Finance Companies See AI as Defense Against “Prime Targeting” From Cybersecurity Threats

85% of Finance cybersecurity executives see “benefits” in artificial intelligence.

Cybersecurity thieves have long favored financial services companies.

That’s not a huge surprise. Finance, after all, is where the money is stashed.

Maybe that’s why 73% of banking industry chief risk officers tab “cybersecurity risk” as their primary worry in 2024, according to the Institute of International Finance.

The rapid rise of artificial intelligence, especially as data fraudsters learn to exploit it for financial gain, also weighs heavy on CRO minds.

39% of CROs told the IIF industry disruption from new technologies like AI will be a “crucial for risk management in the next five years.” They also say AI-related company risks rose from 13% in 2023 to 18% in 2024, as significant finance sector investments in AI have led to more data breach opportunities.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning risks have surged among CROs – up from 13% to 38% since last year. This suggests that wider AI deployments may pose a tangible day-to-day risk in the near future.

“We’re seeing a paradigm shift where interconnected risks have become endemic to the banking sector – as it has in nearly every industry,” says Martin Boer, IIF senior director of regulatory affairs. “This change calls for a holistic, proactive, and resilient approach in risk management, adapting to ongoing challenges in cybersecurity, credit, and environmental risks amid increasing global uncertainties.”

Leveraging “Defensive AI” Against Cyber Risks

Going forward, artificial intelligence should play a significant role in defending financial services organizations against cyber security threats, industry experts say.

“While mindful of its potential for misuse, our research suggests that financial services cybersecurity professionals are optimistic about Gen AI’s game-changing potential, with 85% appreciating its possible benefits,” says Dr. Liam Mayron, staff product manager at Fastly, in a February 28 post on IBS Intelligence.

Mayron, who states UK financial services firms lost 10% of their revenues (on average) from cybersecurity breaches in 2023, lists several ways banks, brokerages, and other sector players can use AI to fight back against data criminals.

That mission starts with providing help for internal security teams.

“Cybersecurity teams are under pressure to do more with less,” Mayron says. “48% of cybersecurity professionals in finance are worried about the ability of their existing talent pool to deal with threats from emerging technologies. Gen AI can help alleviate the pressure on teams, starting with small tasks that can be automated.”

He suggests using GenAI-powered co-pilots, like Microsoft’s GitHub, to recommend specific software coding to company coders to strengthen cybersecurity defenses.

Finance companies should also use AI to “turbocharge” internal cybersecurity training programs.

“Gen AI can adapt content, including technical content, quickly, rewriting it for different non-technical audiences,” he says. “These capabilities make it ideal for creating or updating company-wide training programs.”

“It can also help translate and localize rapidly – key benefits when building a globally relevant training platform,” he adds.

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