The AI Craze: My take on what it means for the future of cybersecurity

In the last couple of years, people have been buzzing about the new advancements in AI. Innovations in more recent models have allowed companies to rapidly build much more efficient AI solutions. Making models open source, such as the famous models from OpenAI, has allowed other companies to adopt and make their own spin-offs.

People have had one of two reactions: either they are quaking in their boots expecting to lose their jobs when AI takes over the world or embracing AI as a tool that can enhance their work productivity.

Luckily for those interested in cybersecurity, I confidently feel AI will grow the industry.

But, no matter your specific industry or interests, you should choose to adapt to the disruptions AI has already made. Those that don’t will likely get left behind.

Don’t worry, you won’t lose your job

If you’re planning on studying computer science or already have a job in the industry, you might have felt a little queasy seeing people post all sorts of videos online of Chat-GPT spitting out lines of code from simple prompts like “make me a blog website.”

I certainly had a lot of non-tech friends bugging me asking “Are you afraid you’re going to lose your job?” and saying “I can write code as well as you now and I’m a Psych major.”

I’m sure if you’ve considered becoming a software engineer, you’ve heard similar claims or have had doubts yourself.

But fret not! AI is not nearly capable enough to write full-scale web applications (as of now anyway). Even if it could, you would still have to at least be able to understand the code to customize it to fit your needs and debug any errors that are bound to arise.

Plus, AI relies on human data, so if any new frameworks or other advancements were to arise it would have to learn from developers before being able to generate its own code.

And think about when content management systems, like WordPress, allowed any goofball with a laptop and a pulse to build full-scale sites. Developers didn’t go anywhere then. In fact, a new job market opened for people skilled in using WordPress.

I predict in the tech industry as a whole, jobs will require new skills adapting to AI and new jobs will form entirely — but we are not going anywhere!

Unless of course, you choose not to adapt. Darwinism at its finest…

Okay, now what about cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity certainly isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I think the industry will boom even bigger than it already has been.

Let me tell you why.

1. AI will become our ally

AI won’t only boost workflow in cyber jobs, it will also be integrated into security solutions.

Think about all of the enhancements AI technology can be (and has been) incorporated into security software.

Malware that can analyze the behavior of malware and intelligently remove or mitigate the threat. Intrusion detection systems that can more accurately screen traffic. Log analysis software that can identify threats or provide the next steps to resolution when there’s a system outage. Software that can protect you from phishing attempts.

You get the idea…

I highly recommend you get your foot in the door with AI or Machine learning. The internet is full of free information on the subject and many tools are open source. Build projects and get certifications to add to your resume.

2. The threat landscape will increase dramatically

Writing code is easier than ever with the help of AI. So too is writing malware.

There have already been reports of popular text-generating models (like ChatGPT) being used to develop malware. While popular systems have put protections in place to prevent models from being used for evil, people have found creative ways to write prompts to get around these protections.

Malware developers have also taken advantage of popular AI models being open source and have developed their own evil versions.

This not only makes malware more accessible but also more advanced. AI malware can intelligently hide itself and adapt itself to its environment, making it much more dangerous than traditional malware.

3. The barrier to entry may lower

Cybersecurity has a notoriously high barrier to entry. If you look on Indeed right now, it’s common for security-related jobs to require something as ridiculous as 5 years of experience in IT for an entry-level job.

I’m not sure about you but I’m not so sure I want to spend a pretty significant chunk of my career working somewhere I don’t necessarily want to end up (not saying IT is a bad field at all by the way).

AI might automate enough skills to make it easier for people to get into the job. As most people reading this may have experienced, there is a lot of ground to cover if you want to get into the field. Those general certifications (or any of those all-in-one courses for that matter) aren’t enough. While they offer a ton of material, it’s really only enough to get you started.

With the help of AI, we don’t have to rigorously memorize bash scripting or the exact steps we should take when hardening a Windows machine. We can leave all of the heavy lifting to our second (artificial) brain.

Of course, you have to have at least an introduction or high-level overview of many topics in cybersecurity. It’s important to understand what you’re doing after all.

But, AI might help to lower the high technical requirements barring many people from cybersecurity jobs. I mean there is a shortage after all.

The big takeaway

Those are only some of the benefits AI will bring to the cybersecurity industry. I’m sure you could brainstorm some more.

Just remember, don’t have a scarcity mindset when it comes to AI. As long as you look at it as a tool that could propel your career and productivity at work, you won’t get wiped out by it.

If we harness the power of AI, we won’t let it take us over.

I hope this sheds some positive light on your career path. I know I had my doubts and worries when AI was first making headlines. By now the hype has died down a little bit. Just like the blockchain. Funny how that works.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this opinion piece as much as I enjoyed writing it. I just wrapped up building my last Evil Twin attack so look out for a breakdown on how I did that in the next post!