackers or cybercriminals can exploit what AI misses and bypass security measures all together. With this reliance, organizations and governments will fail to recognize that AI systems (ironically much like humans) have limitations, which will have disastrous consequences.
We are currently in a paradigm shift. Please heed my warning… AI will revolutionize cybersecurity much like the way robots impacted manufacturing. That shift will present new dangers and risks including false positives, unforeseen consequences, hacking, compliance issues, and over-reliance. Organizations must weigh the benefits of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity carefully both technologically and strategically. It is essential to have regular oversight and testing to determine whether AI algorithms are effective. We will need constant communication with human interaction to ensure that no aspect of cybersecurity and compliance is overlooked or misunderstood. By taking these steps, organizations can benefit from using AI and make informed decisions that protect their stakeholders and meet compliance regulations.
Lastly remember this – Automation and AI are exceptional tools to offload human fallacy and create efficiency. However, as my friend Reg Harnish has stated: “You can’t transfer accountability.”
Respectfully yours – Wil Seiler