Hackers trying to corrupt AI, raising level of ransomware threat: S’pore cyber-security director | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

SINGAPORE – Cyber criminals are actively trying to corrupt generative artificial intelligence (AI), which may then put the ability to create ransomware in the hands of individuals.

The looming threat is what keeps Mr Willis Lim, the director of the National Cyber Threat Analysis Centre at the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), up at night.

Generative AI platforms like ChatGPT were created to be a productivity tool.

But it seems such tools are also boosting the productivity of cyber criminals, said Mr Lim in an interview with The Straits Times on Tuesday.

“On underground forums and the dark web, there are these thriving channels where cyber criminals actively talk about jailbreaking AI tools like ChatGPT to unlock their full malicious potential,” he said.

“If they succeed, they can use AI to turbocharge ransomware. It is a totally new level of threat if you put the capability to create ransomware using AI in the hands of each and every person. It’s the biggest concern of every cyber-security agency around the world.”

Ransomware, which is a malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid, is already a problem.

According to CSA’s Singapore Cyber Landscape 2022 report, cyber-security vendors reported a 13 per cent increase in ransomware incidents worldwide in 2022.

Mr Lim said more than 130 cases were reported here in 2022, and that not every victim will report an attack.

“To put it into perspective, that is like one ransomware case every three days or so,” he said.

“And the 130 may very well be the tip of the iceberg. Some surveys show that only a fifth of victims either report or reach out to law enforcement for help.”

Other cyber-security experts who spoke to ST previously warned that ransomware may very well be the biggest criminal threat in 2023.

Mr Philip Reiner, the chief executive of cyber-security think-tank Institute for Security and Technology, said he expects a record-breaking number of ransomware attacks in 2023.

Mr Derek Manky, chief security strategist and vice-president of global threat intelligence at cyber-security company Fortinet, said the ransomware scene is flourishing because of how profitable it has been.


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National Cyber Security