Experts Raise Concerns as Artificial Intelligence Advances Pose New Threats to Email Security
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning that artificial intelligence (AI) advancements may lead to scam emails being indistinguishable from genuine ones.
The agency specifically highlighted the growing sophistication of generative AI, which can produce convincing text, voice, and images from simple prompts. The NCSC expects the volume and impact of cyber-attacks to increase over the next two years due to AI’s role in complicating efforts to identify phishing, spoofing, and social engineering attempts.
The agency also anticipates a rise in ransomware attacks, making it more challenging for individuals to assess the authenticity of emails and password reset requests.
Generative AI, capable of creating persuasive content, poses a significant threat to cybersecurity as it lowers the entry barrier for amateur cybercriminals.
The NCSC emphasizes the technology’s role in enhancing the believability of phishing attempts by creating fake lure documents without typical errors. While it won’t directly improve ransomware code effectiveness, generative AI aids in identifying potential targets.
The agency notes that state actors are well-positioned to leverage AI in advanced cyber operations, raising concerns about potential misuse. However, the report also highlights AI’s defensive capabilities, emphasizing its role in detecting attacks and designing more secure systems.
As cyber threats evolve, the NCSC’s warning underscores the need for businesses and individuals to adapt their cybersecurity measures. The report coincides with the UK government’s introduction of new guidelines, the “Cyber Governance Code of Practice,” encouraging businesses to enhance their preparedness against ransomware attacks.
Despite these efforts, cybersecurity experts, including former NCSC head Ciaran Martin, stress the necessity of more robust actions, including reconsidering ransom payment rules and addressing persistent threats from cybercriminals based in hostile nations.
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