AI causes rise in ransomware

NCSC Issues Alert Over AI Increasing Global Ransomware Threats

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a warning in a report that as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) increases, the frequency and severity of ransomware-related cyberattacks will likely increase between now and 2026.

The NCSC of the United Kingdom released a report on Wednesday titled “The Near-Term Impact of AI on the Cyber Threat.” Regarding ransomware and cyber risks, the source highlights alarming updates that could be likely to begin in 2025.

The NCSC uses a full assessment that includes sensitive information, industrial experience, academic research, and open-source data from both the UK government and foreign partners.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) organisation highlights the fact that malicious uses of AI already exist. It lowers the threshold of entry for mercenaries, hacktivists, and inexperienced cybercriminals, enabling those with less abilities to execute more significant attacks.

A clear connection exists between the freedom of the underground society and the current rise in cybercrime. This might cause AI to play a bigger role in ransomware activities than it has in the past, especially when combined with AI-driven proficiency in victim targeting.

The analysis, which shapes policy in the UK, highlights how artificial intelligence (AI) technologies may help attackers create malware and vulnerabilities more quickly. It also shows that the growth of AI might help launch more successful phishing attacks. With the improvements made possible by AI, it highlights the ongoing threat of ransomware.

According to Lindy Cameron, CEO of the NCSC:

We must ensure that we both harness AI technology for its vast potential and manage its risks – including its implications on the cyber threat. The emergent use of AI in cyberattacks is evolutionary, not revolutionary, meaning that it enhances existing threats like ransomware but does not transform the risk landscape in the near term.

The report believes that spear phishing and other social engineering threats will continue to exist, but that they will become more dangerous as AI models develop. This trend is expected to allow less skilled threat actors, giving them a significant advantage in capabilities.

According to research from companies such as Splunk, which shows that these kinds of technologies fail to boost spear phishing email efficiency, the NCSC says GenAI might boost the process. This may enhance the writing of emails by threat actors with fewer spelling and grammar mistakes.

Threat to National Security Due to Rise in Ransomware

According to the NCSC, AI has the ability to make phishing attacks more complex, which might result in an increase in ransomware incidents. Additionally, it may increase the number of skilled attackers executing ransomware attacks.

According to James Babbage, Director General for Threats at the National Crime Agency (NCA):

AI services lower barriers to entry, increasing the number of cyber criminals, and will boost their capability by improving the scale, speed and effectiveness of existing attack methods. Fraud and child sexual abuse are also particularly likely to be affected. The NCA will continue to protect the public and reduce the serious crime threat to the UK, including by targeting criminal use of GenAI and ensuring we adopt the technology ourselves where safe and effective.

One reason for the increase in ransomware activity is the growing popularity of the as-a-service business model. This approach is spreading the risk environment by allowing affiliates without coding competence to get ransomware programmes from a variety of groups. As a result, these organisations receive a share of the ransom payments made by the affiliates.

The NCSC reveals that large language models (LLMs) and artificial intelligence (GenAI) will become common by 2025. Irrespective matter how advanced security measures is, these advancements will make it harder for everyone to determine if a request for a reset password or email is authentic. There will be more challenges in identifying spoofing, phishing, and other social engineering attacks.

At Phishing Tackle, we know all too well that security technology is often left incorrectly configured, demonstrated by our free Domain Spoofing Test which currently gets past around 50% of users security systems.

Successful ransomware attacks are most often preceded by phishing emails. Help your colleagues keep a security-first mindset and boost your human firewall by starting your Phishing Tackle security awareness training today with our two-week free trial

Recent posts