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Nearly as many cybersecurity professionals are concerned about the security risks of artificial intelligence (AI) as are convinced that the technology will bolster their cyber defences.

That’s one of the findings of a new report from real-time information specialist, Neustar. The International Cyber Benchmarks Index is published by the Neustar International Security Council (NISC), a group of cybersecurity leaders across industries in the US and EMEA.

According to NISC’s research, 87 percent of security professionals recognise AI’s potential to enhance cybersecurity and bolster their organisation’s defences.

However, 82 percent said they are concerned about the possibility of attackers using the technology against them, with stolen data (50 percent), loss of customer trust (19 percent), unstable business performance (16 percent), and cost implications being the most feared outcomes.

As a result, nearly 60 percent of security leaders are apprehensive about adopting AI within their organisations.

Echoing Deloitte

The findings echo recent research from a better-known organisation, professional services giant Deloitte.

In Deloitte’s survey of 1,100 business leaders with early-stage AI projects, nearly one-third (32 percent) said they have experienced an AI-related data breach in the last two years.

As many as 20 percent of respondents said that they had shelved their AI plans as a result, while twice as many expressed concerns about the legal and regulatory risks of the technology.

“Artificial intelligence has been a major topic of discussion in recent times – with good reason,” said Rodney Joffe, head of NISC and a Neustar senior VP and fellow. “There is immense opportunity available, but as we’ve seen today with this data, we’re at a crossroads.

“Organisations know the benefits, but they are also aware that today’s attackers have unique capabilities to cause destruction with that same technology. As a result, they’ve come to a point where they’re unsure if AI is a friend or foe.”

Internet of Business says

Other key findings from the survey include: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are seen as the biggest threat to organisations, followed by social engineering and phishing, with organised crime and malicious individuals or organisations behind many incidents.

Forty-six percent of organisations were on the receiving end of a DDoS attack in Q3 this year, says NISC, a higher proportion than in previous reporting periods.