Planning a meeting with a client is a part of the usual daily routine. When you agree on the details, the client sends you the instructions and a map of a place where the meeting is going to happen. It’s a common way of communication, but you would never suspect that it’s written by a malware imitating the real client’s email writing style with a virus that you will get a map.
It looks impossible for now, but as Dave Palmer (director of technology at cyber security firm Darktrace) says, this is a new way hackers will use to beat the security companies.
We are witnesses that artificial intelligence evolves every day, but Palmer warns at the FT Cybersecurity Summit in London this September, that it will unavoidably find the way into malware, which will cause the disastrous consequences for any business and individuals – potential targets for hackers.
Palmer is an expert in the security business. His job is to fight against the threats every day and to persuade customers that Darktrace, a $500 million worth British firm, is the only one that can protect them. Using the AI-driven approach to protecting networks, they create some kind of immune system which learns how business works and then monitors and detects possible irregularities. As a director of one of the best young companies, Palmer gives an interesting view of how cybersecurity evolves.
Smart malware will hold industrial tools to ransom
Right now, ransomware is unique. With this type of malware, hackers can encrypt any file or network on the victim’s computer. After the successful invasion, hacker demands a Bitcoin ransom from users if they want to regain the access to their computers. In case they don’t want to pay, they will lose all the data. This malware can cause maximum damage and attack even more profitable targets.
Palmer said that before takes an action, ransomware can spread over the large number of areas of the network. Palmer believes that we’ll see the extortion of funds for factory equipment, MRI scanners in hospitals, etc. because you must pay for to have it back online if you want to work with it. It’s easy with the data because you can always create a backup, but if your machines stop working, you can’t do anything.
Thanks to the recurring neural networks, it’s possible to train artificial intelligence software to imitate the writing style, regardless of article type. Palmer also warns that malware will have the ability to imitate your writing style from your emails to attack other targets. It also can have access to your calendar and schedule meetings so you can receive a map with the meeting location, but the map would contain a payload attached to it.
Malware will get to mimic folks you know
The perfect example of how vulnerable the modern systems is Ukrainian power station incident in 2015 reportedly hacked by Russian-state sponsored hackers when 80000 people lost power. Palmer believes that such hacks will be far less visible in the future. He also notes that the future attacks could be in the internet of things, submarines, scanning equipment and we’ll need to have too much luck to find them.
The artificial intelligence revolution is still in the early stage of development, no matter if it is used for self-driving cars or treating cancer. But it will be used much more for illegal activities as it becomes more accessible.
Palmer thinks that if you train a neural network in the next 12 months, it would be strong enough to fight with the upcoming attacks.
The future of artificial intelligence is coming, and you must be prepared for its dark side.