Dr. Aws Naser Jaber and Professor Lothar Fritsch have studied the emerging use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in cyberattacks. In their research, they have made an inventory of common COVID-exploiting cyberattack patterns and discussed the potential for their automation and enhancement with AI techniques.
Such attacks are, for example, carried out with phishing techniques where strategies and actual messages may get generated with AI. Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information or to deploy malicious software on the victim's infrastructure.
They found that several AI-supported attack patterns, in particular social engineering and automated vulnerability testing and exploitation, will strongly enhance cyber attacks in disruptive situations.
In the paper “COVID-19 and Global Increases in Cybersecurity Attacks: Review of Possible Adverse Artificial Intelligence Attacks” (researchgate.net), they argue that society needs to prepare for such amplified attacks. This should be done by investigating their specific tactical advantages, as well as counter measurements to them.
The AI lab is currently expanding its research into this direction and will focus on theoretical and industry-oriented research collaborations in the area of AI-enhanced cyberattacks.