- Notes on methodology
- AI adoption
- How are people using AI
- AI cybersecurity concerns
- Personal security concerns
- Best cybersecurity advice
Mainstream adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is happening remarkably fast. At the same time, cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities also feel like they are on the rise, with new kinds of security issues emerging all the time.
In order to better get a sense of how people are thinking about AI and personal cybersecurity, and how everyday security behaviors are changing, Cybersecurity Guide launched a study to get the reactions from everyday internet users.
- AI adoption: About half of respondents said they use artificial intelligence for a variety of uses ranging from school to work. The largest segment of AI-adopters say they use it for “creative uses.”
- Concerns about AI and cybersecurity: 44% of respondents said they are concerned about the use of AI in relation to security threats.
- Worry about voice scams: Of the potential AI risk, 44% said they have concerns about the use of AI in deepfake voice scam fraud.
The 2024 AI and Cybersecurity Trends Report revealed that people are becoming increasingly more proactive about their personal cybersecurity. Collectively, the responses to the study showed a level of situational awareness when using consumer sites and when interacting on the internet.
There is also a sense that the introduction of AI might make detecting fraud and scams on the internet more challenging, and that cybersecurity will become more complex.
Check out the companion report, the 2023 Holiday Hacks Study:
Notes on the study’s methodology
The data for this study was aggregated from 96 qualified responses. The study was published on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform and consisted of questions related to AI and cybersecurity.
The data collection period ran from October 26, 2023, to November 13, 2023. The responses were gathered as part of a lTo be eligible to participate in the study, respondents needed to be internet users based in the United States and over the age of 18.
The participants in the 2024 Cybersecurity Guide AI and Cybersecurity Trends Report study are geographically dispersed throughout the United States.
For demographic context, the average age of the study participants was 44. The study participants were a near fifty/fifty mix of men and women. In terms of reported jobs, the largest groups were in management, professional roles, sales, and service industries.
AI and Cybersecurity Trends Report Findings
Generative AI experienced rapid adoption in 2023
It’s likely that 2023 will go down as the year that AI showed up…everywhere. From writing work emails to finding cheap airline tickets, it felt like there were generative AI services and applications popping up on all corners of the internet.
Interestingly, while it feels like AI is taking over, widespread adoption wasn’t really supported by our respondent’s data. In fact, only 11 percent of people in the study say they use AI more now than they did previously.
How are people using AI?
While AI is often portrayed as a job killer or a human-replacement, respondents to our survey reported using generative AI for creative projects as their primary use case. This answer was second only to “I don’t use AI at all,” and before “I use it for work.”
DATA POINT: When asked, “How do you use AI?” This is what the study respondents said:
- 16% use it for work
- 28% use it for creative uses
I use AI to…
Respondents reported all kinds of interesting reasons for using AI. Some people use it for work purposes, like completing SQL queries, brainstorming, or to write emails.
Other people use AI to have conversations or to come up with vacation or dinner ideas. Still other people are using it to create humorous images.
What’s clear from the answers is that there is no “one size fits all,” or only one kind of AI use case. Maybe this points to one of the most interesting facets of the technology is that it is customizable and has a number of utilities.
In their own words: This is how respondents answered the question, how do you use AI?
- “I didn’t really use it at all in 2022, but now I use it for tech help at work (rewriting SQL, help with email wording, and help with website coding).”
- “I will use AI in my job to help develop an outline of my projects and then go more in depth from there. I do use chatbots to help get shopping recommendations.”
Are people concerned about AI and cybersecurity?
Yes and no.
When respondents were asked if they had concerns about AI and cybersecurity, the responses indicated a split decision.
DATA POINT: When asked “Do you have any concerns about AI contributing to cybersecurity issues?”
- 44% said yes
Where things got interesting is in the explanation section of this answer. Here are some sample responses:
- “I feel like AI will help scammers use more proper English. Right now, you can sometimes see scams right away due to poor English. But AI may help them to tweak their writing. It could also help to create more believable images for websites.”
- “AI may be able to generate convincing audio and visuals of people you know in order to scam you.”
- “I don’t think it would be hard to train an AI to do all the illegal or time consuming aspects of a good hacking or scam operation.”
- “I feel that with AI it’s nearly impossible to tell about photos and videos. Deep fakes will become harder and harder to spot.”
- “I think AI makes determining what’s legitimate very hard already and it’s only going to get harder. Some of the AI can already impersonate people visually and vocally and that’s only going to improve over time.”
How do you think AI will impact the future of personal cybersecurity?
While AI might not feel like the runaway tech that’s portrayed in the media, the study’s respondents did have concerns about how scammers and fraudsters might use AI in new and innovative ways.
DATA POINT: When asked about what kinds of AI-related cybersecurity concerns they had, this is how the respondents answered:
- 44% are concerned about AI voice scams
- 25% are concerned about AI payment scams
- 18% are concerned about the use of AI in identity theft
In their own words…
Looking ahead, these are some of the cybersecurity concerns shared by the survey’s respondents:
- “AI may be able to create scams tailored to specific individuals that are very convincing.”
- “I am always on the lookout for phishing, and tread lightly when something just doesn’t feel right.”
- “I feel like AI is going to make determining scams harder and harder. I think phishing is also getting significantly more sophisticated over time.”
- “I’m mostly concerned with identity theft if the systems of large corporations are hacked because there isn’t much I can do to prevent that.”
- “My personal identity being stolen and losing money and having my credit rating affected.”
Best cybersecurity advice
From double checking URLs and being suspicious of sketchy-looking websites to using unique passwords, people are aware and vigilant about cybersecurity threats.
Some practical cybersecurity advice that respondents have learned and implement include
- “The most practical cybersecurity advice I received is not to click on links in emails. I follow this advice daily.”
- “Two-factor authentication is easy to use and adds an extra layer of protection. Yes, I use it.”
- “If you have any doubt, don’t click on it and report it immediately. I do this all the time.”
- “Freeze all of your credit accounts. This makes it harder for scammers to open accounts in your name or social.”
- “Not to click on any links in an email or text. I never do this, even if it seems legitimate. I always go to the website myself rather than clicking a link.”
- “Use complex passwords; I use a password manager.”
Recap: Concerns about the role of AI and cybersecurity
As AI plays a more prominent role in everything from interactions on the internet to the way that people work, respondents to our AI and Cybersecurity study expressed growing concerns over the role of artificial intelligence in a new wave of scams.
Particularly concerning to the study’s respondents was the use of AI in deep fake and impersonation-style activities.
Among the study’s positive findings is that the general public is developing an increasing sense of situational awareness when it comes to cybersecurity issues.