From Defense to Danger: Will AI Become the Pivotal Factor Shaping the Cybersphere?

David Kirsch: From Defense to Danger: Will AI Become the Pivotal Factor Shaping the Cybersphere? AIES Focus 2024/7.



This AIES Focus explores the dual implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the realm of cybersecurity, examining its role as both a defender and an aggressor. As digital infrastructures become increasingly complex, AI emerges as a pivotal technology capable of significantly enhancing security measures and, paradoxically, aiding cyber-attacks. The study analyzes AI's integration into cybersecurity through a number of use cases – for defenders, AI-assisted threat intelligence, darknet monitoring, automated patch management, and behavioral analytics for insider threat detection – to exemplify how AI technologies bolster security operations. Conversely, for attackers, the paper discusses AI’s role in automating Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, crafting personalized phishing schemes through FraudGPT, enabling sophisticated social engineering, and designing adaptive malware.

Furthermore, the paper delves into the specific security risks posed by Large Language Models (LLMs). It highlights vulnerabilities such as prompt injection, excessive agency and adversarial attacks. The integration of LLMs into web applications exposes new attack surfaces that can be exploited for data retrieval and can pose significant cyberthreats on other users. These examples underscore AI's dual capability to adapt and respond to cybersecurity challenges dynamically.

The paper calls for stringent policy recommendations, emphasizing the necessity of international cooperation and regulatory frameworks to balance AI's benefits and risks in cybersecurity. Through this analysis, the study underscores the profound impact AI has on the strategic planning of cyber operations and stresses the importance of strategic policy formulation in an increasingly interconnected cyber landscape.

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