It is always interesting to try to predict what is coming next, primarily if the predictions are based on some sort of “educated guess.”  In cybersecurity, we look at the rise of technology and its various gifts to the world, including what it offers to those actively looking at new and exciting ways to exploit the world.

One thing that is abundantly clear as we look back at the last year is how much ransomware attacks have blossomed into highly effective ways to make money for the career cybercriminal organizations that are growing in both numbers and effectiveness.  As mentioned in a previous posting, we are dealing with real-time cyber warfare on a global level…a cyberwar world war, or perhaps cyber-guerilla warfare, since the actors are obscured. Whatever you wish to call it, we all see it happen daily.

So, along with this wave of ransomware attacks and malware actors profiting handsomely from this new crime wave, we have seen exponential growth in AI.  In the earliest days of AI, we first got a taste of it when we witnessed the extraordinary power of financial firms using computers to perform extraordinary feats of automatic trading. By using such methods, financial firms could guarantee they could make money by timing trades to bring in relatively small profits yet at extraordinary speeds. Repeat it fast enough, and you end up making lots of money.

Threat of automated cybercrime

So it would stand to reason that in a world where ransomware attacks are rising, a criminal organization might find it very enticing to harness the power of AI to not only seek and find organizations that are prime ransomware targets but also classify and categorize them to yield the highest profit at the lowest risk.  

Starting with the easiest and lowest risk targets, a well-programmed AI system could potentially automate the process to guarantee quick revenue and learn what it needs to know to go for the previously higher risk yet higher yielding targets with guaranteed revenue.  Of course, such capabilities can also be harnessed for military purposes and likely will.

Isn’t this what “The Matrix” was before the AI bots took over?

Stay ahead of the curve

If you can identify your network vulnerabilities and monitor the world of malware through early warning systems, it stands to reason that you may want to put more effort into this in 2024. 

Or continue as is … but we may be reading about it later in the news.