CyberArk report suggests concerns over digital identity is rising

June 4, 2024



CyberArk has released research showing that employee concern about the integrity of their digital identities is on the rise.

The vast majority (81%) of UK workers are anxious about their visual likeness being stolen or used to conduct cyberattacks, with nearly half (46%) apprehensive about their likeness being used in deepfakes – a greater proportion than those worried that artificial intelligence (AI) will replace them in their roles (37%).

After a tidal wave of AI stories dominated column inches in 2023, CyberArk commissioned a survey of 2,000 workers across the UK to gather insights and understanding about how AI-powered attacks on digital identities are affecting UK employees. 

Workers Are Nervous About New and Highly Targeted Digital Scams

The security implications around the rapid development of novel AI tools saw warnings from the GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre in January that the technology will lead to an increase in cyberattacks, with AI giving less-skilled bad actors the ability to conduct advanced cyberattacks and perpetrate digital harm.

CyberArk’s research shows that 78% of British workers are concerned about cybercriminals using AI to steal confidential information through digital scams, while women are more worried than men (81% vs. 74%).

  • The top three cyber scams causing anxiety:
    • Payment fraud (59%).
    • Sensitive data being collected and wrongly used (57%) .
    • Cyberattackers being able to figure out workplace login details to access confidential information (47%) .
  • 43% of respondents are worried that AI could be used to create deepfakes; 38% of men compared to 46% of women.
  • Women are also more fearful about AI being used to impersonate them than men (50% vs. 40%).
  • 59% of women are concerned about AI being used to steal their personal information compared to 50% of men. Concern consistently rises with the age groups, reaching 61% of all 55 year olds and over.

Deepfakes and Misinformation in the Workplace

Over a third of UK office workers (34%) think that that they couldn’t spot if a very convincing phone call or email from their boss is actually fake – and only 30% are confident that their IT teams and security tools are prepared to defend against this type of deceit.

Similarly, nearly two-thirds of workers (63%) are not confident that their organisation is able to stop AI-driven email and phishing attacks.

  • Over a third (35%) of British office workers are not confident that they would recognise a fake audio recording featuring their CFO/Finance Director giving false financial forecasts.
  • 31% of British office workers did not think that they would recognise if a video of their HR Director requesting updates to payroll information was a deepfake.
  • Brits are most sure that they could spot a fake video recording showing their CEO exchanging cash with criminals (70%).

“The rise and continued uptick in quality of AI-generated “deepfakes” to realistically manipulate someone’s identity – be it video, audio, or image – is an extremely worrying trend, not only for celebrities and politicians but for UK PLC also,” said Rich Turner, president, EMEA at CyberArk.

“The components of our digital identities are as much a part of who we are as a physical fingerprint is. If aspects of our digital identity are stolen or faked, the consequences can reverberate in both our personal and professional lives.

“Deepfaked audio and other AI-powered attacks can not only sway public opinion, they can also be a way of compromising our employers’ sensitive data and assets.

“CISOs and other IT leaders must be prepared to address these identity security challenges in 2024.”

About the survey

In January 2024, CyberArk commissioned Opinium Matters to survey 2,000 workers across the UK to gather third-party insights into the UK workforce’s concerns around AI and their digital identity. Respondents were aged 16+ and sectors included Architecture, Engineering & Building, Arts & Culture, Education, Finance, Healthcare, HR, IT & Telecoms, Legal, Manufacturing & Utilities, Retail, Catering & Leisure, Sales, Media & Marketing and Travel & Transport.

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