AI app use is surging - and that could be a major security issue

A person at a laptop with a cybersecure lock symbol floating above it.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / laymanzoom)

Netskope has revealed new research claiming more than one in 10 enterprise employees now access at least one generative AI application every month, compared with one in 50 the year previously.

The surge in generative AI app usage is put down to the immeasurable success of apps like ChatGPT, to the point that Netskope described 2023 as the year of generative AI. In fact, ChatGPT was found to be the most popular generative AI app.

As the technology continues to grow exponentially, Netskope anticipates a surge in power users in 2024, with the top 25% of users expected to significantly increase their adoption of GenAI.

With generative AI come security concerns

Beyond the limitations of artificial intelligence, enterprises were found to be accessing on average 20 different cloud apps, up from 14 over a period of around two years.

Half interacted with between 11 and 33 cloud apps monthly, and the top 1% were found to be using more than 96 different cloud apps. This growth in cloud interactions raises concerns about potential security vulnerabilities. 

In recognition of our increasing online presence, Netskope shared a key insight of 2023: social engineering was found to be the most common way for attackers to gain initial access.

Users were three times more likely to fall for phishing scams than they were to download trojans. Moreover, cybercriminals targeted a range of sectors, with cloud apps and shopping sites being among the top targets, demonstrating the need for heightened online security measures.

Criminally motivated activities dominated attacks in 2023, with Russian groups leading the way. Chinese threat actors contributed the most to geopolitical attacks, with Asian countries, particularly Singapore, being the most targeted.

Ray Canzanese, Threat Research Director for Netskope, emphasized the need for organizations to prioritize safe AI app development and to limit app access to legitimate business purposes online, while investing in reducing social engineering risks through security awareness.

Canzanese added: “This trend is likely to continue in 2024.”

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!