The Impact of Artificial and Human Intelligence on Email Security
- by Justice Levine
Artificial intelligence has not only found its way out of science fiction and into the realm of reality, but it has also become highly prevalent in today's industries. In the process, a new debate has emerged, pitting the two models against each other.
Artificial intelligence aims to build and create intelligent systems that are capable of doing jobs that humans have up until now performed. This begs the question if AI is capable of performing these functions alone. This article will discuss the potential impact of AI on the future of email security, how AI differs from human intelligence, and what the role of human intelligence may be in an AI world.
Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is a type of science that focuses on building smart machines that are capable of performing a variety of tasks that would typically require human intelligence. These intelligent machines are comprised of knowledge from experience and historical data, analyzing their surrounding environments, and performing befitting actions. AI is the combination of several different branches of science to leverage concepts and tools from multiple fields such as computer science, cognitive science, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and mathematics.
In contrast, human Intelligence refers to the human intellectual capability that allows us to think, learn from different experiences, understand complex concepts, apply logic and reason, and effectively communicate. Human intelligence is unique in that abstract emotion supports it. Human intelligence is not limited to patterns and can be adjusted depending on the problems that arise, substantially changing with the nature of the situation.
The goal of human intelligence is to adapt to new environments by utilizing a combination of different cognitive processes. Artificial Intelligence aims to build machines that can imitate human behavior and perform human-like actions. Artificial Intelligence is built to solve problems quickly and efficiently whereas Human Intelligence takes time to condition the mechanisms. The key difference between natural and artificial intelligence is the process of functionality and the time taken by both of them.
How Is AI Used in Cybercrime?
Threat actors are already taking advantage of AI in several ways. AI is better at English than non-native speakers, can help ransomware groups find new vulnerabilities and victims, and is already employed to power botnets and can also be used to turn IoT devices into attack devices.
AI can be used to identify patterns in computer systems that reveal vulnerabilities in software or security programs, allowing hackers to exploit those weaknesses. And because AI needs programming to detect new threats, attackers continually craft new mechanisms or leverage new phishing mediums such as voice and social media.
Additionally, AI has been used to craft malicious emails that can bypass spam filters. Research discovered a system that used ‘generative grammar' to create a large data set of email messages. Researchers have also found it possible for AI to use a similar approach to antivirus software, finding weak spots in the software malware detection algorithm. AI can be used to support other hacking techniques, including guessing passwords and analyzing large data sets of passwords recovered from public leaks and hacks.
There is also an ongoing global trend to promote misinformation with the support of AI technologies. The use of deep fake technologies for malicious purposes is expanding rapidly and is currently being exploited by cybercriminals on a global scale. In 2019, cybercriminals used AI voice-generating software to impersonate the voice of a Chief Executive of a UK-based energy company to obtain $243,000 and distribute the transfers of the funds to bank accounts located in Mexico and other countries.
Further, cyberattacks based on AI systems is a growing trend identified by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in a 2020 report. The EC3 stated, “through AI, criminals may facilitate and improve their attacks by maximizing their opportunities for profit in a shorter period of time and create more innovative criminal business models, while reducing the possibility of being traced and identified by criminal justice authorities”.
Which Is The Better Solution?
AI can outperform humans in specific areas, however, AI algorithms still have a long way to go to match the capacity of the human brain.
AI requires more time to adjust to new situations, a flaw in a fast-moving industry like cybersecurity. Because new threats emerge on a daily basis, the relevance and quality of the data used to train models are debatable. While it has value in stopping and predicting future threats, it is still one step behind as AI can still not make logical judgments like humans can in unexpected events.
Instead, the solution is the combination of HI and AI when performed correctly. AI’s speed and computing capabilities outperform what the human brain can do, and on the other hand, the human brain and HI are in constant need to ensure we feed AI with the right data. Consider it this way, HI is the driver behind the wheel of a car that uses the assistance of AI to keep a safe speed and stay within the lane. AI heavily relies on the driver to pump the brake when an unexpected event occurs to feed it with a new set of data that it can retrain so it is more prepared for the next event.
Impact of AI on Businesses
Artificial Intelligence provides several benefits for a business, including:
Automation of Tasks
The most obvious impact of AI is the automation of tasks across an extensive range of businesses changing from manual to digital. Tasks or jobs that incorporate a level of reiteration or the utilization and translation of data are currently conveyed and handled by a computer, some of the time not requiring that a human intervene.
Welcome New Chances
As artificial intelligence and machine learning execute the manual assignments that no longer require a human to perform, it creates opportunities and opens doors for the labor force. Digital engineering is an example of an arising calling that transpired because of quick innovation and is continuing to develop.
Economic Growth Model
The development of AI should increase productivity growth, inherently increasing economic growth and providing new opportunities for international trade. Current rates of productivity growth globally are low and there are various suggested causes. AI will also affect the type and quality of economic growth, with international trade implications. For instance, AI is likely to accelerate the transition toward services economies.
Role of Work
Rather than wiping out jobs, AI in the workplace is increasing the skill sets of workers. Including Artificial Intelligence in the workforce can improve conditions. According to research, AI will help remove both conscious and unconscious biases in the hiring of staff. AI will also benefit employees by ensuring the appropriate safety gear is being worn using intelligent scanning technology.
More Opportunity for Creativity
AI-generated content can be of greater quality than content created by humans, due to the fact that AI models are able to learn from a large amount of data and identify patterns that humans may not be able to see.
African University Stops Cyber Attack Using AI
In April of 2022, an African technology university stopped a cyberattack using artificial intelligence when attackers made an attempt to distribute PrivateLoader malware, a pay-per-install malware service commonly associated with cryptomining and intellectual property (IP) theft. The public university receives government-funded research into AI, robotics, and sustainable energy solutions, which are prime targets for financially motivated cybercriminals as well as state-sponsored attackers.
The university was targeted during a trial of Darktrace AI in mid-April. The AI technology had formed an understanding of the university's normal operations across its digital estate, which allowed it to spot the odd activity that signified an attack. The AI was able to detect a desktop connecting to a rare external endpoint using a mechanism that was inconsistent with their technology stack.
The IP address was tracked and found to be related to the pay-per-install malware service, PrivateLoader. The device that had been compromised was then observed performing activity indicative of 'RedLineStealer' and 'MarsStealer,' information-stealing malware that exfiltrates data with the intent of monetizing it through direct use or distribution on darknet sites. Luckily, the AI was able to detect the attack in its early stages, interrupting the threat before any critical research or student data could be compromised. After the attack was quarantined, an investigation into the incident was conducted to ensure future cyber resilience.
AI is a valuable tool that is shaping the industry and automation, that when coupled with intelligent workflow has the potential to become the norm across all sectors. And while AI has almost mastered intelligent behavior, it still cannot simulate human thought processes and so the future of AI must be governed mainly by human abilities.
- Learn more about an effective email security solution that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Machine Learning (ML) to detect and block threats in real-time.
- Prepare your business for cyberattacks to make sure employees stay safe online.
- Improve your email security posture to protect against attacks and breaches by following best practices.
- Keeping the integrity of your email safe requires securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.
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