AI Can Help Improve Small Business Cybersecurity

More small businesses are using AI than ever before.  As with all new technologies, we’ll learn about the risks and benefits as we go.  The exciting news is that AI tools can help improve your small business cybersecurity.

An Example of How AI Works

Let’s focus on one popular tool, Chat GPT.  I queried Bard, Google’s AI tool, with the prompt “How does Chat GPT work?”.  Here’s part of the answer Bard produced, in less than 5 seconds:

Chat GPT is a large language model (LLM) chatbot developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a massive dataset of text and code, which allows it to generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way.

 Chat GPT works by first understanding the context of your query. It does this by analyzing the words and phrases you use, as well as the order in which you use them. Once it understands the context, it then uses its knowledge of language and grammar to generate a response that is both relevant and informative.

 Here are some of the key steps involved in how Chat GPT works:

  1. Data collection: Chat GPT is trained on a massive dataset of text and code. This dataset includes books, articles, websites, code, and other forms of text.
  2. Model training: The data is used to train a large language model (LLM). An LLM is a statistical model that learns the statistical relationships between words and phrases.
  3. Query processing: When you interact with Chat GPT, you provide it with a query. Chat GPT uses its LLM to understand the context of your query and generate a response.
  4. Response generation: Chat GPT generates a response by predicting the next word in a sequence. It does this by using its knowledge of language and grammar.

 Here are some of the key features of Chat GPT:

  • It can understand the context of your query and generate a response that is both relevant and informative.
  • It can generate different creative text formats of text content, like poems, code, scripts, musical pieces, email, letters, etc.
  • It can translate languages accurately and fluently.
  • It can write different kinds of creative content, like stories, essays, and poems.


AI Cybersecurity Risks

As you can see, AI tools are powerful.  Cybercriminals are already exploiting AI language capabilities, including improving their phishing and impersonation attempts on unsuspecting computer users.  Gone are the days of phishing attacks with incorrect grammar or spelling.  Those were easy to spot.  AI-generated text helps attackers produce highly personalized emails and text messages that are more likely to deceive you than ever before.

Other AI tools present risks when in the hands of cybercriminals.  These include using AI to:  create code that generates cyberattacks, causing data breaches that move quickly to create havoc, and spreading misinformation that results in social manipulation.

AI Cybersecurity Defenses

AI risks get a lot of attention, but AI can also be used to help protect us. For example:

Automated Protections for Individual Users  AI can make inferences, recognize patterns and perform proactive actions on our behalf.  This can help us shield ourselves from online threats.  By automating incident response, streamlining threat hunting, and analyzing large amounts of data, AI can help keep individual users safer.

Network Threat Detection and Response  AI, including zero-trust tools, can provide continuous network monitoring, which is essential for modern cybersecurity.  AI-powered cybersecurity tools are designed to identify and detect attacks in real time and can automate the incident response process. They can also help human security experts identify emerging network threats and trends, enabling them to take preventative action.

Strengthened User Access Control  Machine learning algorithms can identify anomalous behavior patterns and flag suspicious login attempts, making it easier to identify potential security breaches. AI-powered solutions can also be used to improve password management by automatically identifying weak passwords and requiring users to choose stronger ones.

AI and Humans Must Work Together to Improve Small Business Cybersecurity

As AI tools improve and more small businesses employ them, we need to make sure that AI doesn’t give us an excuse to become lazy.  On one hand, we’d be happy to welcome advances in technology to protect us from our own careless or reckless behavior.  However, it would be a mistake to rely solely on AI.  AI is only a tool.

Using AI is not an either/or choice between relying on human or artificial intelligence to keep businesses safe from attacks.  Instead, we need to continue to develop cultures that leverage both technological innovations and human expertise in the hopes of being less vulnerable.

AI can absolutely improve small business cybersecurity.  While it’s crucial to be vigilant against the criminalized use of AI, it is equally—if not more—important to recognize the potential of AI to improve cybersecurity in your small business.

To learn more about how CRU Solutions can use AI to help keep your small business safer, contact us.