/jun 9, 2023

Application Security in the Era of AI-driven Attacks

By Brian Roche



In today’s digital landscape, the importance of application security cannot be overstated, as businesses worldwide face evolving cyber threats. Both defenders and attackers are now harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to their advantage. As AI-driven attacks become increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial for organizations to adopt a comprehensive approach to application security that effectively addresses this emerging threat landscape. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of adopting a robust application security strategy in the face of AI-driven attacks and provide concrete examples to support our claims.


The Evolving Threat Landscape: AI-powered Attacks


AI has transformed numerous industries, unfortunately including cybercrime. Hackers are leveraging AI to develop advanced and automated attacks that can bypass traditional security measures. Let’s delve into some concrete examples of AI-powered attacks:


1. AI-powered Malware: Cybercriminals are employing AI algorithms to create sophisticated malware that adapts and evolves in response to changing security defenses. These intelligent malware strains can bypass traditional signature-based detection systems, making them highly challenging to identify and mitigate effectively. For instance, IBM’s DeepLocker is a type of AI-powered malware that conceals malicious code within seemingly benign applications, rendering it difficult to detect using conventional antivirus software.

2. Social Engineering Attacks: AI-powered social engineering attacks are on the rise, with chatbots and voice assistants imitating human interactions to deceive users. By analyzing vast amounts of data, attackers can craft highly personalized and convincing messages, significantly increasing the success rate of phishing attempts and social engineering scams. For example, AI chatbots can analyze a user’s profile and previous conversations to craft tailored messages, making them more likely to trick unsuspecting users.

3. Automated Vulnerability Exploitation: AI empowers hackers to automate vulnerability scanning and exploit discovery processes. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, attackers can identify and exploit application vulnerabilities at an unprecedented speed and scale, amplifying the potential impact of their attacks. One prominent example is the development of AI-driven vulnerability scanners like OpenAI’s “AI2,” which can autonomously analyze code and rapidly discover vulnerabilities, outpacing human researchers.

4. Adversarial AI: Adversarial AI involves using machine learning techniques to deceive or manipulate AI systems. Attackers can craft malicious inputs that exploit vulnerabilities in AI models, resulting in incorrect predictions or actions. This can have severe consequences in various domains, including fraud detection, image recognition, or natural language processing. For instance, researchers have demonstrated adversarial attacks on image recognition systems by introducing imperceptible noise to an image, causing the AI system to misclassify objects like a stop sign as a speed limit sign.


Addressing AI-driven Attacks with a Comprehensive Approach


To effectively counter AI-driven attacks, organizations must augment their application security practices with strategies specifically designed to mitigate these emerging threats. Let’s explore some key components of a comprehensive approach:


1. AI-Enhanced Security Measures: Embracing AI and machine learning techniques to bolster security defenses enables intelligent systems to analyze vast amounts of data, detect anomalies, and identify patterns indicative of AI-driven attacks. By leveraging AI-powered security solutions, organizations can stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape. A key advantage in any Application Security Testing program is Veracode Fix which produces security fix recommendations for common vulnerabilities.  

2. AI-based Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Implementing IDS that utilize machine learning algorithms can detect and respond to AI-generated attacks. These systems learn normal network behavior and identify suspicious activities, enabling rapid incident response and mitigating potential damage.

3. Threat Intelligence Sharing: Collaborating with industry peers, security researchers, and government agencies to share threat intelligence related to AI-driven attacks allows organizations to leverage shared knowledge and stay updated on emerging attack techniques and vulnerabilities.

4. Ethical AI Development and Testing: Encouraging responsible AI development practices that prioritize security and ethical considerations minimizes the risk of unintended vulnerabilities and misuse of AI technology. By incorporating security measures into the development lifecycle of AI systems, organizations can minimize the risk of unintended vulnerabilities and the misuse of AI technology.


5. Continuous Education and Training: Staying informed about the latest AI-driven attack techniques and investing in regular training programs for employees is crucial. By raising awareness about AI-related security risks, organizations can empower their staff to identify and effectively respond to potential threats.




In the ever-evolving landscape of application security, the rise of AI-driven attacks presents significant challenges. It is imperative for organizations to adopt a comprehensive approach that not only addresses traditional security concerns but also takes into account the emerging threats posed by AI. By implementing AI-enhanced security measures, leveraging AI-based intrusion detection systems, sharing threat intelligence, promoting ethical AI development practices, and investing in continuous education and training, organizations can fortify their application security defenses against AI-driven attacks.


Remember, understanding the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with AI-driven attacks is the first step towards building robust security measures that can effectively protect applications and data in today's AI-driven world.

If you’d like to learn more about Veracode Fix and how it can help your Application Security Testing program please reach out. 

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Application Security in the Era of AI-driven Attacks

By Brian Roche

Brian Roche is the Chief Executive Officer of Veracode and a recognized expert in Application Security Engineering, Cloud Native Technologies, Cloud Operations and AI. An award-winning cybersecurity leader and a pioneer of the early DevOps movement, Brian is also a passionate public speaker on AI, Application Security, DevOps, and digital transformation. With over 25 years of leadership, he has a proven track record of helping global enterprises transform their people, technology, and strategic advantage to compete and succeed in the digital economy.