Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to impact every industry in the near future—including the lucrative business of malicious hacking and the cybersecurity industry working to defend against those attacks.
Enterprise IT and security professionals recognize AI's potential in cybersecurity, according to a new report from Neustar: 87% of the 301 senior technology and security workers surveyed agreed that AI will make a difference in their company's defenses. However, 82% said they are also afraid of attackers using AI against their company, the report found.
In a cyberattack, IT and security professionals said they most fear stolen company data (50%), loss of customer trust (19%), unstable business performance (16%), and the cost implications (16%).
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
Despite the risks, 59% of security pros said they remain apprehensive about adopting AI for security purposes, the report found.
"Artificial intelligence has been a major topic of discussion in recent times - with good reason," Rodney Joffe, head of the the Neustar International Security Council and Neustar senior vice president and fellow, said in a press release. "There is immense opportunity available, but as we've seen today with this data, we're at a crossroads. Organizations know the benefits, but they are also aware that today's attackers have unique capabilities to cause destruction with that same technology. As a result, they've come to a point where they're unsure if AI is a friend or foe."
In terms of threats, security professionals said they were most concerned about DDoS attacks (22%), system compromise (20%), and ransomware (15%). Nearly half of organizations surveyed (46%) said they had been on the receiving end of a DDoS attack in Q3 2018, a higher proportion than in years past, the report found.
"What we do know is that IT leaders are confident in AI's ability to make a significant difference in their defenses," Joffe said in the release. "So what's needed now is for security teams to prioritize education around AI, not only to ensure that the most efficient security strategies have been implemented, but to give organizations the opportunity to embrace - and not fear - this technology."
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- 82% of security professionals said they are afraid of attackers using AI in cyberattacks against their company. — Neustar, 2018
- Security professionals said they were most concerned about DDoS attacks (22%), system compromise (20%), and ransomware (15%). — Neustar, 2018
- Special report: How to implement AI and machine learning (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Machine learning: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- AI in business: Making machine learning work for customers (ZDNet)
- Google's G Suite adds new AI and security tools (CNET)
- How AI, IoT, and big data will shape the future of cybersecurity (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.