Cybercriminals will leverage AI as an attack vector and an attack surface

A jointly developed new report by Europol, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and Trend Micro looking into current and predicted criminal uses of artificial intelligence (AI) has been released.  It provides law enforcers, policymakers and other organisations with information on existing and potential attacks leveraging AI and recommendations on how to mitigate these risks.

The report concludes that cybercriminals will leverage AI both as an attack vector and an attack surface.  Deep fakes are currently the best-known use of AI as an attack vector.  However, the report warns that new screening technology will be needed in the future to mitigate the risk of disinformation campaigns and extortion, as well as threats that target AI data sets.

For example, AI could be used to support:

  • convincing social engineering attacks at scale;
  • document-scraping malware to make attacks more efficient;
  • evasion of image recognition and voice biometrics;
  • ransomware attacks, through intelligent targeting and evasion;
  • data pollution, by identifying blind spots in detection rules.

The paper also warns that AI systems are being developed to enhance the effectiveness of malware and to disrupt anti-malware and facial recognition systems.

The EAST Payments Task Force is focussed on payment issues related to social engineering, malware, ransomware and other cyber threats, and notes that this report is an important step forward in assessing the rapid evolution of cybercrime.

The three organisations make several recommendations to conclude the report:

  • harness the potential of AI technology as a crime-fighting tool to future-proof the cybersecurity industry and policing;
  • continue research to stimulate the development of defensive technology;
  • promote and develop secure AI design frameworks;
  • de-escalate politically loaded rhetoric on the use of AI for cybersecurity purposes;
  • leverage public-private partnerships and establish multidisciplinary expert groups.

For more information and to download the report visit Europol’s website

Disruptive technologies – their impact on crime and its prevention

Disruptive TechnologiesEuropol has just published a new report aimed at triggering discussion about ‘disruptive technologies’, and the need for innovation and strategic foresight in EU policing.

Disruptive technologies are fundamentally altering the way we live, work and relate to one another.  They provide criminals with new ways to pursue their illegal goals, but also equip law enforcement with powerful tools in the fight against crime.

To remain relevant and effective, it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to invest in understanding and actively pursuing new, innovative solutions. The new Europol Report, entitled ‘Do criminals dream of electric sheep: how technology shapes the future of crime and law enforcement’ will serve as a basis for future discussions between Europol, EU law enforcement and their stakeholders.

Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, said: “Europol’s strategy sets out our ambition to firmly establish Europol as an innovator in law enforcement at the European level. It is no longer good enough to be reactive. Our ability to predict which emerging technologies criminals will turn to next is instrumental to our mission of keeping EU citizens safe. We hope to start a discussion with law enforcement in the Member States and other stakeholders.”

Some of the emerging technologies include Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum computing, 5G, alternative decentralised networks and cryptocurrencies, 3D printing and biotech. These are set to have a profound impact on the criminal landscape and the ability of law enforcement authorities to respond to emerging threats. The disruption comes from the convergence between these new technologies, the previously unseen use cases and applications, and the challenges posed by existing legal and regulatory frameworks.

The report aims to identify the security threats associated with this and points to ways for law enforcement to use the opportunities brought by these technologies to combat crime and terrorism. It also highlights the pivotal role of the private sector and the importance of law enforcement to engage more with these actors. Furthermore, it is of paramount importance that the voice of law enforcement is heard when legislative and regulatory frameworks are being discussed and developed, in order to have an opportunity to address their concerns and needs, particularly with regard to the accessibility of date and lawful interception.

in an age of rapid digital technological development Europol can deliver additional value by increasingly engaging in expertise coordination and collective resource management, which avoids unnecessary duplication of resources and expertise at national level. The Europol Strategy 2020+ set out for the organisation to support the Member States by becoming a central point for law enforcement innovation and research.

Download the report here

As a private sector partner of Europol, EAST provides trusted platforms where experts from law enforcement and the private sector can routinely come together to focus on current and evolving criminal threats, and what can be done to counter them.  The platforms are:  EAST National Member meetings; the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF); the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF); and the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).