AI Use in Cyberattacks Raises Worker Cybersecurity Concerns

EY report finds younger staff are more concerned about cyber attacks, but aren’t equipped to handle them

Ben Wodecki, Junior Editor - AI Business

May 8, 2024

2 Min Read
Digital drawing representing a cyber security network and data protection

More than half of U.S. workers are concerned their organization will be hit by a cyberattack, according to a new EY survey.

The 2024 Human Risk in Cybersecurity Report surveyed 1,000 U.S.-based full and part-time workers across the public and private sectors whose work requires the use of a computer.

The consulting firm found what it described as “widespread concerns” from workers about cyber attacks and the potential for AI to heighten risks.

The survey says around one-third of respondents (34%) expressed concern that their own actions could leave their employers open to an attack.

EY found younger workers, Gen Z and Millennials, were the most fearful of causing potential risks. Younger respondents also admitted to feeling unequipped to identify potential cyber threats in the workplace.

EY’s survey asked workers their views on AI’s impact on cyber attacks. The consulting firm found that 85% of respondents said they felt AI was making cyberattacks more sophisticated, while 78% expressed concern over AI causing increased amounts of attacks.

"With new threats emerging on a near-constant basis fueled by geopolitical tensions, shifting regulations and the rapid integration of new technologies, including AI, the risk landscape has become even more complicated," said Jim Guinn, II, EY America’s cybersecurity leader. "Want to secure your organization today and in the future? Put humans at the center of your cyber strategy and enlist your people as protectors on the frontlines, arming them with knowledge, training and a dose of healthy skepticism about all digital interactions."

Related:Accenture, SandboxAQ Collaborate on Quantum-AI Cybersecurity

According to the report, 91% of surveyed individuals believe their employers should offer regularly updated cybersecurity training.

Surveyed staff who said they were “rusty” with their cybersecurity knowledge were among those who admitted fear of using technologies like AI at work.

However, 39% of the surveyed 1,000 U.S. workers said they were not confident in using AI responsibly. And just 62% admitted their employer was actively educating staff on responsible AI usage.

EY’s report suggests employers should look to gamifying training programs to better translate training information to staff.

The report also recommends businesses employ hands-on training programs for workplace uses of AI. “Having firsthand experience using new technologies like generative AI unlocks a new level of understanding and drives defensive thinking,” according to the report.

"Cybersecurity training and attention from leaders across the C-suite contributes to the development of a strong security posture within an organization," said Dan Mellen, EY America’s consulting cybersecurity chief technology officer. "When security practices are ingrained in the company culture, employees are more likely to prioritize security in their day-to-day activities and proactively report potential security incidents."

Related:AI Cybersecurity Startup Raises $300M to Secure Enterprise Data

This article first appeared in IoT World Today's sister site, AI Business.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Junior Editor - AI Business

Ben Wodecki is the junior editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to junior editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others.

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