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New Development: National Cyber Security Centre warns AI is likely to heighten global ransomware threat

Published on 17 April 2024

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCQH, has published a report on the “near-term impact of AI on the cyber threat” over the next two years, which concludes that: (i) AI is already being used in cyber activity in a malicious way; and (ii) the volume of cyber attacks and the global ransomware threat are likely to be heightened over the next two years.

The report highlights that, by lowering entry barriers for less-skilled threat actors, AI enables more effective access to and gathering of information, contributing to this increased global ransomware threat. The NCSC also emphasises the importance of implementing protective measures and has urged organisations and individuals alike to follow their ransomware and cybersecurity hygiene advice.

In response to the heightened threat, the Government has allocated £2.6 billion as part of its Cyber Security Strategy to bolster the UK’s resilience. Both the NCSC and private industry have embraced the application of AI to strengthen cyber security resilience, focusing on advancements in threat detection and the implementation of security-by-design principles.

This report follows the Bletchley Declaration, (see coverage of this in our Winter 2023 Snapshots), agreed at the UK’s AI Safety Summit in November 2023, which announced a shared agreement and responsibility on managing the risks and opportunities presented by “frontier” AI.

Spring 2024