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Understand the cybersecurity impact of AI

Siân John MBE, Chief Technology Officer at global cyber and software resilience business NCC Group, talks us through some of the key cybersecurity considerations around AI.

Three key AI security recommendations:

  1.  Record and understand your threats, manage risks and seize the opportunities presented by AI to improve your cyber posture.
  2. Adopt a hacker mindset by conducting penetration testing and red teaming against AI systems, presuming attackers are leveraging AI to improve the efficacy of their attacks.
  3. Ensure that privacy, information security and ethics, as well as evolving regulatory requirements, are considered when developing or using AI within business applications, and that AI systems and applications are developed in line with relevant regulatory requirements.

AI - friend or foe?

NCC Group has been researching and incorporating elements of AI and machine learning for years, but we understand 2023 has been a catalyst year for widespread adoption of new tools and systems.

The world has witnessed a transformative shift in the utilisation of AI, spurred by the introduction of advanced Large Language Models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google's Bard, and Microsoft's Bing Creator. These deep learning algorithms, which can recognise, translate, predict, or generate content are already incredibly powerful commercial models, yet they’re still in relatively nascent stages.

The widespread adoption of AI in businesses this year has opened new avenues for innovation but also unveiled novel cyber security challenges. AI systems magnify risks relating to data privacy, integrity, and potential biases. Moreover, they can be susceptible to adversarial attacks, where subtly altered inputs can deceive a system into making incorrect predictions or classifications.

For cyber security advisors like NCC Group, these developments have highlighted the pressing need to consult with businesses on the secure design and implementation of robust AI systems that can withstand malicious attacks, to establish ethical guidelines for AI implementations, and to remain constantly vigilant to emerging threats in the rapidly evolving landscape of AI and cyber security.

Businesses harnessing LLMs should be acutely aware that while these models could offer transformative capabilities, they may also introduce cybersecurity concerns in data privacy, potential biases, and susceptibility to adversarial attacks. 

Sian John MBE, Chief Technology Officer
NCC Group

Businesses need to ensure the integrity of input data, and that AI model responses are constantly monitored for unintended information leakage.

 Of course, AI is a much broader topic, spanning application domains such as autonomous vehicles, autonomous and intelligent stock trading, facial recognition, surveillance, and cyber security detection and response – to name but a few. The pervasiveness of AI presents many opportunities to improve society in a myriad of ways. But these new capabilities also introduce new risks and challenges in their safe, secure and ethical use.

Cyber resilience in the age of artificial intelligence

NCC Group has published a new research paper to support organisations of all shapes and sizes better understand how AI applies to cybersecurity.

The paper provides high-level summaries of how AI can be used by both cyber professionals and adversaries, the risks AI systems are exposed to, safety, privacy and ethics concerns and how the regulatory landscape is evolving to meet these challenges.

The trajectory of AI development has been nothing short of meteoric in recent years. Ensuring the safety and security of people, process and technology in an AI-augmented world demands vigilance, and a commitment to forward-thinking strategies that will require continuous adaptation.

Download NCC Group’s latest report

If you’re in the manufacturing sector or its supply chain and interested in this topic, why not join our webinar to hear more about the important role robotics and automation will play in helping UK industry to thrive in the future. Please register here.

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

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