What’s Next in Fighting GenAI-based Cybersecurity Threats?

Sophisticated, AI-driven tools must be part of any cybersecurity stack.

AI-based Cybersecurity

Although AI is being hailed in the workplace for its ability to fill skill gaps and assist in the labor shortage, managed services providers in the cybersecurity field know the dark side of AI. Savvy criminals have had no problem leveraging natural language generation to their advantage. This has created a huge surge in malicious email-based phishing attacks. According to a recent CBS report, the market has experienced an increase in malicious phishing emails of 1,265% since late 2022 (ChatGPT launched in November of that year). These threats have been increased by nefarious actors who use generative AI to create super-convincing language, which looks like it comes from valid sources like Google, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, or other likely business partners.

So, what’s next regarding perilous AI-based attacks and keeping end users’ data secure? Now that GenAI has escaped from Pandora’s box and is delivering new abilities to cybercriminals, what else should we expect? How can we keep ahead of the threat escalation? Here are a few observations from a company specializing in email data security, including using AI-based tools.

Developing Email Security Awareness Strategies: In the current security landscape, companies need to become more proactive in avoiding breaches, which are most frequently generated by a simple password compromise. It’s no longer sufficient to rely on solutions that solely use filters to catch malicious email material when hackers develop new ways to circumvent these protections every day. Network users must be actively trained to recognize phishing and brand imposter attacks. Therefore, offerings like threat simulation tools and email security awareness activities are becoming more necessary for the workplace.

Integrated Threat Simulation: Technology can empower IT administrators to conduct mock phishing assaults throughout their organizations, built through customizable templates that emulate communications from large-scale vendors like AWS, Cisco, or Google. These are the same types of AI-assisted methods that cybercriminals use to mount attacks. Threat simulation tools “test” users and identify employees who fall victim to these faux phishing emails. Ideally, the solution should provide actionable strategies to help improve the awareness of those who “fail” these test strikes, teaching susceptible users how to better recognize malicious material. Analytics and reports on the results of the simulations will help IT managers – or the MSP, depending on the business model—evaluate users’ progress over time and multiple sessions.

Layering Security Solutions in All Environments: As a specialized cybersecurity vendor, we’ve long suggested that companies combine multiple solutions within a greater security stack to achieve superior protection. Many cloud-native software companies offer cutting-edge, cloud-ready capabilities beyond what more general companies like Google or Microsoft provide and at a competitive price. For instance, we’ve recommended that companies opt for one of Microsoft’s more basic security packages and combine that with a targeted email security solution with both inbound and outbound features like government-grade encryption, account takeover protection, AI-powered tools, and automated compliance capabilities. This alternative can be more effective than Microsoft’s higher-level security package – and even more economical for customers.

As networks are being more aggressively bombarded with GenAI phishing and imposter attacks, security experts advocate a layered approach no matter the environment. Malicious actors armed with AI have made networks far too vulnerable to depend on a single vendor. And in fact, many well-known cybersecurity software providers are SEG (security email gateway)-based solutions, which rely on blacklisting of known dangerous IP addresses, as opposed to employing advanced AI-powered tools to combat these threats. Blacklisting does little to screen out AI-fueled attacks that use convincing contextual language and difficult-to-screen images. Sophisticated, AI-driven tools must be part of any cybersecurity stack.

So, although the watershed of threats that generative AI has perpetrated on the business community will not slow down, organizations can at least prepare themselves with accelerated, proactive strategies – and equally powerful AI-based protections.

Zack Schwartz, Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Trustifi

Zack is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Trustifi, a cyber security firm featuring solutions delivered on a software-as-a-service platform. Trustifi leads the market with the easiest-to-use and deploy email security products, providing both inbound and outbound email security from a single vendor.

The most valuable asset to any organization is the data contained in their email, and Trustifi’s key objective is keeping client’s data, reputation, and brand safe from all threats related to email. With Trustifi’s Inbound Shield, Data Loss Prevention, and Email Encryption, clients are always one step ahead of attackers.