Is AI the Solution to Cyber Resilience? | #cybercrime | #infosec

Though pandemic lockdowns are a fading memory, our behaviors have changed permanently: the International Trade Administration predicts that online sales will grow to a share of 22% of sales by 2025, up from 16% in 2021. Internet access also continues to march steadily upward, with another billion users expected to come online by 2027.

Technology is making it easier to connect, learn, make purchases, and share information — and it’s creating opportunities for bad actors to harm businesses and individuals. Many types of cybercrime are on the rise: for example, Allianz Commercial found that the percentage of ransomware attacks that led to data exfiltration doubled from 40% in 2019 to 80% in 2022, with the number of companies paying ransom rising from 10% to 54% over that same period.

Fortunately, technology is also amplifying our ability to stay ahead of threats, thanks largely to the rapid evolution of AI.

As the Founder of G2A.COM, the world’s largest marketplace for digital entertainment, I can say cybersecurity is as important to us as payments, prices, and customer support. We’ve leaned heavily into AI to help us combat rising cybercrime and keep every user in our marketplace safe from digital harm.

In this article, I’ll share my view on why cybercrime is rising and how AI can help us protect our businesses, employees, and customers.

Rising cybercrime is driving up costs and risks

Cybersecurity Ventures expects cybercrime to cost $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in 2015 — a 250% increase over just a decade.

Many factors are contributing to this growth. On one hand, nation-states are carrying out increasingly sophisticated attacks, such as the recent effort by North Korea to trick Western companies into hiring North Korean IT workers.

On the other hand, it’s getting easier for unsophisticated hackers to commit crimes: Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, reports that “the barriers to entry to cybercrime are dropping substantially.” Not to mention that technology makes crime psychologically easier by putting criminals at a distance from their victims.

The current economic climate also increases cyber risks, particularly insider threats. Threat actors take advantage of layoffs by targeting companies that have reduced their cybersecurity teams: ISC2 found that “those at companies that have had layoffs in cybersecurity are three times more likely to have been approached to act as a malicious insider.”

Against this unpredictable backdrop, it’s critical that businesses adopt a strategy of resilience, combining proactive defensive mechanisms with continuity protocols.

AI is one of the keys to cyber resilience in 2024 and beyond

Cybercriminals are constantly adopting new tactics and technologies. At the same time, hiring cybersecurity talent is harder than ever: ISC2 reports that in 2023, there were “roughly 4 million cybersecurity professionals needed worldwide” — up 13% from 2022.

How can businesses keep up without vastly increasing the amount of resources they expend on cybersecurity? 

At G2A.COM, we have relied on AI to help us answer this question. We treat AI as the first line of defense in our security infrastructure to help us detect vulnerabilities before they lead to harm. We use AI to:

  • Look for anomalies within behavior patterns that might indicate the presence of bad actors, such as unexpected new user accounts, changing user permissions, or suspicious login activity
  • Assess the possible outcomes of suspicious activity to help us quickly determine an appropriate course of action
  • Take appropriate actions to reduce risk without human intervention, such as preventing data deletion or forcing suspicious users off of the system

All of these actions, which typically require immense human involvement, can safely be carried out by our AI-powered security stack, allowing our team to instead prioritize more complex threats. Furthermore, our AI-powered capabilities can learn from previous experiences to more effectively identify and respond to suspicious activity in the future.

AI isn’t a panacea

Despite the remarkable progress AI has made over the past several months, there is still room for improvement.

Criminals are quickly learning how to circumvent and trick AI, analyzing its vulnerabilities and behaving in ways that evade detection, even by the most advanced systems. The cybersecurity community is used to this endless game of cat and mouse, and while AI enhances our ability to identify and remediate vulnerabilities, there is still much work to be done.

Cybersecurity leaders should also be aware of the potential for AI to generate false positives of malicious activity. The research found by Morning Consult indicated that Security Operations Center (SOC) team members spend a third of their typical workday investigating incidents that turn out to be benign — and while AI can improve the quality of alerts, it doesn’t fully eliminate false positives.

AI also isn’t the only ingredient in an effective cyber resilience strategy. We need people to provide uniquely human insight and intelligence, from making judgments on whether anomalies flagged by AI truly constitute threats, to staying vigilant against social engineering and phishing attacks.

Making the most of AI as a community

AI has significantly increased our ability to address and remediate threats before they impact our users. No marketplace in the world is entirely safe from fraud, but thanks to the power of AI, our platform has maintained a fraud rate significantly lower than the global average.

This translates directly to companies’ bottom lines. IBM reports that AI helps save on average $1.8 million USD in costs per organization should a data breach occur.

But no technology is free of risks — AI included. Cybersecurity leaders must be aware of the possible negative impacts as they seek to make the most of these powerful new technologies.

To that end, it’s important for the cybersecurity community to communicate openly about progress and challenges. Our company strives to be an ambassador for cybersecurity, sharing our views and participating in discussions with other businesses. I look forward to continuing to explore the potential for AI alongside other business leaders striving to develop resilience in today’s tumultuous world.

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National Cyber Security