Cyber security and AI, should they mix? Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gotten a bad reputation in the cyber security world as it gives cyber criminals the opportunity to be smarter, faster, and sneakier. But, what if we made friends with the enemy and used it to help our security awareness programs?

Adding artificial intelligence into your security awareness program can seem scary, as it’s likely one of the things you warn your employees about, but it can also be a great way to strengthen your program. So which is it: Keep AI at a distance or embrace it? In today’s blog, we will go through the pros and cons of adding machine learning to your program. 

The disadvantages

The unknown

Starting with the bad stuff, what we don’t know. The unknown is a huge reason why most companies are against early adoption. We don’t know much about AI, so we are scared of what could happen when we use it or what could happen in the future.

Plus, the full extent of AI’s capabilities and its privacy settings haven’t proved to be transparent. We’ve seen news headlines of AI companies being banned due to privacy concerns. 

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The way AI stores data is a huge concern. As security managers, it makes sense that we are hesitant to add something like this into our organization. As AI continues to evolve, a cautious approach is crucial to navigate uncharted territories and mitigate potential risks associated with the unknown aspects of AI in the realm of security awareness.

Employee exposure & hesitations

Some employees may be on board with the implementation of AI, while others may not. It’s important to remember that if you do allow the use of ChatGPT in your security awareness program, other employees will take it as a green light for them to use it themselves (if they aren’t already). The use of ChatGPT at a business level is extremely risky. You will want to remind all employees to never put any confidential business information into the application, even if it is just for editing. 

The other employees who haven’t immediately jumped on the ChatGPT train may be apprehensive about using any AI at all. They may find it unnerving that there is a bot available in your training modules or that something is watching and evaluating their training as they complete it. Rolling out these new updates may be difficult due to the negative connotations around artificial intelligence. 

Limits human interaction

The last potential downside of relying on AI in security awareness programs is the reduction of human interaction. Overemphasis on automated systems may lead to a lack of personal connection. 

Human connection and interaction are key to creating your security culture, which is the backbone of your program. Without these bonds, your team members will be less likely to trust you, go to you for questions, and report suspicious activity to you. If you do implement AI, ensure that you are still taking the time to interact with your teams to continue to strengthen your security culture. 

The advantages

Endless resources for vocabulary and scenario design

One of the key advantages of incorporating AI into security awareness programs is its ability to tap into an extensive repository of cyber security vocabulary and situations. AI systems can continuously update and adapt content to address the latest threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring that employees stay informed about the rapidly changing cyber security landscape.

Rather than depending on human brains to think of different scenarios an employee can land in or every term an employee should know, you can double-check in with an application like Chat GPT. 

When you are designing your content and run into security awareness writer’s-block simply asking Chat GPT to, “Create 10 cyber security situations a marketing intern may run into on the job” relieves a lot of pressure and time spent brainstorming from the security awareness manager.

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Doubles as a cyber security jargon translator 

AI excels at translating complex technical jargon into user-friendly terms. This ability is invaluable in a security awareness context, where clear communication is essential. Sometimes as managers deep in the cyber security world, it’s difficult to remember what terms need to be simplified or explained. 

Simply put your security jargon message into AI and ask it to simplify or put them into normal terms. By demystifying intricate concepts, AI helps bridge the gap between cyber security professionals and employees, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of potential risks and preventive measures.

Personalized training & real-time feedback

If you go further than just ChatGPT, AI’s capacity to analyze individual learning patterns enables the delivery of personalized training modules. This tailoring ensures that employees receive content relevant to their specific needs and weaknesses. Imagine a program that can track which situations or questions one specific employee is struggling with and then build their next modules around their weaknesses. 

Additionally, artificial intelligence could allow for real-time feedback or answers. Imagine a chat box, like ChatGPT, built into your security awareness modules that employees can ask any security questions to and immediately get an educated answer. 

Although we haven’t seen any of these scenarios yet, if we start embracing machine learning now it is a greater probability for the future! 

Less workload for the security team

One of the biggest impacts AI can have on your security awareness program is the impact it has on you and your team. A lot of the brainstorming, communications, editing, writing, and content creation can now be covered by AI. By implementing it into your program, you can alleviate the pressures of these tasks and allow your team to focus on what matters. 

The final decision

The decision to incorporate AI into security awareness programs should be a thoughtful and strategic one – not one made by us! Each organization must weigh the benefits of enhanced training, real-time feedback, and reduced workload against the potential risks associated with the misuse of AI by malicious actors and concerns about privacy. Then, make their own decision on what is best for their organization and will sit well with their employees. Our advice: start with a little and see what happens! 

In the dynamic landscape of cyber security, the role of AI in security awareness programs remains a subject of ongoing debate. While the technology offers exciting opportunities for improved training and responsiveness, organizations must navigate the associated challenges carefully. The key lies in finding a balance that maximizes the benefits of AI while mitigating potential risks. As AI continues to evolve, its integration into security awareness programs will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of cyber security education.


Scott Wright is CEO of Click Armor, the gamified simulation platform that helps businesses avoid breaches by engaging employees to improve their proficiency in making decisions for cyber security risk and corporate compliance. He has over 20 years of cyber security coaching experience and was creator of the Honey Stick Project for Smartphones as a demonstration in measuring human vulnerabilities.