July 10, 2024

AI Cybersecurity: How to Protect Your Enterprise & Tap Into the Power of AI

The rise of Generative AI (GenAI) offers endless business advantages, helping companies drive innovation, productivity, efficiency, and competitive edge. But with the benefits come drawbacks — including the elevated threat of cyberattacks.

Too often, security for AI projects is little more than an afterthought, with just 24% of organizations saying they’ve implemented a security component in their AI. On the flip side, 98% of cybersecurity professionals say AI-driven security tools are the future of their industry.

What Every Organization Should Know About AI: AI-Powered Cyber Attacks & AI Regulation

Already, companies like LastPass have fallen victim to AI-powered phishing attacks. Using deepfake audio technology, threat actors impersonated LastPass’ CEO and sent targeted WhatsApp voice messages to the company’s employees.  Hackers also breached hundreds of companies’ AI servers earlier this year, and a recent global study found that 25% of people have been on the receiving end of an AI voice-cloning scam or knew someone who had.

Unsurprisingly, the FBI recently issued a warning urging businesses and individuals to safeguard themselves against AI-powered cyber crimes. AI regulation is coming at the state and federal level, the European Union adopted the AI Act in March 2024.

So how can you protect your enterprise from AI-driven cyber attacks? And how can you stay compliant with ever-evolving AI compliance standards?

In this article, we’ll discuss the top cybersecurity risks associated with GenAI, and then give strategies for safeguarding your organization while embracing AI.

Protecting the Enterprise: Understanding GenAI Cybersecurity Risks

Like any new or emerging technology, some of the most immediate risks posed by GenAI are related to internal use. For this reason, enterprises must be vigilant in educating employees about the potential dangers of using GenAI for business purposes.

Key internal risks include:

  • Compromise of Intellectual Property: Employees using GenAI tools might unknowingly share proprietary information that could be incorporated into AI training models, potentially leaking sensitive intellectual property.
  • Data Loss Scenarios: GenAI tools often require large data inputs. If sensitive information is uploaded to AI models without safeguards, it drastically increases the risk of unintentional data loss.
  • Privacy of Sensitive PII or Financial Data: Uploading personal identifiable information (PII) or financial data to GenAI tools can compromise privacy and violate data protection regulations.

Even seemingly harmless activities, like uploading meeting transcripts to create a bulleted list, could have negative consequences if proprietary data is leaked to the AI models.

Inaccurate or misinformed AI outputs have also raised legal concerns for organizations. An experiment by The Washington Post revealed one out of 10 AI answers are “dodgy,” and false AI answers have been deemed a “risk to science.”

Trusting responses or results without verifying accuracy could lead to legal consequences, including copyright claims or defamation.

Beyond internal risks, external factors can exploit GenAI for various attacks, including:

  • Advanced Network Intrusion: Cybercriminals can use GenAI to automate and scale network intrusions, exploiting infrastructure weaknesses more effectively.
  • Deep Fake and Impersonation Attacks: GenAI can create convincing deep fake simulations of executives to manipulate employees into making unauthorized payments to cybercriminals.

For more information about the most pressing risks associated with large language models (LLMs) and GenAI, IT leaders can look to Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), which has identified the top 10 risks and vulnerabilities for LLMs and GenAI.

5 Ways to Safeguard Your Organization While Embracing GenAI

Without proper safeguards, the use of GenAI can expose organizations to significant threats, including data breaches, intellectual property compromise, and privacy violations.

Fortunately, certain measures, such as establishing an AI advisory council and conducting thorough legal reviews, ensure that companies can leverage the benefits of GenAI while minimizing potential risks.

Here are the critical steps organizations should take to fortify their operations in the era of GenAI:

1. Establish an AI Advisory Council

As a first step, organizations should form an internal AI advisory council or committee, made up of key leaders from IT, engineering, operations, legal, security, and/or product/services leadership. This group should act as an internal clearinghouse for all strategies related to GenAI, including a coordinated, thorough rollout of security.

2. Create an Acceptable Use Policy

Organizations should also craft an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to govern and define the guardrails for GenAI use within the organization. This policy must be reviewed and accepted by the executive leadership team and/or board of directors to ensure it accommodates key considerations of the business. All employees should be required to sign or acknowledge the policy.

3. Build a Security Awareness Program

A comprehensive security awareness program is another essential fortification that should be put in place for all employees, contractors, and vendors in the organization. Several tools now include GenAI modules designed to help staff understand GenAI security and its associated risks. All new hires should receive this training upon joining the organization.

4. Establish a Technology Group

A technology group should be formed as a subset of the AI advisory council, created to help evaluate AI tools and test and review security terms and privacy guidelines. This team should identify AI tools that align with the organization’s strategic goals, balancing security considerations and budget constraints. Proprietary or enterprise versions of tools can help restrict public training of models on corporate data.

5. Conduct a Legal Review

Finally, legal teams should review all pertinent customer and vendor contracts to ensure AI usage abides by appropriate requirements and clauses. This review will help strengthen safeguards and help the organization avoid any potential legal repercussions.

As the role of AI expands in an organization, the threats it poses will only continue to grow. Though organizations can and should embrace this emerging technology, they must do so with caution and diligence.

A comprehensive, internal AI cybersecurity program is vital in helping organizations govern the use of AI and realize its benefits, while simultaneously fortifying against attacks, costly legal repercussions, regulatory concerns, and more.

Safely Harness the Power of AI with 3Pillar

Don’t leave your business — or your tech stack — vulnerable to AI-powered attacks. Protect your organization by partnering with 3Pillar.

As a leader in product development, 3Pillar has a proven track record for building secure, resilient software that meets the latest compliance and regulatory standards, ensuring the highest level of security for your organization. We’ll help you assess where GenAI can make the biggest impact for your business, informed by decision-making, competitive advantage, risk mitigation, and cost optimization.

Our team of technologists is dedicated to evaluating and developing AI technologies that are safe, secure, and responsibly executed, allowing you to tap into the benefits of this emerging technology without increasing your vulnerability.

Safely harness the power of AI today. Contact 3Pillar to get started.