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AI in the Hacker's Toolbox: The Urgent Need for Behavioral Science-Based Cyber Awareness

By: Stephen Boals

Learn How Hackers are Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Social Engineering Attacks

The Problem

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the cybersecurity landscape, accelerating the speed at which content memes can be generated – currently a new one is detected every 2.7 seconds. While it offers numerous benefits in the fight against cyber threats, AI has also become a powerful weapon in the hands of cybercriminals. Hackers are now leveraging AI to launch sophisticated social engineering attacks, significantly increasing human cyber risk. In this blog post, we will discuss the growing threat of AI-powered social engineering attacks, the importance of enhanced behavioral science-based cyber awareness training, and how it can help mitigate these human-factor risks.

AI for Social Engineering Attacks – A Growing Threat

Social engineering attacks exploit human psychology and behavior, tricking individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that compromise security. AI is enabling cybercriminals to enhance their social engineering campaigns in the following ways:

Deepfakes- AI-generated images, videos, and audio can create realistic impersonations, making it easier for attackers to gain trust and deceive their targets.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)- AI algorithms can analyze and mimic communication patterns, allowing cybercriminals to craft more convincing phishing emails and messages that closely resemble legitimate sources.

AI-driven Data Mining- By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI can identify potential targets and determine the most effective approach for a social engineering attack, increasing the likelihood of success.

The Importance of Enhanced Behavioral Science-Based Cyber Awareness Training

To combat the growing threat of AI-enhanced social engineering attacks, organizations need to invest in comprehensive cyber awareness training that focuses on behavioral and personality-based aspects. This approach can significantly reduce human cyber risk by addressing the following key areas:

Recognizing Social Engineering Tactics- Training should cover various AI-driven social engineering techniques, including deepfakes, NLP-based phishing, and AI-assisted data mining. Employees should be educated on how to spot these attacks and report any suspicious activity.

Understanding Human Psychology- Enhanced cyber awareness training should delve into the psychological principles that make individuals susceptible to social engineering attacks. By understanding their cognitive biases and tendencies, employees can develop a better defense against manipulation and deception.

By 2025, the consumerization of AI-enabled fraud will fundamentally change enterprise attack surface driving more outsourcing of enterprise trust and focus on security education and awareness.

-Gartner, Predictions 2023

Personalizing Training Programs- Cyber awareness training should be tailored to the individual’s personality, learning style, and job role. By addressing the unique needs and vulnerabilities of each employee, organizations can achieve a more robust security posture.

Promoting a Security-Minded Culture- Encourage employees to take ownership of their cybersecurity and foster a culture of vigilance, accountability, and continuous improvement.

Are You Prepared?

As AI continues to shape the future of cybersecurity, organizations must remain vigilant against the growing threat of AI-powered social engineering attacks. By investing in enhanced behavioral science-based cyber awareness training, organizations can better equip their employees to recognize and defend against these advanced threats, ultimately reducing human cyber risk and ensuring a more secure digital environment.


For more information on improving your existing security awareness programs, lowering your human risk, and creating a cybersecurity cultural framework, visit today.