Businesses fear generative AI will cause ‘catastrophic’ cyberattacks

23 Oct 2023

Image: © Дмитрий Майер/

A PwC report suggests many businesses are concerned about generative AI, but also plan to use it as part of their cybersecurity defences.

Many business leaders – in Ireland and worldwide – are concerned over the impact generative AI may have on the cybersecurity landscape, according to a new report by PwC.

The organisation’s Digital Trust Insights survey found that more than half of the business leaders they surveyed expect generative AI to lead to “catastrophic” cyberattacks over the next 12 months. PwC surveyed 3,876 business and tech leaders, including nearly 50 in Ireland.

Despite the concerns, only 45pc of the Irish respondents said they understand the cybersecurity risks related to generative AI, compared to 58pc of global respondents. Leonard McAuliffe, PwC Ireland Cyber Practice partner, said cybersecurity continues to be “top of mind” for Irish business leaders.

“Business leaders need to be agile and adapt to the changing market,” McAuliffe said. “With emerging tech developments such as artificial intelligence hitting the market in transformative ways, executives must challenge the status quo by building security into the fabric of their organisations instead of reacting once there is a crisis.”

Despite the concerns, many businesses also plan to use generative AI as a way to boost their cybersecurity. Globally, nearly 70pc of business leaders have this mindset, compared to 58pc of Irish respondents.

“Organisations should adopt a responsible approach to GenAI and how it is used to enhance cybersecurity to ensure it is appropriately used,” McAuliffe said. “Although it’s often considered a function of technology, human supervision and intervention are essential.”

At the start of 2023, cybersecurity experts predicted that AI would have a large impact on the cybersecurity sector, with both attackers and defenders taking advantage of the technology.

In June, BT threat intelligence specialist Catherine Williams said AI is a “double-edged sword” when it comes to cybersecurity because it is being deployed on “both sides of the battlefield”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic