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Bermuda at the mercy of AI and cyber criminals, says expert

Ingine CEO Fernando De Deus is worried about the rising cybersecurity threat of AI (Photograph supplied)

Online AI programs such as ChatGPT can now build websites in seconds, write resumes and answer burning questions.

They can also be reverse-engineered to lighten the workload for hackers by providing malicious code in seconds, and new tools to steal money.

Fernando De Deus, the chief executive of Ingine, a local managed services provider firm, believes Bermuda is ill-prepared to deal with the looming threat of AI.

“I am not sure if anyone is ready for AI as a cyber threat,” he said, calling AI a “double-edged sword”.

He said: “It has great potential in terms of usage and productivity, but it has also given the bad actors a tool that makes it easier to automate cyber attacks and to bypass measures put in place to stop them.”

He predicted that AI will lead to more ransomware attacks and also more voice-activated scams.

How easy is it for AI to clone someone’s voice?

Voice-activated scams usually involve using technology to clone someone’s voice, then calling that someone’s loved ones claiming to be in trouble and in need of money.

Earlier this year security software company McAfee reported seeing a rise in voice-activated scams. It found that more than half of all adults share their voice online or on social media at least once a week. McAfee’s research has also revealed it takes just three seconds to make a clone of a voice. The voice clip can even be taken from recording a spam call.

He pointed to several recent reports in The Royal Gazette of locals being cyber-scammed out of thousands of dollars.

“It can be as easy as clicking on a link in an SMS message,” he said. “We are going to see AI really taking over the scamming process. We in the cybersecurity field can have all the tools, but because of AI we are now fighting an uphill battle.”

Mr De Deus started Ingine in February. Now, one of his aims is to raise awareness of cyberthreats and vulnerabilities in Bermuda. Next month he launches a podcast, Insecurebootmode. It will cover topics such as securing your mobile devices.

He said: “We would like to bring more awareness to Bermuda in terms of cybersecurity. We would also like to bring tools that can benefit local businesses and also regular folk. One of the things that is lacking is information awareness on attacks and vulnerability. I don’t think there is enough voices out there to keep people informed.”

He wants to hold regular forums in the community to mitigate this problem.

Ingine has also partnered with a South Korean firm AI Spera.

“They are a new start-up like us, so it works out well,” Mr De Deus said. “We talk and exchange ideas a lot. They are a counter defence against AI threat actors.”

AI Spera business development manager Ahmed Mobasher grew up reading detective novels.

“Of course you always want to be a detective too,” he said.

Now, he is getting his detecting fix in the cybersecurity arena.

“It is a fascinating field,” Mr Mobasher said. “It is important to stay up to date, because it changes constantly. Regular people think that nothing more than an antivirus programme is needed on their computer, but every day there is a new attack vector or new attack tools. That creates opportunities for firms like AI Spera to come up with ideas to fight these attacks.”

AI Spera focuses on finding methods to detect cyber-risks. One of its tools, a public website called Criminal IP, is a cybersecurity search engine that anyone can use to find out if a website is malicious.

Ingine will be providing information sessions on how to use Criminal IP and other helpful tools and websites.

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Published August 09, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated August 10, 2023 at 8:04 am)

Bermuda at the mercy of AI and cyber criminals, says expert

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