The world is changing. The technology behind AI has been shaping our web searches, social media feeds, and streaming media experiences for years. But the AI tools that have exploded into mass consciousness in 2023 present a wide array of new factors to consider.
It’s almost too easy to imagine all the ways in which apps that create incredible text, images, and videos can be used for cyber crime, as Mikko Hypponen, Principal Research Advisor at F-Secure, has noted. “Very soon, it will be very difficult to discern what’s real and what’s not,” he said. “This will become the overarching role of cybersecurity – assessing authenticity in a world of deepfakes.”
However, it’s important to remember that AI as it exists now is not self-aware or automated. While technology itself is powerful and new, the risks primary come not from the technology but the people who use it. “When it comes to cyber crime, the full benefits of AI have not yet been realized,” Threat Intelligence Lead at F-Secure Laura Kankaala said. “The scams may look fancier, but – fortunately – defending against these threats is nothing new.”
Here are four things everyone can do to make sure their cyber security is optimized as AI becomes more and more powerful.
- Stick to the basics
While the number of people who purposefully use AI on a regular basis has skyrocketed, the basics of cyber security remain largely the same. Practicing security essentials – including securing accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication – only becomes more important in world where almost anything can be faked.
“As always, be on the lookout for scams,” Kankaala said. “No matter what the context is or how well the scam messages have been written, criminals want you to act. Don’t give out your credentials, install malware, or transfer money or cryptocurrency to suspicious accounts – ever.”
That’s solid advice, but it’s difficult to remember in key moments. That’s why step two is so important.
- Ask yourself the tough questions.
Scams tap into the basic human desire to hope for the best. There’s a part of nearly all of us that wants to believe we’ve won something for free or have been contacted by an attractive stranger or discovered a way to get rich fast.
Generative AI apps make all these scams feel even more real. To overcome the power of technology employed by bad actors to fool us, we must be willing to challenge our own assumptions.
Kankaala advises to constantly analyze the context and what kind of engagement you have with any stranger online. This can be done by asking yourself a few questions:
- Is the person moving too fast – does the conversation suddenly turn to money or private images?
- Are they trying to convince you to download something?
- Are they scaring or rushing you into doing something that relates to money or purchasing something?
- Accept and adapt.
It’s also important to remember that the potential good and usefulness of AI means it’s likely to spread further and further into our lives, despite any risks it may present.
Avoiding generative AI tools in 2023 may be possible, just as it was possible to avoid using a search engine in the late 1990s. However, the ease and power of Google soon made search as essential as the internet itself. AI is likely to follow a similar path. As chatbots and image generators increase their utility, using them will become second nature – for both you and criminals.
“The cliché you will hear a lot is that only good AI can stop bad AI. And that’s probably true, especially in the long run,” Kankaala said. “But for now, we need to be much more worried about bad people using good AI. And the only way to fight against that is with good internet security, awareness, and diligence.”
- Use TDS’ Internet Security Suite to stay secure.
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