Mitigating cyber risk in the era of GenAI

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  • Insight
  • 2 minute read
  • February 13, 2024

As the momentum of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) surges, a range of experts have voiced concerns over the potentially significant, unintended consequences that could emerge. Irish CEOs are concerned too, with 76% expecting GenAI to lead to increased cybersecurity risk in the next 12 months.

Ciarán Kelly

Ciarán Kelly

Risk & Regulation Leader, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

76% of Irish CEOs expect GenAI to lead to increased cybersecurity risk in the next 12 months.

Source: PwC's 27th Annual Global CEO Survey

As the use of GenAI continues to grow, CEOs and the C-suite are becoming increasingly concerned about its potential impact on cybersecurity. Although AI provides exceptional opportunities for business innovation, it also poses unique challenges, particularly in digital security and the dynamic nature of cyber threats.

GenAI can create sophisticated phishing attacks, produce convincing communications and even fabricate audiovisual content. This means new AI-driven security measures are needed to counter such advanced risks.

The ethical and governance aspects of broader AI usage are equally pressing. CEOs must develop policies for the ethical use of AI, balancing innovation with operational resilience, cybersecurity and bias prevention strategies. 

Taking proactive steps in this regard will help organisations achieve compliance in an increasingly regulated environment. The EU AI Act, for example, stresses the importance of human oversight in developing and operating AI systems. This highlights the need for continuous training and development for the skilled cybersecurity professionals who will manage and oversee AI systems. The Cyber Resilience Act, expected to come into force in 2024, and the NIS2 framework will introduce mandatory cybersecurity requirements for manufacturers and retailers of digital products.

CEOs must keep these new regulations in mind as they incorporate AI into their business models and work to mitigate the associated risks. A single AI-facilitated breach could significantly damage a company’s operations and reputation, emphasising the importance of robust crisis management strategies and the C-suite’s role in maintaining a resilient brand image.

Interestingly, GenAI also offers opportunities to enhance cybersecurity. Forward-thinking companies are already investing in AI-driven tools for better threat detection and response, thus using AI to stay ahead of threat actors. 

In this rapidly changing environment, adaptive leadership is crucial. CEOs must prepare for unforeseen risks, foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness, and integrate AI risks into their strategic planning. As we navigate this new era, a blend of innovation, ethical responsibility, and strategic foresight will be critical for the C-suite in harnessing the power of GenAI while safeguarding their organisations’ digital frontiers.


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Ciarán Kelly

Ciarán Kelly

Risk & Regulation Leader, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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