Staying Ahead of Cyber Risks In The Age Of AI

What you need to know about AI in 2023

The ‘age of AI’ is upon us, and it’s rapidly developing. Looking to the future, it’s becoming increasingly clear that much of our world will soon be surrounded by AI-enabled tools and “smart” products. Not long ago, this may have sounded like far-fetched science fiction. But now, it’s widely accepted that AI will reshape our lives, transforming society as we know it.

While it’s important to keep up to date with artificial intelligence and its emerging capabilities, the speed of its development can make this tricky. So, in this blog, we cover what you need to know about the emerging risks of AI and why good cyber security is more important than ever.

What are the risks of the rise of AI?

AI has the potential to change society for the better – but at the same time, it is important to make sure that there are safeguards in place to protect against new AI risks. With the rise in cyber attacks and scams in recent years, cyber criminals will be able to use AI technology to build upon their existing techniques – making scams appear more real than ever before – and difficult to spot.

Cyber criminals can use AI to build on the cyber crime we already face

“Cyber criminals will exploit AI the way they have the world wide web, email, mobile devices, and social media – that is, in any way they can,” explains Laura Kankaala, Threat Intelligence Lead at F-Secure. In other words, the same technology that’s likely to transform industries will also give cyber criminals powerful new advantages when it comes to creating scams, malware, and threats we can’t even imagine yet.

  • Scammers can use AI to create fake email, text message and social media phishing scams. Criminals can use Generative AI apps like ChatGPT to write professional-looking phishing messages in seconds. Criminals only need a few keywords to get started. The bots also eliminate grammar and usage errors, which have so far been one of the common characteristics in scams. With AI, phishing attacks will grow more sophisticated, customized, and eventually automated.
    • How can you protect yourself against AI phishing scams?
      • Since AI is advancing so quickly, it’s more important than ever to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to protect your accounts from potential scammers. It’s also important to protect devices from malware, as scammers could try to get access to your data via a malicious program.
      • AT&T wireless customers can download advanced ActiveArmor security – with malware and Safe Browsing protection – that will scan every link you click in text messages, emails, and online and block potential threats before they do harm.
  • AI can make ‘vishing’ more effective. So far, voice phishing (vishing) has primarily involved the voices and calls of strangers. But that is changing with AI. For example, scammers can use AI to impersonate friends or family members and trick people into believing they are speaking with a trusted contact, however, the audio is faked with AI. While there isn’t evidence yet of widespread abuse of AI audio tools in scams, there will continue to be examples of targeted attacks utilizing faked voices.
    • How can you protect yourself against AI ‘vishing’ scams?
      • Beware of any unexpected or unusual calls – especially if they include demands for money. If someone is asking for gift cards, cryptocurrency, or a wire transfer out of the blue, you should be aware that these methods are used to make payments difficult or impossible to track. So, whenever you can, take action to research the situation further to validate if things are legitimate or not.
      • If you’re an AT&T wireless customer, AT&T ActiveArmor’s built-in network security can also automatically help you block spam calls. On average, AT&T blocks 10 million fraud calls per day in order to stop scammers before they can reach you. You can also download the AT&T ActiveArmor security application to further personalize your call settings, such as sending callers to voicemail if they aren’t in your address book.
  • AI can produce ‘deepfake” images and videos that look very real. With enough computing power and time, criminals can create convincing fake images and videos that transpose a face onto someone else’s body in almost any situation. These phony visuals are known as deepfakes. Examples of recent deepfakes include video footage where famous people were featured talking about cryptocurrency investments they were not involved with. Faked videos have also been used to directly ask victims for a payment to a charity or a get-rich-quick scheme. As the technology for this improves, not only will the number of these scam attempts increase, but the quality of them likely will too, making them increasingly difficult to spot.
    • How can you protect yourself against AI deepfakes scams?
      • AI scams – like most scams – can tap into basic human desires or fears that may compel people to take action without fully thinking through the context of the situation. For example, it’s tempting to jump at an opportunity to win something for free or have an opportunity to get rich fast. Generative AI apps make all these scams feel even more real. To overcome the power of technology employed by bad actors to fool us, we should take the time to analyze the context of the videos, images, and messages we encounter online. This can be done by asking yourself a few questions, for instance: “is the person moving too fast?” or “does the conversation suddenly turn to money?”

As we look to the future, AI has enormous potential for good, but protecting yourself from digital risks will be more important than ever. Luckily, AT&T ActiveArmor can help you:

  • Stay safe when communicating, surfing and shopping online
  • Block spam and nuisance calls before they can reach you
  • Stop malware with advanced antivirus software
  • Monitor your personal data online to help prevent ID theft
  • Safeguard your privacy when connecting with Wi-Fi with a VPN
  • Protect your Android or iOS smartphones and tablets with one single app

Find out more here

This article is AT&T sponsored content from F-Secure, a TechBuzz contributor. 

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