Scenario 2: Internet Outages and Hacking Attacks

Timeframe 2018 – 2021:
Temporary Outages of the Internet
Increasing Hacking compromising large data quantities

 Situation:  Internet outages and/or frequent hacking attacks
– Internet outages interrupt business operations, communications and life in general – similar to widespread power outages, natural disasters, etc.
– Increasingly frequent data theft of large quantities of data
– Possibly in connection with ransom demands or political conflicts
– Email, video, phone, television, social media interrupted
– Possible government or terror linkages, i.e. even military agendas

– Safety issues may appear (emergency services, navigation, military)
– See background below for more information

Potential Effects:  Rising Public Concern and potential Backlash
– Public clamor for risk reduction
– Possible push-back against Gov. & Industry for failing to protect
– Possible demand for regulation of internet, i.e. tech restrictions
– Possible demand for second-tier “secure” internet
– Possible calls for regulation of AI technology itself
– Possible rise in populism and social unrest
– Possible blaming of foreign powers, i.e. calls for Counterattacks or even Cyberwars

“Deep Learning techniques and tools are easily available now on open source platforms—this combined with the relatively cheap computational infrastructure effectively enables cyberattacks with higher sophistication.  Also the availability of large amounts of social network and public data sets (Big Data residing on the internet) increases the risks.”
— Deepak Dutt, founder of Zighra mobile security, Gizmodo 9/11/17

– No interfaces are needed – AI already resides on the web.  The internet is an open system and the perfect network for Artificial Intelligence to farm data, interact worldwide and potentially launch denial of service attacks or sophisticated hacking attacks.

– Widespread suspicion among experts that AI-supported hacking was behind the recent Equifax hacking attack. 

– Countermeasures essentially involve using AI to simulate attacks, and AI to simulate defenses, leading to an AI arms race

– Possible AI involvement in Russian-sponsored effort to influence US election campaign 2016

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