AI brings more convincing phishing scams for business owners

By Ria Manzanero

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May 25, 2023

The rise in AI (artificial intelligence) has recently been linked to more convincing phishing scams that unsuspecting business owners are falling victim to. It’s creating new levels of cyber threats that we need to guard against.

What is AI? AI is where data and insights are harnessed through specially designed algorithms to allow a machine to adopt automated behaviours and conduct actions informed by its intelligence. In layman’s terms, think automated processes; chatbots, virtual assistants, social media platforms, content writers, self-driving cars, maps and navigation – and much more!

AI apps on mobile

For many businesses, AI tools create opportunities. Bots can support customer assistance, AI-powered content writers can alleviate marketing responsibilities, financial AI tools can automate payments and make budget predictions. With AI proving to increase business productivity by 40%, it’s no wonder 77% of businesses are using it in some way.

So what’s the problem? Unfortunately, there are people who are harnessing AI capabilities for crime. There have been growing reports of phishing, malware and ransomware attacks linked to AI. In this article, we will outline how AI phishing email scams work and how business owners, like you, can avoid them.

AI phishing email scams

AI is quickly becoming a double-edged sword we all need to be wary of.. AI-based phishing is creating a number of challenges for businesses, even for those who have taken steps to learn how to spot them.

Until now, phishing emails were convincing, but not impossible to detect. Signs such as spelling and grammar would make these emails easier to spot. However, with AI-written text, any mistakes that might have once warned us are now gone. Furthermore, these emails are contextually more accurate, as AI tools are being harnessed to tailor attacks, using language and personal details that make emails seem as though they have been written by genuine stakeholders or staff members.

Phishing email scam

There are a few key risks associated with AI phishing attacks that you should be aware of:

Vulnerabilities

AI has given cyber criminals the ability to detect if devices are poorly maintained. Unpatched software, failed updates, weak passwords, exposed APIs – these vulnerabilities can now be exploited more easily. This gives scammers a library of penetrable devices to launch an attack on.

Speed & volume

As well as knowing which devices to target, AI bots can survey thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of devices, platforms and email accounts at one time, giving scammers endless options when it comes to targeting multiple victims at a time.

How to avoid AI phishing scams?

Cyber security can no longer be a secondary concern. It’s never been more important to have a robust AI-based anti-phishing solution in place for your business. This is critical to protecting your systems and staff from falling victim to attacks that have the potential to destroy your business.

Here are some things you can do with the help from qualified cyber security experts, that can prevent your business from being infiltrated by AI phishing attacks:

Device & system management

Your business devices and systems must be monitored and managed 24-hours a day. Cyber crime doesn’t work 9-5, so having a team that are detecting and responding to threats in real-time is the only way to avoid cyber crime.

Unless you have an out-of-hours IT team, the best method to avoiding an AI phishing scam is with help from an IT support provider that specialises in cyber security. If working with Virtuoso, your devices and systems will be continually optimised, up-to-date and running smoothly. Using cloud-based and (you guessed it) AI-based security solutions, we will ensure your devices and applications are secure in any location, and at any hour.

Device & system management

Robust cyber security solutions

We use only the best AI endpoint detection and response software for our customers, that allows devices to self-defend and even heal themselves from potential viruses and AI phishing scams. Our cloud email security software adds an additional layer of security, by using (once again) AI capabilities to detect attributes within an email that seem suspicious. Automatic alerts and quarantining help you and your team gain better oversight and control of potential threats.

Whilst AI is both the problem and the solution in this case, you can’t afford to let your business fall behind. Using outdated (or worse, no) cyber security solutions could be your biggest mistake.

Employee security awareness training

Sure, it’s becoming tricker to detect AI phishing scams with the human eye, but there is still a huge value in employee security awareness training. Ensuring your staff understand what threats are out there, how they might impact your business and what to do if they spot one could mean the difference between your business continuing to succeed, or tackling an unforeseen cyber attack.

We conduct regular cyber security training as standard with all our customers. Our service includes sending false phishing attempts to staff members – and drawing insights from how they respond. This gives us and our customers actionable insights on how knowledgeable employees are on cyber crime. Within our customer portal, TechHub, our customers can also access a range of training tools and resources that further improve security posture.

Employee security awareness training

Get help with your cyber security today

If you’re worried about AI phishing email scams, or just have questions about your cyber security, we’re here to help. Our friendly team are available to answer all of your questions and build you a technology roadmap that places cyber security at the heart.