AI-rreplaceable? Will AI replace Cyber Security jobs?

AI-rreplaceable? Will AI replace Cyber Security jobs?  Image 1

Since the global adoption of AI through GenAI, Midjourney and the like in the past couple of years, there has been a lot of discussion around the impact this will have long term. The concerns aren’t limited to the cyber security industry either, professionals across all industries have been (naturally) left wondering what effect this leap forward in technology will have on their jobs. 

For an industry that is also at the forefront of technology and constantly evolving, it’s definitely a valid question - so we’ve dived into how we think it will affect the cyber security industry and whether your job is safe. 

According to ISC2’s AI study, AI Cyber 2024 - “88% of cyber security professionals believe that AI will significantly impact their jobs, now or in the near future.” And that “35% of these professionals have already witnessed its effects.” So how is it being used?

The positive impact of AI

AI has the potential to help immensely with threat prevention, detection and mitigation. Through its machine learning capabilities and the ability to process vast amounts of data - patterns, inconsistencies and vulnerabilities can be identified and analysed much faster than by humans alone. By integrating AI into threat detection systems, organisations can reduce their incident response time. Human operators are still required to supervise, analyse, interpret the data and make decisions but this is an example of how AI can help us. By using it to sort through data and identify threats, human critical thinking skills and decision making can be better deployed to safeguard against attacks. 

AI can also be used for processing initial incident response tasks. Systems can be swiftly isolated and incidents prioritised, which assists cyber professionals to better troubleshoot and curb the potential impact. 

The not-so-positive impact of AI

Unfortunately with the good will also come the bad, and the malicious actors and cyber criminals are taking full advantage of the very same tools to launch sophisticated attacks. AI can be used to evade security measures and seek out vulnerabilities. Hackers are using AI technologies in particular Large Language Models (LLMs) to write malicious code as well as orchestrate phishing attacks with convincing emails. The tech is being used to also scan and target systems and create attack sequences that can learn and adapt tactics throughout an ongoing attack. 

So how will it affect jobs?

With cybercrime estimated to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion by 2025 (CyberCrime Magazine) it doesn’t look like cyber security jobs will be going anywhere soon. AI is not a replacement for human expertise but rather a tool that can be used to make our jobs easier. Roles are far less likely to be completely replaced and automated than they are to be augmented so that we humans can focus on oversight rather than the more mundane tasks. There will still be issues that require human-only consideration. Things like overreliance on automation, ethical and privacy concerns and misinterpretation of data without full context which can lead to false positives. All in all, there are pros and cons for AI and its impact on cybersecurity as an industry and the roles within it. The future of the industry it seems is dependent on a partnership between AI and human expertise where strengths can be combined for a better outcome. As we adopt AI more, it's clear that this will open up space for more creative thinking and strategic skill sets within cyber roles. And as to whether the jobs will dry up? The increased threats also increase demand for cyber security professionals to manage them, so your job sounds pretty safe to us. 

If you’d like any information about how to hire cyber security talent of all levels for your organisation, get in touch with the Decipher Bureau team. With offices across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra - and an experienced team around the world, we’d love to help you out.

Find out more about current employment and hiring trends within the Australian cyber security industry - Download the 2023/24 Salary Guide here