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How Artificial Intelligence Complicates the Fight Against Phishing

The age-old challenge of social engineering has haunted the online realm ever since the advent of email. Deceptive messages have been a key aspect in the distribution of harmful ransom payments and the theft of sensitive credentials.  However, if you thought the problem was getting better, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to only add more complexity to the issue.

 

While AI is making waves in the business assistant world and helping to make many work tasks easier and more efficient, it comes with some concerning affects on cybersecurity as well.


phishing image with cell phone and laptop in background

 A crucial component in phishing schemes and social engineering schemes is deception. The goal is to masquerade as a trustworthy contact or message, tricking recipients into giving access, credentials or other vital information. Traditionally, defense against phishing emails and deceptive strategies involved recognizing specific indicators or relying on zero-trust policies. Yet, the advent of AI is reshaping the landscape and mechanisms behind these malicious messages, bringing in a new landscape where the looming threat of AI-generated phishing emails, that are nearly impossible to detect, becomes a stark reality businesses are being forced to confront.

 

Dangerous Lure Documents

Two key factors drive the heightened risks associated with AI phishing emails and social media scams:

 

Automation 

The speed of AI-generated messages surpasses that of traditional scam emails, leading to a significant uptick in the frequency of attacks. Attackers can swiftly initiate threat campaigns with enhanced efficiency. Platforms like RaaS in the dark markets enable even inexperienced users to deploy intricate malware. The integration of AI in phishing greatly heightens the threat of these attacks, amplifying both their volume and speed.

 

Deception

AI-generated content not only accelerates the aggregation of messages but also minimizes errors. Models can be trained to replicate business emails for Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, for instance. Additionally, they can collaborate with malicious chatbots to further deceive recipients of these hazardous messages. The primary objective is precision and the semblance of legitimacy, a feat AI accomplishes with greater efficiency compared to conventional methods.

 

The ultimate aim is realism, and social engineering already poses a substantial challenge for users lacking expertise. If AI, employed in phishing endeavors, can produce emails that convincingly mimic authenticity, it raises critical questions about how to effectively counteract such sophisticated threats.

 

image of e-book for modern crime click to download

Protecting Your Business

 

Effectively countering social engineering and phishing poses a genuine challenge. Given that phishing remains a prevalent method among attackers, it becomes imperative to adopt strategies for protection. However, the advent of AI-generated content has added complexity to this task.

 

While it may seem daunting, it is not an insurmountable challenge. Many of the defenses employed against traditional phishing can still be effective against AI-enhanced phishing. The key lies in adhering to zero-trust policies, following the "trust until verify" approach. In the realm of business network environments, zero trust entails refraining from accessing or interacting with message content until the sender's safety is confirmed.

 

The concept of zero trust extends to personal activities as well. When dealing with messages or emails, identifying suspicious indicators remains crucial in detecting phishing attempts. Phishing messages often employ emotional triggers to prompt readers into hasty actions. Recognizable signs include requests to make "account changes," modify passwords, review logins for sensitive accounts (such as banks or business accounts), or address alleged financial accounting errors.

 

Fighting AI with AI

 

Another aspect worth considering is security frameworks reliant on AI, which possess the capability to actively identify AI-generated content. These models leverage analytics to swiftly collect data on threat behaviors, enhancing network defenses against both AI and malware attacks.

 

The rapid learning and response capabilities of AI models make them an optimal defense against attacks generated by AI, given the latter's ability to produce malicious content within minutes.

 

In essence, phishing continues to pose a significant threat, and its severity is only compounded by the integration of AI-generated content. Employing strategies such as zero-trust, security awareness training, and AI analytics becomes imperative to proactively address these challenges and safeguard your data.

 

MapleTronics Can Help

MapleTronics provides a suite of tailored services addressing the diverse needs of businesses. These services encompass thorough risk assessments, advanced cybersecurity solutions, and fully managed security operations, all aimed at bolstering the security and efficiency of IT operations. With expertise in managing a wide range of IT risks, MapleTronics emerges as an ideal partner for companies seeking to strengthen their IT infrastructure and ensure business continuity amidst evolving digital threats.

 

Contact MapleTronics today for more information.

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