AI cyber threats

Three Major AI Cyber Threats and How to Mitigate Them

The rapid development and widespread adoption of AI have introduced new and complex vulnerabilities in our digital landscape. Cybercriminals have begun leveraging AI-powered tools and techniques to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks, posing a significant threat to individuals, businesses, and national security. These AI-driven cyberattacks can take many forms, from automated phishing campaigns to creating deepfakes for social engineering and disinformation. 

In this article, we will explore the various ways in which AI-driven cyberattacks are emerging as a formidable threat to this new landscape. 

Phishing attacks, where cybercriminals attempt to steal sensitive information by posing as trustworthy entities, have long been a prevalent threat in the digital landscape. However, the rise of deepfake technology has introduced a new and more sophisticated variant of phishing known as “deepfake phishing.” Using AI, deepfake technology produces lifelike fake content. Typical instances include doctored videos portraying public figures in actions or speech never actually undertaken or said by them. Deepfake phishing leverages deepfake content to deceive individuals into making unauthorised payments or divulging confidential information, which cybercriminals then exploit for their gain. 

Deepfake phishing 

For instance, in a notable case, the CEO of an energy company transferred €220,000 to what he believed was a supplier, acting on a call from someone impersonating the parent company’s leader. It was later discovered that the call was a deepfake and the money had been sent to a cybercriminal’s account. Deepfake phishing poses a significant risk, as detecting these fakes from authentic content is challenging. Unlike traditional phishing, which often gives itself away with spelling mistakes or questionable links, deepfake techniques use audio or video, making them seem more believable. As AI technology evolves, these deepfake phishing scams will become increasingly indistinguishable. 

AI-based DDoS attacks 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a growing threat, with an astounding 7.9 million such attacks recorded worldwide in the first half of 2023—that’s an average of 44,000 attacks per day. These attacks flood websites and network resources with malicious traffic, making them inaccessible to genuine users. 

The adoption of AI technology has raised additional concerns regarding DDoS attacks. Autonomous AI systems can now independently locate and exploit vulnerable devices, assembling expansive botnets capable of conducting large-scale, disruptive attacks. What makes these AI-powered botnets particularly concerning is their ability to adjust their strategies in real-time based on how the targeted systems react, making them exceptionally tough to stop.  

A prime example of this threat is the Mirai botnet, which executed a series of high-profile DDoS attacks in late 2016. Mirai could autonomously scan the web to identify and hijack IoT (Internet of Things) devices that lacked proper security, such as those using default passwords or outdated software. The botnet then leveraged these compromised devices to coordinate and amplify its disruptive attacks. As AI capabilities continue to advance, developing equally sophisticated, adaptive countermeasures will be crucial in staying ahead of these evolving DDoS threats. 

AI-powered malware 

The emergence of AI-powered malware poses a growing and increasingly complex security challenge. These advanced threats leverage adaptive capabilities that make them exceptionally difficult to detect and defend against. 

Hackers are creating malware infused with AI technology to intelligently analyze a target system’s security measures and defense mechanisms. This malware then dynamically adjusts its behavior to seamlessly blend in with normal system communications, effectively evading detection by traditional security tools. For example, the malware could be programmed to only execute when the device owner is using the camera, circumventing facial recognition-based security controls. 

Additionally, attackers can leverage AI to automate malware creation, enabling the rapid development of new variants designed to exploit specific vulnerabilities. This significantly reduces the window of opportunity for defenders to respond. A prime example is Emotet, a polymorphic malware that has evolved to evade detection by continuously changing its code and using AI to identify the most promising targets. 

Fortify your digital defenses 

As the capabilities of these AI-driven cyberattacks continue to evolve, navigating the digital landscape has become increasingly treacherous. However, there are steps that organisations and individuals can take to enhance their resilience and protect themselves in this ever-changing threat environment.  

First and foremost, organizations should prioritize proactive measures to harden their attack surface and minimize vulnerabilities. This includes maintaining robust patch management, implementing strong access controls, and educating employees on security best practices.  

Alongside these technological interventions, organizations must foster a security-first mindset that permeates every facet. This includes regular risk assessments, establishing robust incident response plans, and cultivating strong partnerships with cybersecurity experts and industry peers. By adopting s. By adopting a holistic approach, organizations can fortify their digital defenses against the onslaught of AI-driven cyberattacks. 


As the dark side of AI continues to unfold, a multifaceted approach to cybersecurity will be essential. By embracing innovative security solutions and maintaining a proactive, vigilant mindset, organizations and individuals can confidently navigate the digital landscape and protect themselves from the growing threat of AI-driven cyberattacks. 

Nidhi Singh