Survey: IT security pros embrace — but fear — artificial intelligence


Roughly seven out of eight IT security professionals believe artificial intelligence (AI) would help improve enterprise security, according to a recent survey. But nearly as many respondents are worried about AI being weaponized against their networks.

“There is much concern about the impact of AI on company security defenses and about attackers using AI against companies,” global information services provider Neustar said in its updated International Cyber Benchmarks Index.

Specifically, 87% of respondents agree that AI “will make a difference to their company’s defenses.” However, 82% of security professionals said they are worried “about the possibility of attackers using AI against their company.”

These fears about AI’s impact on security extend beyond external threats, with 59% of respondents acknowledging they are “apprehensive to adopt AI technologies for security reasons.”

The biggest concern among respondents regarding an AI-based security breach was stolen data (50%), followed by loss of customer trust (19%), business performance (16%), and cost implications (16%).

“Artificial intelligence has been a major topic of discussion in recent times – with good reason,” Neustar Senior Vice President Rodney Joffe said in a statement. “Organizations know the benefits, but they are also aware that today’s attackers have unique capabilities to cause destruction with that same technology. As a result, they’ve come to a point where they’re unsure if AI is a friend or foe.”

Well, it’s both. More to the point, using AI in the digital economy is going to be a competitive imperative; there’s no room for “we don’t want to use AI because we’re afraid of it!” It’s AI or die. So once again it’s up to enterprise IT security — hopefully with the help of AI vendors — to do their best to ensure AI isn’t used to attack the enterprise.

“What’s needed now,” Joffe said, “is for security teams to prioritize education around AI, not only to ensure that the most efficient security strategies have been implemented, but to give organizations the opportunity to embrace – and not fear – this technology.”

Neustar’s Cyber Benchmarks Index highlights year-over-year concern around security vulnerabilities.


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