By Don A. Holbrook
Most of the previous efforts aimed at technology assessed threats have been given to the corporate IT departments in the past. However, that situation is changing. Many companies are finding that the threat to technology dependent and based assets is too great of a sole responsibility for their traditional IT staff. There has even been a movement recently to attract and include cyber security experts on many boards of directors. The creation of new departments focused completely upon cyber security threats is now recognized as necessary investments.
What might you ask is driving this huge metamorphic change in the IT world? I think you all could guess by now…AI, Artificial Intelligence based technologies.
As AI increases in sophistication at a candidly alarming rate, we will continue to see more sophisticated and smarter AI-powered attacks that succeed and bring huge corporate goliaths to their knees. These attacks will range from deepfake social engineering attempts to automated malware that intelligently adapts in order to evade detection. At the same time, it will help us detect, evade, or neutralize threats thanks to real-time anomaly detection, smart authentication and something in the cyber resilience sector called automated incident response. If cyber-attacks and defense in 2024 is a game of chess, then AI is the queen of the playing field–giving those using such tactics the ability to create powerful strategic advantages for whoever plays it first and with superior skills.
The Pandemic created a new work from home environment that reshaped the global workforce and the corporate real estate market, even companies such as Facebook are failing to utilize their former square footage by this shift in work trend.
Now more devices are talking to each other and accessing the internet and that amounts to more potential “ways in” for cyber attackers. With the work-from-home revolution continuing, the risks posed by workers connecting or sharing data over improperly secured devices will continue to grow in threat protocols. Most, of these devices are designed for ease of use and convenience rather than secure operations, and home consumer devices may be at risk due to weak security protocols and passwords, driven by our own human lack of focus. The fact that industry has generally dragged its feet over security standards, despite the fact that the vulnerabilities have been apparent for many years, this has thus created a cyber security weak spot.
Generative AI will be as disruptive to the world as the dot com (.com) era was in the early 2000’s. It becomes a force multiplier for nefarious attacks at an astounding growth and success rate. Some will argue that AI will be as revolutionary as the Internet itself.
Threat actors have always found a way to leverage new technology for malicious behavior and black-market profits and extorsion. Early indicators for this potential have already materialized in the form of fake news articles from leading periodicals, faux legal cases, and fake correspondence and announcements from recognized organizations, that were wholly artificially generated. These will materialize in the form of videos, vocals, advertisements, and even fake history or faux product announcements that will challenge our ability to determine what is real and what is a scam. The capability to fake advocates and even their own speech has proved a time-consuming effort for the media.
Artificial Super Intelligence fueled by supercomputing generative powers will be able to adapt and identify countermeasures before they can become effective.
More narrow channels of AI which interact with human interface such as ChatGPT are proving awesome powerful and exponentially fast at engaging and finding vulnerabilities in our previous cyber space-based security protocols.
Two terms cyber security and cyber resilience are often used in the same meaning. However, the distinction will become increasingly important during 2024 and beyond. The focus of cyber security is on preventing attacks, the growing value placed on resilience by many organizations reflects the hard truth that even the best security can’t guarantee 100 percent protection, it is doomed to be breached. Resilience measures are designed to ensure continuity of operations even in the wake of a successful breach. Developing the capability to recover in a manner that minimalizes the loss of trust by users, while minimizing data loss and downtime will be a strategic priority in 2024. Companies are not the only giants tackled by these attacks, states, cities, utilities, even national institutions are prime candidates for attack.
Zero Trust Infrastructure is the New Norm
This new AI driven threat has proven that trust but verify simply is not up to the threat. The new cyber threat can react and adapt faster than our human logic driven defense systems. Why? Because with machine learning and supercomputing they can simulate millions of scenarios in seconds until they find the right avenue of attack.
Warfare at all levels threatens human enterprise more than ever before. We are seeing this cyber-attack capability playout in the two wars going on now in Ukraine and Israel with drones and electronic counter measure software supported by generative AI.
Government regulations will become not only necessary but a matter of national security.
The introduction of new security protocols is now on the forefront of governments in Europe and North America. These new protocols may not be enough of the ability of the AI infrastructure is the threat level that some predict.
On Nov 2, 2023 Elon Musk stated, “AI will eventually create a situation where ‘no job is needed. AI will have the potential to become the most disruptive force in history.”
Blockchain economics is the new ATM system in this high threat environment. The various crypto pitch slogans highlight the threat to traditional transactional tools and tout their own ability to be impervious to such economic flaws. With the adaptation speed that AI has shown I believe AI is capable of exposing the Achilles heel of even the crypto block chain security bravado…it is human intervention and our ability to be tricked into unsecure environments that compromise our best intentions.
Bio: Don A. Holbrook is a 25-year veteran economic development site location and incentive consultant. He and his team have worked on projects across North America and around the globe. His focus is primarily on place-based economic development tourism strategies and designing the team and products that communities’ can use to attract such investments. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and has written five, best-selling books speaking frequently around the world at professional functions. He has been featured on CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, PBS television and radio networks, and in LA Times, USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, FDI (the Economist Group) and many local television, print and radio interviews. He has been one of the North American Judges for FDI Magazine for the past six years on The Best Community Economies for Growth & Investment. He is a former board of director of the International Economic Development Council, and Fellow Member of IEDC, as well as Certified Economic Developer.