ISACA: IT workers “worry” about AI being exploited

A new study conducted by ISACA highlights that business and IT professionals are worried about the exploitation of generative AI by cyber criminals

A survey conducted by leading digital trust association ISACA has found that 99% of business and IT professionals say they are worried, to some extent, about how generative AI has the potential to be exploited by bad actors.

The research considers the use, risk and impact of generative AI worldwide and also confirms that 74% of those surveyed believe that cybercriminals are harnessing AI with equal or even greater success than digital trust professionals.

These findings come in the midst of significant and rapid advancements in AI technology that cybercriminals are then exploiting by breaking into systems more easily and efficiently than ever before.

Growing fears have not yet resulted in global action

Cybercriminals are constantly innovating their tactics, exploiting vulnerabilities and breaching defences with ever-increasing precision. As a result, it is important for businesses to adopt a proactive approach as a matter of necessity so that they are not only responding to attacks, but also anticipating them before they arrive.

ISACA reveals in its survey that growing fears from IT professionals have not translated into widespread action, with only a quarter (28%) of respondents perceiving AI-related risks as an immediate priority.  

Furthermore, only 10% of organisations have formal, comprehensive policies in place governing the use of AI technology, with 29% alarmingly having no policy and no plans to implement one at all. 

"In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, AI will play a key role in transforming industries as a whole. Holistic digital trust framework implementations are a prerequisite to enjoying the benefits of AI in a more secure, privacy-friendly, ethically acceptable and risk-controlled manner," said Chris Dimitriadis, Global Chief Strategy Officer at ISACA. 

Despite the clear concerns associated with AI, ISACA notes that just 7% of organisations are providing all employees with AI training. One in ten (10%) business and IT professionals also believe that job responsibilities within their organisations have already increased due to advancements in generative AI and this is set to increase, with nearly four in five (79%) agreeing that many jobs will be modified by AI within the next five years. 

The rise in AI must lead to wider training programmes

The huge global wave of AI adoption means 81% of respondents said that they will need to increase their skills and knowledge to retain their job or advance their career.  

If understood and used correctly, generative AI systems have great potential to affect positive changes within a business. AI will ultimately continue to play a significant role within cybersecurity and IT sectors if it is developed and used in a responsible and ethical way.

Businesses are starting to acknowledge this rise in AI, according to ISACA, with almost one in five (19%) increasing the number of jobs for AI-related functions in the next 12 months. They are also aware of the potential benefits it brings, with respondents feeling it will have a positive impact on their industry (60%), their organisation (54%) and their career (46%), over the next five years. 

ISACA CEO Erik Prusch says: “Business and IT professionals are aware of the potential positive impact of AI, but to reap the benefits they must ensure the staff in their organisations are trained on how to use AI effectively and safely. 

“By providing comprehensive training as part of an overarching AI strategy, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and ensure the safety and security of their operations while promoting long-term business success.”

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