For many years, artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped organizations fight various types of cybersecurity attacks. Recently, scammers have started to use the same technology to attack users. They use it to launch successful phone scams. They use AI to scrape the internet and obtain big data that help them get insights for organizations with weak cybersecurity measures. They have learned the importance of data in getting real-time statistics that help them make informed attack decisions.
Use of AI to launch more effective scams
Technological developments have been instrumental in improving business processes and productivity. Cybercriminals have learned to use technology to increase their chances of succeeding in cyberattack plans. They use AI to learn the behavior patterns of individuals, which makes it easier for them to convince their targets to reveal their sensitive data.
AI helps them understand the cybersecurity strength of an organization which helps them decide if it is worth launching an attack. They train AI to detect online security weak points in an organization so that they can know where to gain access. A Proofpoint phish report in 2022 shows 83% of organizations reported successful email scam attacks in 2021. This was a 46% increase compared to 2020.
In the same period, 77% of organizations experienced business email compromise. Some of the employees or employers were lured into sending money or goods to scammers, while others were tricked into revealing sensitive information. Individuals and organizations need to make anti-phishing efforts to prevent phishing and other forms of attacks. Scammers are taking advantage of every breached data they find online. They combine it with AI to help them make accurate attacks on targets.
Due to the use of AI, the number of successful phishing attacks has recently increased. Total ransomware payouts have also increased to nearly $1 billion in the first half of 2022. The number of organizations that agree to pay ransom increased by 32% in 2022 compared to 2021. Statista shows the average ransom paid by each target was $1.85 million, and 62.9% of targets paid the full amount demanded.
How scammers use AI to increase the success rate of attacks
Scammers use different strategies to lure their targets to provide them with the information they need, make fake payments, or send goods.
· They make calls to their targets and make false promises. They may lure them into buying products, investing money, or telling them that they will receive free products.
- They send emails pretending it is coming from a genuine sender
- They add links or documents that contain phishing software
- They send texts with fake promises
- They threaten their target with lawsuits or leak their secrets/sensitive data
These strategies are used to create fear in the users so that they can take action and do what the scammer requests. The aim can also be to build confidence in the target so that they trust the source of the email as genuine and take action as instructed. To prevent being scammed, it is essential to create strategies that help in ensuring the safety of your website and company system network. AI helps scammers achieve different goals.
Guess passwords quickly
A Dataprot report published in 2022 shows 90% of internet users worry someone might steal their password. Identity theft in 2022 increased by 19% to over 5.8 million incidences. Dark Web recently published a report that shows there are 555 million password breaches recorded from 2017 to 2022. More internet users are aware of the seriousness of password breaches.
They have taken extra measures to ensure they use stronger passwords that are harder to guess. Scammers use guessing tactics to gain access to millions of user accounts. Since it is harder to guess passwords nowadays, scammers use AI to enhance their password-guessing strategies. AI is helping them get password insights that make it easier for them to guess passwords quickly.
Social engineering leverages the manipulation of human psychology to make people behave in a certain way. The tactic aims to make users provide confidential information such as passwords, credit card data, bank information, and many more. AI has for many years been effectively trained to collect and analyze data in real-time for insights. This makes it possible to launch phishing attacks faster before targets detect them. Scammers use AI to generate super-targeted emails, links, social media posts, websites, and documents.
Create almost real fakes
Scammers leverage creating almost real fakes to increase the probability of their tricks working. They create fake data or things such as:
- Fake emails
- Look-alike websites
- Fake social media accounts
- Fake videos or audio
They need to use AI to make the emails, websites, videos, audio, and social media accounts look credible. A report by the FBI shows fake scams through fake emails, accounts, and websites have caused organizations more than $43 billion in losses from 2016 to 2021. AI is helping scammers create highly sophisticated phishing emails. They publish them on dark web forums where they promote and sell fake services or goods. AI helps them ensure the phishing emails they create do not land in spam folders but directly in the user’s inbox. This helps reduce the chances of users suspecting the email is fake.
Many websites nowadays use captchas to differentiate between real human beings and bots. They help protect user accounts from being hacked through stolen logins. Scammers seek to access user accounts using stolen credentials, and thus captchas act as blocks to their strategies. Due to this, they use AI to cheat the captcha website security systems and bypass captchas. A recent captcha breach report shows that 50% of captchas are bypassed using AI.
Cybersecurity gaps and challenges are widening every year, even as programming experts work hard to minimize breach incidences. Scammers have become more adaptable to technology and are using AI to make attack predictions and success rate better. They use AI to implement malicious activities such as quickly guessing passwords, generating harder-to-detect fakes, cheating systems, and gathering big data for analysis. Organizations need to invest more in cybersecurity to ensure they have strong systems.