The rise of generative artificial intelligence has brought about numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. However, it has also given birth to new threats that compromise security and privacy. Criminals and malicious actors have begun exploiting generative AI for their nefarious purposes, leading to a surge in cybercrimes.
In a recent incident in Thiruvananthapuram, a man was scammed of Rs. 40,000 when the perpetrator used deepfakes to impersonate someone the victim knew. Such cases highlight the increasing use of advanced AI malware by criminals. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the USA has even issued a warning to raise awareness about these crimes.
According to a report, the FBI conducted a meeting with journalists to discuss the role of generative AI malware in the proliferation of cybercrimes. While no specific platform was mentioned, it was noted that criminals are gravitating towards free, customizable, and open-source platforms. Private hacker-developed AI programs are also gaining popularity in this realm.
There are various ways cybercriminals employ AI technology to execute their malicious schemes. One prevalent method involves using AI to create deepfakes of individuals known to the victim, deceiving them through fake videos and altered voices. Another technique leverages AI to develop malware, including phishing tools, spyware, ransomware, trojan viruses, among others. AI-powered malware creation significantly reduces the time and effort required to develop and enhance these programs, making them stealthier and capable of bypassing recognition systems. Polymorphic malware represents the most concerning variant as it can even elude antivirus programs.
To protect oneself from these threats, it is crucial to exercise vigilance when using the internet, particularly when checking emails or clicking on unfamiliar links. Refrain from opening emails from unknown senders and avoid clicking on suspicious links. Additionally, avoid storing sensitive information or financial data on your computer. If necessary, ensure you have an up-to-date antivirus program and keep these files in a password-protected folder. Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your smartphone can also enhance security measures. Lastly, when approached over the phone by someone requesting a financial transaction, exercise caution and verify the authenticity of the request before proceeding.