WatchGuard Blog

Uncovering the Duality of Generative AI: How to Protect Yourself

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the term on everyone's lips. As a powerful tool that can simplify our daily lives, it has become a technological revolution that impacts us all.

Generative artificial intelligence has multiple applications in different fields such as real-time translation or automation of repetitive tasks, and is highly beneficial in improving detection and response times in security solutions, as well as in content generation. However, it also has a downside and can pose a risk. Use of AI is not always well-intentioned and it can expose confidential or sensitive data that may impact both individuals and organizations, as there is no control over how this information is handled. As a result, in some sectors, such as education, it is becoming increasingly common to limit use or block access to AI tools in infrastructures to prevent inappropriate or unwanted use. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget the rise in AI-driven cyberattacks, as these threats are growing more sophisticated and complex to detect.

In short, the misuse of artificial intelligence is a growing concern for cybersecurity experts, and unsurprisingly companies are becoming worried about this situation. However, many of them are still unprepared to deal with this threat. In fact, a McKinsey study already warns that, while 53% of organizations recognize that cybersecurity is a generic risk related to AI, only 38% are working to mitigate it.

Companies and cybersecurity experts need to adapt to this trend and be prepared to incorporate AI into their day-to-day work but in a secure and controlled way.

How can we protect ourselves against AI misuse?

While AI is increasingly being used to perpetrate malware attacks and cause data breaches, in parallel, new solutions are also being created and existing tools are being strengthened by incorporating new AI-based capabilities into their protection models to adapt to this new context and improve corporate security strategy.

It is crucial for cybersecurity experts to be aware of the current threat landscape so that teams can adopt the appropriate solutions. Although drastic changes to reorganize a company's security strategy aren’t called for, it’s an important issue and requires a periodic review of the security solutions installed to assess the effectiveness of protection. This ensures that the appropriate level of security is applied and that systems are shielded against the rise in sophisticated and evasive cyberattacks.

To ensure that networks and systems are well protected and free from external threats that could compromise the security of sensitive information, it is essential to have tools that include AI and ML-based technologies that revolutionize the detection and classification capabilities of potentially harmful processes and applications. Therefore, solutions that include these technologies and incorporate zero trust approaches in their models are great allies in achieving this goal. At WatchGuard, we have been working in this direction for years and using this innovative technology to our advantage to improve our protection model and reinforce our customers' security. AI plays a fundamental role in enhancing our detection capabilities and helping us combat cybercrime, but it’s our partners and customers who decide how to use it in their environments, thus promoting a responsible and controlled use of this technology. For example, the web access control functionality built into our Endpoint Security solutions, and WebBlocker and Application Control in Firebox, help companies control and restrict the use of and access to potentially harmful uses of AI and other potentially dangerous agents while ensuring secure interaction, both inside and outside the corporate network, with these tools.

Although generative AI delivers many benefits to companies in terms of cost and time optimization, misuse of this tool can cause serious problems. Organizations need to apply protective measures to restrict the harmful use of this type of technology effectively.

If you would like to learn more about how to enhance your business's cybersecurity, check out the following articles in our blog:

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