Artificial Intelligence (AI) has undoubtedly opened many doors in terms of innovation and efficiency. However, with its power and potential also come significant risks and threats, especially in the area of cybersecurity. In this blog post, we discuss the potential threats of AI to the cybersecurity of small and medium-sized businesses in the next 5 years.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI, or artificial intelligence, is a field within computer science that focuses on creating smart machines that think and learn like humans. It is like building a robot or computer program capable of performing tasks that require normal human thinking skills, such as solving puzzles, understanding language, or recognizing patterns.

Imagine having a robot that can help you clean up your room, or a phone app that can chat and respond like a real friend. Those are some of the things that are possible thanks to AI.

So, in simple terms, AI is a way of making machines, robots or software “smart” so they can perform tasks that normally only humans can do. It’s an exciting and rapidly growing field that has a lot of potential for the future.

AI’s threats to businesses

Automated Cyber Attacks

AI technology can be used by cybercriminals to carry out more sophisticated and automated cyberattacks. It allows them to quickly identify and exploit vulnerabilities, and carry out attacks on a larger scale. There is even already such a thing as “ransomware as a service. This is a service you can purchase to then distribute ransomware.

Deepfakes and misinformation

AI can be used to create realistic “deepfakes. These are fake videos or audio that appear to represent real people. This can lead to reputational damage, deception and financial fraud.

AI-based social engineering attacks

AI can also be used to carry out highly convincing phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering, increasing the risk to small and medium-sized businesses. Phishing emails are written in perfect Dutch and appear very convincing. Thus, it becomes a lot harder for the average person to recognize a phishing email.

The Impact on SMBs

SMBs may be particularly vulnerable to these threats given their limited cybersecurity resources. They are therefore increasingly a target of cybercriminals using AI.

What you can do

With the increasing threats in the online landscape, it is important for you as a business to guard against them. You can use the following areas of focus to your advantage:

  • Use AI to your advantage: Just as AI can be used to carry out cyber attacks, it can also be used to combat these attacks. AI can analyze large amounts of data to identify abnormal patterns that may indicate a cyber attack. It can also help predict and proactively respond to future threats.
  • Invest in training: Make sure all employees understand the basics of cybersecurity. This includes awareness training, the importance of strong passwords and recognizing suspicious activity.
  • Software updates: Many cyber attacks exploit known security vulnerabilities in software. By ensuring that all software is up-to-date, companies can minimize these attack points.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security that can help prevent unauthorized access to corporate systems.
  • Backups: Regular backups of critical data can help minimize damage if a successful attack occurs.