Why security should be baked into AI rather than added as an afterthought
If you read much about AI, you’ll know that security is becoming a much more important part of the conversation. It’s gradually taking over discussions around replacing humans and ethical dilemmas, and rightly so.
A recent piece by the NCSC ‘UK cyber chief: “AI should be developed with security at its core“’ reflects how Cloud Heroes approaches the rise of AI.
We think AI is an amazing tool that could revolutionise so many industries. But it also needs to be used with caution.
More specifically, we think security should be built-into AI from the very beginning rather than added as an afterthought.
AI and baked in security
We think there are several reasons why it’s important to design AI with security from the start, rather than adding it later.
- Security is easier to implement when it is designed into the system from the beginning. Once a system is in place, it can be difficult to add security features without disrupting the system or introducing new vulnerabilities.
- Security features that are added later are often not as effective as those that are designed into the system from the beginning. This is because security features that are added later must be retrofitted into an existing system. Changes may not take into account all the security implications of the system design.
- Security is a shared responsibility. Developers, system administrators, and users all have a role to play in securing AI systems. By building in security from the start, developers can ensure all stakeholders are aware of the security implications of their actions and can take steps to mitigate risks.
- AI systems often collect and process large amounts of sensitive data. This data can be a valuable target for hackers who can use it to steal identities, commit fraud, or blackmail individuals.
- AI systems can be vulnerable to malware attacks. Malware can corrupt or steal data, or even take control of the system.
- AI systems can be misused by criminals or malicious actors to carry out harmful activities. For example, AI systems could be used to spread misinformation, manipulate public opinion, or even commit acts of violence.
By designing AI with security from the start, developers can help to protect these systems from these and other threats.
While you can always add it later, there are inherent risks, and costs, to that approach. That’s why we believe it’s far better to include it within the initial build.
Once we’re using AI, we can protect systems and users by following several best practices:
- Using secure development practices: Developers should use secure development practices, such as code reviews, threat modelling and penetration testing to find and address vulnerabilities.
- Training developers on security: Developers should be trained on security best practices and should be aware of the latest threats.
- Keeping systems up to date: Systems should be kept up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
- Use secure programming languages and libraries: There are a number of secure programming languages and libraries available, such as Java, Python, and C#. These languages and libraries have built-in security features that can help to protect against common attacks.
- Use secure data storage: Data should be stored securely, using encryption and other methods.
- Use secure authentication and authorization: Users should be authenticated and authorized to access data and systems in a secure manner.
- Monitor systems for security threats: Systems should be monitored for security threats, such as malware attacks and data breaches.
- Have a plan for responding to security incidents: In the event of a security incident, it’s important to have a plan for responding to it. This plan should include steps for containing, investigating and recovering from the incident.
By following these tips, developers can help to create AI systems that are more secure and resistant to attack.
What are your views on AI? Are you using it in your business? Planning to implement it anytime soon?