Could the Growth of AI Lead to a Boost in Cybercrime?

Experts say action must be taken to control artificial intelligence tech

A dramatic increase of artificial intelligence could enable new forms of cybercrime, according to a new report penned by a group of 26 experts from around the world.

In the report, AI is described as a "dual use technology" potential military and civilian uses, akin to nuclear power, explosives and hacking tools.

“As AI capabilities become more powerful and widespread, we expect the growing use of AI systems to lead to the expansion of existing threats, the introduction of new threats and a change to the typical character of threats,” the report says.

The experts argue that researchers need to consider the potential misuse of the deep learning technology far earlier in their course of studies than they presently do, and work to create regulatory frameworks to prevent malicious uses of AI.

The report warns that if the advice is not followed, AI is likely to revolutionize the power of bad actors to threaten life everyday. In the cyber world, AI could be used to lower the barrier to entry for carrying out damaging hacking attacks. The technology could automate the discovery of critical software bugs or rapidly select potential victims for financial crimes.

The report suggests AI could even be used to abuse Facebook-style algorithmic profiling to create "social engineering" attacks designed to maximize the likelihood that a user will click on a malicious link or download an infected attachment.  

The report concedes that AI is the best defense against AI, but argues that "AI-based defense is not a panacea, especially when we look beyond the digital domain."

"More work should also be done in understanding the right balance of openness in AI, developing improved technical measures for formally verifying the robustness of systems, and ensuring that policy frameworks developed in a less AI-infused world adapt to the new world we are creating," the report said.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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