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Will AI ­sher in a New Era of Hacking?

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DARPA's Cyber Grand Challenge held its final round on Thursday.

Artificial intelligence--a technology that also promises to revolutionize cybersecurity--could one day become the go-to hacking tool.

Credit: Michael Kan

Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems developed to defend assets in cyberspace might just as easily be turned to malevolent purposes by cybercriminals.

"It seems like we're heading into a world of machine versus machine cyberwarfare," says Darktrace's Justin Fier.

One potential hack could use AI capabilities to scan and exploit previously unknown software bugs with far more efficiency than humans.

The groundwork for such exploits is being established by groups such as the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, whose Cyber Grand Challenge seeks to advance cyberdefense by enabling supercomputers to automatically find and correct software flaws, for example.

SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten thinks AI-driven technologies that trawl the Internet for vulnerabilities may be an unavoidable consequence of innovation. Weingarten envisions black-market "rent-a-hacker" services eventually adopting AI tools that can design and orchestrate cyberattack strategies and estimate the associated fee. "The human attackers can then enjoy the fruits of that labor," he warns.

Would-be AI hackers might encounter significant difficulty with the high cost of using machine-learning software, although cybersecurity experts such as Cylance's Jon Miller predict the inevitable decrease of computing power costs should aid them.

From IDG News Service
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