Artificial intelligence can be a weapon for and against hackers, says DigiCert expert

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Along with the development of technology, the number of cyberattacks by hackers have also boomed in recent years. All the giant companies such as Yahoo, Marriot, Target, Sony and Adobe have been attacked by the cybercriminals.

While some surveys showed how hackers are currently targeting particular sectors from different countries, some of them said even small business firms have been increasingly becoming targets recently.

But the world still has a partial understanding of such cyber-attacks and to what extent such campaigns could affect the private as well as government organizations. In these issues, IBTimes Singapore reached out to a US-based technology company, DigiCert.

Its head of Research and Development, Avesta Hojjati unfolded a few unknown facts about cybersecurity threats and talked about the scenario related to artificial intelligence (AI).

Avesta Hojjati
Avesta Hojjati, head of R&D at DigiCert

He mentioned that in this present scenario not only multinationals, but even big companies are the most favourites of the hackers, as the threat actors target even small companies, who previously believed that they were in a safe zone.

Hojjati said, "The surge has come in large part because more transactions are happening online and because more things than ever are now connected to the internet. The increase in digital business, as well as the increased desire for data, also play into the surge of cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals are often looking to take advantage of low authentication."

As he mentioned currently the "majority of the attacks that we are witnessing consist of phishing or taking advantage of improper authentication or individual security training."

Hojjati mentioned that manufacturers often take short cuts when it comes to security and using weak passwords instead of using digital certificates is a common practice among these device providers.

While explaining the issue, he mentioned about the popular internet service provider in Singapore, StarHub which was hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, that happened due to default credentials which weren't changed in internet devices.

"A recent report commissioned by the UN Security Council showed that North Korea has used state-sponsored hacking to evade international sanctions, stealing $670 million in foreign currency and cryptocurrency between 2015 and 2018," Hojjati noted.

The world knows how the artificial intelligence (AI) industry is booming and when we asked about it in connection with cyber threats, the DigiCert official clearly stated that hackers can absolutely take advantage of AI. He said as per Gartner Security Risk Management Summit research, "making even the slightest changes to machine learning datasets can cause malicious files to get a benign rating and pass testing." A Kyushu University study found that by changing simply one pixel in photos, the AI wrongly labelled 74 percent of the pictures they saw.

But AI can also be used to identify the threat actors or potentially prevent these attacks, he mentioned. The cyberattack companies can "embrace progress related to AI and machine learning (ML) and be ready for attackers to adapt to the changes as well. We should constantly assess our solutions and anticipate that hackers will use AI and ML in their attacks."

Related topics : Artificial intelligence