Gen AI the Answer With Cybersecurity Woes?

Generative AI could be a go-to weapon in the fight against cyber security fraud.

It’s a race between the bad guys and good guys on the cyber security landscape. According to a new study, the bad guys are pulling ahead.

The report comes from San Francisco-based cybersecurity services firm Splunk, which surveyed 1,650 global security executives. The executives seem to be divided on corporate data theft prevention.

“Organizations have heavily adopted Gen AI tools within their teams,” the report noted. “Compared to organizations still developing a cybersecurity program, those with advanced approaches have significant budgets, resources, and authority and are well-positioned to embrace cutting-edge Gen AI tools and technologies.”

Yet despite widespread adoption, most executives say their companies don’t grasp the advantages of using Gen AI to thwart cyber attacks.

“Cybersecurity leaders are divided on who will gain the upper hand in leveraging Gen AI tools: cybersecurity defenders or threat actors,” Splunk noted.

Here’s more from the study:

• 93% of security leaders said public Gen AI was used across their respective organizations, and 91% reported using Gen AI specifically for cybersecurity operations.
• Despite high adoption, 34% of surveyed organizations say they do not have a Gen AI policy in place, and 65% of respondents admit to not fully understanding the implications of Gen AI.
• 44% of respondents rank generative AI as a top initiative in 2024, surpassing cloud security as the top initiative.
• Cybersecurity leaders are split over who has the advantage when it comes to Gen AI. “While 45% of respondents believe Gen AI will be a net win for threat actors, 43% said Gen AI will give cybersecurity defenders the edge,” the survey said.

Gen AI Goes “Underused”

Splunk believes Gen AI is being underused by companies who believe they’re vulnerable to a cyberattack. Its report highlights generative AI as a data fraud-fighting tool, especially as a data protection training tool for new hires and as a faster and more efficient weapon in the escalating battle with cyber fraudsters.

According to the study, 86% of cybersecurity leaders say Gen AI can enable them to hire more entry-level talent to fill the skills gap, and 58% say onboarding entry-level talent will be quicker thanks to Gen AI. Additionally, 90% of data security leaders say new hires can lean on Gen AI” to develop their skills in the Security Operations Center (SOC).

“We are in an AI gold rush, with bad actors and security professionals both trying to seize the advantage,” said Patrick Coughlin, senior vice president of global technical sales at Splunk. “The introduction of Gen AI creates new opportunities for organizations to streamline processes, increase productivity, and limit staff burnout. Unfortunately, Gen AI also presents unprecedented advantages for threat actors. To combat this new threat landscape, defenders must outpace threat actors in the race to harness and securely deploy the power of Gen AI.”

The majority of security professionals are also facing growing compliance pressures. The implementation of stricter compliance requirements has significantly raised the stakes, particularly for security leaders who may personally face repercussions for the organizations’ violations. This changing compliance landscape underscores the need for increased vigilance and accountability within the security sector.

One separate downbeat note comes from 76% of executives surveyed who say rising personal liability mandates make cybersecurity a “less attractive field.” Another 70% of cyber security leaders say they have “considered” leaving the profession due to high-stress issues.

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