Cybercrime is rapidly growing and has become one of the world’s most lucrative ventures. If cybercrime were considered a nation with a GDP, it would rank as the third largest economy after the United States and China. The average cost of a data breach has increased to $4.24 million, with ransomware accounting for a significant portion of breaches.
The rise of cybercrime was expected as criminals are quick to adopt new technologies, and there are abundant targets available. Cybercriminals have been using artificial intelligence (AI) to create malware, deepfakes, disinformation campaigns, phishing emails, and even to discover vulnerabilities to exploit. As AI continues to advance, cybersecurity companies are also innovating with AI to mitigate risks and prevent cybercrime. AI has shown promise in cleaning up vulnerable code, detecting scams, managing exposure, and improving prevention.
Interestingly, there has been a shift in industry leaders’ perspective on government regulation. Previously, they opposed regulation that could impede innovation. However, in the field of cybersecurity and AI, leaders in the United States and Europe have embraced the idea of regulation and are ahead of the curve in advocating for it. They recognize the need for frameworks, policies, and laws to manage risks and promote ethical AI innovation.
There is also an apparent change in how people view technology risks. Americans, in particular, have expressed concerns about the proliferation of AI, fearing job displacement and existential threats. Globally, cybersecurity is considered one of the top risks in terms of severity of impact. This shift in perception should prompt industry and governments to take action and develop mutual trust in the field of AI and cybersecurity.
Culture plays a significant role in combating cybercrime. The traditional view of cybersecurity as solely the responsibility of the IT department has created division and hindered effective risk management. Companies and organizations must prioritize cybersecurity and foster a security culture throughout the entire organization. Education and improvements in security culture, combined with the integration of human intelligence and AI, can have a profound impact on improving cybersecurity.
The urgency to act is recognized by the Biden administration, which places emphasis on those who can make significant contributions to cybersecurity, with AI playing a critical role. There is a unique alignment of interests and perceptions that present an opportunity to improve cybersecurity and weaken the hold that cybercriminals have on us.