ARTICLE: Tech HQAI and cybercrime: Is your fish tank and smart TV really secure?

Artificial intelligence will make hacking a company easier, faster and stealthier, and the technology to do it is already widely available.

Dave Palmer, Director of Technology, at UK-based Darktrace told the audience at CODEX’s Tech Insights Event in London last week that AI will absolutely be used by criminals, not because it’s cool and entertaining but because it will allow them to automate to reach more victims than ever before.  .

Darktrace is one of the world leading cyber security firms founded by former British spies.

The company, which was valued at US$825m last year, claims its AI-powered Enterprise Immune System inspired by the self-learning intelligence of the human immune system is the ‘world’s most advanced machine learning technology for cyber defense’.

The firm says it recently foiled a cyber-attack via a futuristic fish tank at an unnamed casino.

As sophisticated or not as that might seem, Palmer started his talk by saying: “The best way to hack an organisation is still to trick someone who works there.”

He described how he once received an email impersonating a colleague that included details of a private conversation the two had previously had on the street.

A cyber-attacker had earwigged their discussion and used the information to make a spam email more convincing to fool Palmer into engaging with it. The intruder had also tried to replicate his colleague’s style of writing and signature, but fortunately, small anomalies gave its forgery away.

This is an elaborate example of a criminal trying to fool someone into believing a fake email is a real one. However, with today’s technology there are much easier ways to make spam emails convincing, said Palmer.

“In the future machines could learn to be contextually relevant so someone is more likely to open the attachment,” he said.

The software capability to do this is already here: AI assistants already recognize and replicate natural language.