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Summary

  • CISOs are no longer just gatekeepers but digital business enablers.
  • Rapid evolution of AI poses challenges even for seasoned CISOs.
  • Major generative AI trends for 2024 include shadow AI, AI-infused cyber attacks, and the release of new AI regulations.
  • CISOs can fortify defenses, combat shadow AI and improve compliance with AI-infused cybersecurity tools like Polymer data loss prevention (DLP).

The role of the chief information security officer (CISO) has evolved tremendously in the last few years. No longer confined to the stereotype as the stern “office of no” guardian, today’s C-suite looks to the CISO as a digital business enabler, especially when it comes to balancing the risks and rewards of generative AI.   

However, with AI technology evolving so quickly, even the most seasoned CISOs are finding themselves navigating uncharted territories. 

To help security leaders anticipate what’s to come, we’ll take a look at three generative AI trends that will demand the CISO’s attention in 2024. 

The dawn of shadow AI 

The democratization of generative AI tools has ushered in a new era of risk: shadow AI. Shadow AI, like its predecessor shadow IT, occurs when employees use generative AI tools without the permission of the cybersecurity department, introducing a two-fold escalation in cybersecurity risks. 

First, the opacity surrounding the data inputted into generative AI applications poses a formidable challenge for preventing data exposure.

CISOs must also remain vigilant to the fact that large language models (LLMs) can be manipulated into disclosing their training data. 

Moreover, the race to develop proprietary LLMs raises the odds of training data exposure, either through sophisticated attacks orchestrated by threat actors or the misconfiguration of security controls. 

To remedy this risk, taking a zero trust approach to generative AI is crucial. Security departments must continuously monitor and authenticate users and devices in real-time. 

Of course, implementing zero trust against a backdrop of shadow AI sounds impossible. However, tools exist to shine a light on generative AI usage. For example, best-in-class data loss prevention (DLP) tools harnesses the power of natural language processing (NLP) to bring bi-directional data discovery, monitoring, and protection to apps like ChatGPT. This mitigates the the risks of LLM leakage or employees inadvertently sharing sensitive information with generative AI.  

The AI-enhanced SOC combats AI-enhanced attacks 

According to VentureBeat, 86% of CISOs believe AI-infused attacks are a near and immediate threat to their business. Already, we’ve seen threat actors level up their cyber attacks with generative AI. 

For example, it’s become commonplace for hackers to use generative AI to rid their phishing attacks of common giveaways like misspellings, grammar errors, and a lack of cultural context, making them more deceiving and difficult to spot. 

Threat actors can also abuse LLMs via prompt injection attacks, data poisoning and authorized code executions, all of which can cause generative AI tools to leak sensitive information or grant attackers more control than they should be warranted. 

Against this backdrop, CISOs must revolutionize how they approach cybersecurity defense, adopting cyber AI for defense to combat cyber AI for attacks.

The regulatory landscape continues to shift 

Beyond the constant threat posed by AI-powered threat actors, the regulatory environment surrounding AI is also undergoing a significant transformation, meaning CISOs will need to stay vigilant and adaptable.

In December, for example, the EU’s AI Act was passed while California already has its Draft AI Privacy Rule underway. 

For CISOs, complying with evolving regulations isn’t just a matter of box-ticking. Recent high-profile cases, like the conviction of Uber’s former head of security, highlight that senior security executives are taking the heat for security failures. 

It’s imperative for CISOs to assemble an AI team to take the lead on deciphering applicable regulations and driving the secure rollout of generative AI tools. 

This team will play a pivotal role in keeping abreast of the AI landscape, including new attack types and changing regulations, enacting cybersecurity mandates, processes and tools, developing and rolling-out education initiatives, and ensuring AI advancements, ultimately, remain under the stewardship of cybersecurity and compliance leaders. 

Harness the cybersecurity prowess of generative AI today

Ultimately, generative AI presents a powerful opportunity for businesses, CISOs and their cybersecurity teams. 

While malicious actors will also harness the power of generative AI to level up their attacks, CISOs have the opportunity to fortify their cybersecurity defenses with AI-infused cybersecurity tools. 

To find out more about infusing your cybersecurity operations with generative AI, read our whitepaper. 

Polymer is a human-centric data loss prevention (DLP) platform that holistically reduces the risk of data exposure in your SaaS apps and AI tools. In addition to automatically detecting and remediating violations, Polymer coaches your employees to become better data stewards. Try Polymer for free.

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