Human brainpower is no match for hackers unleashing digital smash-and-grab attacks powered by artificial intelligence using email hoaxes. As a result, cyber security protection must be guided by AI solutions that know hackers’ strategies better than they do.

This approach to fighting AI with better AI emerged as an ideal strategy in research conducted in March by cyber firm Darktrace to sniff out insights into human behavior around email. The survey reaffirmed the need for new cyber tools to combat AI-driven hacker threats targeting businesses.

The study sought a better understanding of how employees react to potential security threats globally. It also underscored their growing knowledge of the need for better email security.

Darktrace’s global survey of 6,711 employees in the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands found respondents experienced a 135% increase in “new social engineering attacks” across thousands of active Darktrace email subscribers from January to February 2023 . The results were consistent with the widespread adoption of ChatGPT.

These novel social engineering attacks use sophisticated linguistic techniques, including increasing the amount of text, punctuation, and sentence length without any links or enclosures. The trend suggests that generative AI, such as ChatGPT, is providing an opportunity for threat actors to devise sophisticated and targeted attacks at speed and scale, according to the researchers.

According to Max Heinemeier, Chief Product Officer of Darktrace, one of the three most important findings from the research is that most employees are concerned about the threat of AI-generated emails.

“This is not surprising, as these emails are often indistinguishable from legitimate communications and some of the signs that employees commonly look for a ‘fake’ include signs such as poor spelling and grammar, which may be helpful in bypassing chatbots. Proving to be extremely efficient.” told TechNewsWorld.

Research Highlights

Darktrace asked retail, catering and leisure companies how concerned they are if hackers could use generative AI to create scam emails that are indistinguishable from real communications. Eighty-two percent said they are worried.

More than half of all respondents indicated their awareness of what employees think is an email that is a phishing attack. The top three included invitations to click on a link or open an attachment (68%), unknown senders or unexpected content (61%), and poor use of spelling and grammar (61%).

This is significant and troubling, as 45% of Americans surveyed noted that they had been the victim of a fraudulent email, according to Heinemeyer.

“It is unsurprising that employees are concerned about their ability to verify the legitimacy of email communications in a world where AI chatbots are increasingly able to mimic real-world conversations and generate emails that contain phishing attack information.” All the usual signs are lacking, such as malicious links or attachments,” he said.

Other key results of the survey include the following:

  • 70% of global employees have seen an increase in the frequency of scam emails and texts over the past six months
  • 87% of global workers are concerned about the amount of personal information about themselves available online that could be used in phishing and other email scams
  • 35% of respondents have tried ChatGPT or other general AI chatbots

human error guardrail

The wider reach of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and the increasing sophistication of nation-state actors means email scams are more credible than ever, noted Heinemeyer.

Innocent human error and threats from within remain an issue. Misdirecting an email is a risk for every employee and every organization. Nearly two out of five people have sent an important email to the wrong recipient with a similar-looking surname, either by mistake or because of autocomplete. This error rises to more than half (51%) in the financial services industry and 41% in the legal sector.

Regardless of the fault, such human errors add another layer of security risk that is not malicious. A self-learning system can spot this error before sensitive information is shared incorrectly.

In response, Darktrace unveiled a significant update to its globally deployed email solution. This helps strengthen email security tools as organizations continue to rely on email as their primary collaboration and communication tool.

“Email security tools that rely on knowledge of past threats are failing to future-proof organizations and their people against email threats,” he said.

Darktrace’s latest email capability includes behavioral detection for misdirected emails that prevent intellectual property or confidential information from being sent to the wrong recipient, according to Heinemeyer.

AI Cyber ​​Security Initiative

By understanding what’s normal, AI security can determine what doesn’t belong in a particular person’s inbox. Email protection systems often get it wrong, with 79% of respondents saying their company’s spam/security filters wrongfully block important legitimate email from reaching their inboxes.

With a deep understanding of the organization and how the individuals within it interact with their inbox, AI can determine for each email whether it is suspicious and should be acted upon or if it is legitimate and should be left untouched.

“Tools that work from knowledge of historical attacks will be no match for AI-generated attacks,” Heinemeyer offered.

Analysis of the attack shows significant linguistic deviations – both semantically and syntactically – compared to other phishing emails. This leaves little doubt that traditional email security tools, which operate from knowledge of historical threats, will fall short in picking up on the subtle indicators of these attacks, he explained.

Reinforcing this, research from Darktrace has shown that email security solutions, which include native, cloud and static AI tools, take an average of 13 days from the time a victim is attacked until the breach is detected.

“That leaves defenders vulnerable for about two weeks if they rely solely on these tools. AI defense that understands the business will be critical to detecting these attacks,” he said.

Need for AI-Human Partnership

Heinemeyer believes that the future of email security lies in a partnership between AI and humans. In this arrangement, algorithms are responsible for determining whether a communication is malicious or benign, thereby shifting the burden of responsibility away from humans.

“Training on good email security practices is important, but will not be enough to stop AI-generated threats that look like perfectly benign communications,” he warned.

One of the revolutions AI is enabling in the email space is a deeper understanding of “you”. Rather than trying to predict attacks, your understanding of employees’ behavior should be determined based on their email inbox, their relationships, tone of voice, emotions and hundreds of other data points, he argued.

“By leveraging AI to address email security threats, we not only mitigate risk but revitalize organizational trust and contribute to business outcomes. In this scenario, humans are freed up to operate at higher level, more strategic practices,” he said.

Not an insurmountable cyber security problem

The threat of offensive AI on the defensive side has been researched for a decade. Attackers will inevitably use AI to enhance their operations and maximize ROI, noted Heinemeyer.

“But it’s not something we would consider impossible from a defense perspective. The irony is that generative AI may screw up the social engineering challenge, but AI that knows you can parry,” he predicted.

Darktrace tests aggressive AI prototypes against the company’s technology to continually test the efficacy of its defenses in advance of this inevitable evolution in the attack landscape. The company is confident that AI coupled with deep business understanding will be the most powerful way to combat these threats as they continue to evolve.

The issue of cyberbullying has received significant attention in recent years, particularly due to the widespread use of the Internet and social media platforms.

Cyberbullying is classically defined as the use of electronic communication to threaten, harass, or intimidate another person. This can have serious consequences – and sometimes fatal – for the mental health and wellbeing of the victim.

Fortunately, there are now software tools available to help combat cyberbullying, and one of the most popular is BARC.

What is bark?

Bark is a software tool that uses advanced Artificial Intelligence algorithms to monitor and analyze the digital activity of children and adolescents. It is designed to help parents and guardians keep their children safe from online predators and cyberbullying. Once installed, the app can be used to manage and monitor their kids’ Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

Bark monitors a wide range of digital platforms, including social media, text messaging and email, and can alert parents and guardians to potential issues before they become a serious problem.

How does BARC work?

BARC uses advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze the content of digital messages and identify potential threats. The software can analyze text, images, and videos and recognize patterns that may indicate cyberbullying, threats of violence, or other dangerous behaviors.

When Bark detects a potential problem, it sends an alert to the child’s parent or guardian and a summary of the content that triggered the alert. The software can provide guidance on how to handle the situation and suggest resources for further support.

Given the widespread popularity of smartphones and tablets, the cold-turkey approach of restricting children from using digital devices is generally unsuccessful. Outrage is often a result – not to mention that many kids will use their ingenuity to get their hands on a digital device.

The genius of Bark’s approach is that it allows kids to continue using their digital devices — especially smartphones. Parental monitoring of smartphones encourages children to act responsibly, earns trust, and alerts parents to potential cyberbullying-related problems before tragedy strikes.

characteristics of the bark

Bark has a range of features designed to help parents and guardians monitor their children’s digital activity and protect them from online threats. Some of the most notable features include:

