“Artificial intelligence (AI) is the new electricity.” – Andrew NG

AI has taken the world by storm, and with good reason. It promises an exciting future. It promises to automate routine tasks, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Who doesn’t want that? We are truly in the age of AI. However, we can’t afford to ignore the potential security risks that come with the use of AI in small businesses. Because AI systems often contain large amounts of sensitive data, they are at risk of breach. If data such as customer information and financial data is not secured, it can easily fall into the wrong hands and be used maliciously. The advancement of AI has enabled cybercriminals to launch targeted and more sophisticated attacks on small businesses. These attacks can take many forms, including:

Adversarial attacks

This is when an AI system is fed false data in order to fool it. An attacker would modify a small portion of the training data in order to cause the AI system to make incorrect predictions. For instance, an attacker may add a small amount of noise to an image in order to confuse the image recognition system into misclassifying it.

Model Stealing

Also known as “model piracy,” this occurs when attackers gain unauthorized access to an AI model and use it to replicate the system, then steal sensitive data or launch attacks. An example is when an attacker accesses a model by hacking into a company’s server and stealing the model. This can be done by exploiting vulnerabilities in the model’s software or by tricking employees into sharing login credentials.

Model Inversion

This is when an attacker uses input-output pairs from a trained model to reverse-engineer the model’s parameters. This can be done by feeding the model a large number of inputs and recording the corresponding outputs, then using these pairs to train a new model that is identical to the original.

AI-based Malware

This is where malware is designed to use AI techniques to evade detection. An example is when attackers develop malware that can evade detection by traditional security measures. AI- powered malware is capable of adapting to changing environments, making it difficult for organizations to protect themselves.

AI-assisted Cyber Attacks

This is where AI algorithms are used to scan the internet for vulnerable targets. These include unpatched systems or weak passwords. Once identified, the AI automatically launches an attack. This attack is executed with great speed and efficiency.

AI-based Phishing and Impersonation

Phishing is when an attacker sends an email or message that appears to be from a legitimate source in an attempt to trick the recipient into providing sensitive information. AI-based phishing and impersonation attacks can be highly sophisticated and hard to detect.
To further improve your AI security measures, here are a few references you can use:

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) –They provide small businesses with information on how to protect their networks and data from cyber threats.

Cybersecurity Ventures – This is a research and advisory firm that provides small businesses with information and resources on cybersecurity trends, best practices, and solutions.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST provides a wide range of guidance for cyber security, including Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals, which is a guide that provides small businesses with practical information on how to protect against cyber threats.

Although artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize the way small businesses operate, it also poses a significant threat. This is because small businesses are increasingly becoming victims of AI-related attacks. These attacks can have serious consequences, including security breaches, financial losses, and damage to reputation.

For instance, if a computer model is used to make financial predictions, an attacker could use a stolen copy of the model to profit from insider trading, leading to serious financial consequences.

Another instance is that if a model is used to make medical diagnoses, an attacker could use a stolen copy of the model to impersonate a doctor and make fraudulent diagnoses. This has the potential to not only damage the reputation of a business but also bring harm to other patients. Not forgetting that these attacks can lead to significant damage and disruption of operations, leading to huge losses.

How does it affect small businesses?

A major challenge is understanding and staying on top of the continually evolving nature of cyberattacks. Not being aware of AI security threats and not taking steps to protect small businesses can result in various negative consequences such as:
  • Data breaches leading to loss of confidential information and sensitive customer data.
  • Financial losses due to cyber-attacks or unauthorized access to financial systems.
  • Damage to reputation and loss of customer trust.
  • Legal liability and potential lawsuits.
  • Inability to compete in the market as customers increasingly demand secure products and services.

As artificial intelligence continues to gain popularity, so does the risk posed by malicious actors who are out to cause disruption. It is therefore essential that organizations familiarize themselves with the latest methodologies employed by cybercriminals when it comes to AI- targeted attacks so that they can take preventative actions against them.

To get protection against these attacks, small businesses must take steps to secure their systems and data. This includes implementing strong security protocols and regularly updating software to address any known vulnerabilities.

Employing security measures

While the use of AI in cyber attacks is a major concern, organizations can take steps to protect themselves. These measures include applying advanced security measures, such as:

  • Implementing access controls to restrict who can view and download models
  • Using AI to regularly monitor the network for suspicious activity
  • Ensuring software and systems are updated with the latest security patches
  • Training employees to be aware of phishing scams and other social engineering tactics
  • Encrypting the model and data
  • Regularly testing and upgrading the security of the model

With technology evolving so quickly, artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming an integral part of modern business operations. Small businesses are using it to streamline their processes, gain a competitive edge, and even reduce costs. This has, however, turned small businesses into targets for malicious actors looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the technology.

How Papaya can help

At Papaya, we promise to simplify security and compliance without sacrificing quality.

Train Your Employees Ahead of the Curve

Papaya’s detailed employee training courses help you ensure that everyone in your organization understands the potential risks associated with artificial intelligence and knows how to protect your business.

Conduct Risk Assessments, Take Corrective Action

We provide customizable risk assessment services for businesses to identify potential AI-related threats and vulnerabilities. As part of our service, we offer custom corrective actions that meet industry standards, ensuring the integrity of all systems and processes.

Protection from all angles

With our employee training, Papaya helps ensure that all personnel is aware of the possible consequences of a cyber attack and how to respond appropriately. Our risk assessments provide insight into the control measures needed to eliminate potential sources of AI-related threats.

Uninterrupted Experience

Papaya software ensures maximum uptime with minimal impact on performance. We strive towards providing security with minimum disruption –so you can enjoy an uninterrupted user experience without any worries about potential errors or mistakes caused due to faulty AI training/implementation/threat assessment.

Step-by-step HIPAA compliance

Creating a set of organizational policies and procedures that work for your company requires a tailored approach. Papaya can help by providing your businesses with a way to generate customized policies that align with their unique needs, while also ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Jumpstart your business journey and stay HIPAA-complaint with Papaya Software.