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AI will add to global ransomware threat, UK cybersecurity chiefs say | #ransomware | #cybercrime | #hacking | #aihp


The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will enhance the threat posed by ransomware over the coming years, the UK’s cybersecurity agency has warned.

A new report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – which is a part of GCHQ – said the technology is lowering the barrier of entry to novice cybercriminals.

As a result, AI is enabling unskilled online actors to carry out more effective cyberattacks, the report says.

The NCSC also warned that bad actors are using AI to better find and target victims, with its report concluding that the technology is already being used in what it called malicious cyberactivity, and said it believed this will almost certainly increase the volume and impact of cyberattacks, including ransomware, in the near term.

Ransomware involves hackers gaining access to a user’s system and then either stealing or locking access to files using encryption, demanding a ransom to return the data. The agency has previously identified ransomware as the biggest online threat facing countries like the UK.

The NCSC said analysis from the National Crime Agency (NCA) suggests that cybercriminals have already started to develop criminal versions of generative AI models, making better hacking tools available to anyone willing to pay.

“We must ensure that we both harness AI technology for its vast potential and manage its risks – including its implications on the cyber threat,” NCSC chief executive Lindy Cameron said.

“The emergent use of AI in cyberattacks is evolutionary not revolutionary, meaning that it enhances existing threats like ransomware but does not transform the risk landscape in the near term,” Cameron said.

James Babbage, director-general for threats at the NCA, said ransomware continues to be a national security threat.

“As this report shows, the threat is likely to increase in the coming years due to advancements in AI and the exploitation of this technology by cybercriminals,” he said.

“AI services lower barriers to entry, increasing the number of cybercriminals, and will boost their capability by improving the scale, speed and effectiveness of existing attack methods. Fraud and child sexual abuse are also particularly likely to be affected.”

AI is enabling unskilled people to carry out more effective and sophisticated cyberattacks, security experts say. Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa

AI is enabling unskilled people to carry out more effective and sophisticated cyberattacks, security experts say. Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa

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