  • Monitoring of multiple digital platforms: BARC monitors a wide range of digital platforms including social media, text messaging and email. This aspect means that parents and guardians can monitor their child’s activity across multiple platforms without having to log into each platform separately.
  • Customizable Alerts: Parents and guardians can customize the types of alerts they receive from Bark based on the age of their child and the type of content they wish to monitor. For example, they can set up alerts for cyberbullying, sexting, or violent threats.
  • Intelligent Analysis: BARC uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze the content of digital messages and identify potential issues. The software can recognize patterns and spot potentially dangerous situations before they escalate.
  • Support for multiple devices: Bark can be installed on multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops, making it easy to monitor a child’s digital activity across devices.
  • easy to use: Bark is easy to set up and use, with a simple interface that allows parents and guardians to view their child’s digital activity and receive alerts.

benefits of bark

BARC offers several benefits for parents and guardians concerned about the online safety of their children.

First and foremost, BARC facilitates early detection of potential issues. Bark can identify potential issues before they become a serious problem, allowing parents and guardians to intervene early and prevent damage.

Second, Bark provides peace of mind to parents who want to keep an eye on their children inside and outside the home. This comfort is manifested in the knowledge that parents, caregivers or guardians are taking steps to protect their children from online dangers.

Infographic: Why monitoring social media by parents and guardians is important

In addition, Bark’s solution provides customizable alerts that allow parents and guardians to personalize the types of alerts they receive, to focus on specific types of content that are relevant to them. Are. This ability is important because different children have different maturity levels, and it allows parents to personalize the kind of content children have access to. The result is an opportunity to build more adequate trust between parent and child.

Since children often have access to multiple connected devices, Bark can be installed on multiple products, so parents and guardians can monitor their child’s activity across all of their devices. It’s also helpful that Bark is easy to set up and use, with a simple interface that allows parents and guardians to monitor their child’s digital activity and receive alerts. In other words, even technology-challenged parents can use Bark without a steep learning curve.

Partnering with Calyx

Last year, Calyx announced a strategic partnership with BARC. Calyx is one of the leading global providers of cloud and software platforms, systems and services used by broadband service providers (BSPs) to deliver unified access networks and the smart home of tomorrow.

Infographic: The Bark-Calyx Partnership

The BARC partnership is telling because it underscores Calix’s mutual concern about cyberbullying, as a specific form of harassment faced by teens and tweens. Calyx has cleverly added BARC to its Calyx Revenue EDGE suite of premium system offerings in a growing suite of offerings that can be offered to BSP broadband customers.

Through this partnership, Calyx and BARC allow even the smallest BSPs, who often do not have the resources to implement capabilities like BARC, to enhance their value proposition to the communities in which they operate. Are. The result is that BSP is empowered to help. Families keep children safe at home, school and virtually anywhere in the world.

In a recent SmartTechCheck podcast, I had the opportunity to speak with Bark’s Global CMO, Titania Jordan, and Megan Powell, Director of Product Marketing at Calyx, where we discussed the company’s partnerships and commitment to combating cyberbullying.

closing thoughts

Cyberbullying is a serious issue that can have significant consequences for children and adolescents. Fortunately, software tools like Bark are now available to help parents and guardians proactively and assertively deal with this issue.

The rise of the smartphone and its popularity among children has created unprecedented challenges for parents. BARC reports that its solutions have already covered 6.5 million children, detected 1.1 million serious self-harm situations and 3 million serious bullying situations.

Calix has a long and impressive history with BSP in ensuring that children’s online presence is protected. In fact, Calyx was one of the first companies to offer parental controls to BSPs through its ExperienceIQ offering in 2019.

The business implications of the Calyx/BARC/BSP dynamic also deserve mention. Calyx’s DNA is characterized by its ability to allow BSPs to manage, deploy, market and operate these types of premium services in a resource-optimized manner. Bark Elements enhances Calyx’s value proposition with BSP as it accelerates time-to-market with fully integrated turnkey solutions.

Cyberbullying may be a 21st century problem that may never go away completely. Nevertheless, its partnership with Bark and Calyx is a decisive step in the right direction that could help dramatically reduce this problem.

Sadly, families face many digital threats that put their children at risk on a 24/7 basis. By combining forces, Calix and Bark have raised the bar — and expectation — on what technology companies responsible for protecting the lives of our children can and should do.