Artificial Intelligence (AI) Controlled Malware

As the world of internet of things (IoT) grows, the number of attacks through the cyber space will continue to grow as well. Recently, with the massive worldwide spread of the ransomware, WannaCry, the threat is becoming more sophisticated and complex, as criminals find innovative ways to launch attacks. One such way is through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Although, AI has a great possibility of making considerable strides in cybersecurity, it has the potential of being manipulated.

As AI technology becomes smarter, it is only a matter of time until cyber criminals use it in their advantage. Criminals will have the ability to launch artificial intelligent malware using AI technology to cause serious damage on an individual or organization. The malware is a smart program designed to avert detection while spreading through the network stealing data.

 These programs do not require the use of human interaction and constantly work without stopping for a break. Along the way of causing chaos, the malware has the ability to move fast, adapt, change, and learn from the programs trying to remove it, only becoming stronger and harder to get rid of.

Ransomware will be a big target with smart technology, as AI will only make it easier to ransom devices and networks. Organizations need to access their data to make a profit and with the data held at ransom they cannot run their businesses. Dave Palmer, a security expert at Darktrace, has said machine intelligence has the capability to act with instances of ransomware and attack overloading the user’s defenses. Even the smallest and simplest form of smart malware can prove to catastrophic for users and organizations, doing a lot of damage within a short period of time.

 IoT devices, such as medical devices, will most likely be the target for these attacks and the assets and data behind them. The smart malware will also disguise itself as phishing malware; learning and imitating the user’s writing and communication style to send false email messages targeted to infect other users or organizations. Smart phishing malware will be seen soon, as there are already existing technologies like Google DeepMind that have natural speech and language tools. However, this technology is new and very expensive, costing up to $20,000 and can take about one year to develop a simple smart program, so criminals may not be able to access this technology yet.

Organizations have begun to combat artificial intelligent malware in order to stay prepared for possible future attacks. There already have been great developments using AI-type algorithms to detect and mitigate malware, that can stop an attack in its footsteps. As the convergence of machine and device communications become more prevalent, we will continue to see a battle between the dark and light side.