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The Threat of Generative AI

generative AI threats from hackers

Few Companies Are Protecting Against Generative AI Threats


Cyberleaf recently posted on ways to look out for Deep Fakes. In line with this same topic,  the Splunk survey released last month highlights the industry-wide lack of knowledge and protection against Generative AI threats.  

What is it exactly? “Generative AI can be thought of as a machine-learning model that is trained to create new data, rather than (predicting) a specific dataset. A generative AI system (learns) to generate more objects that look like the data it was trained on.” (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Most cybersecurity companies have deployed Generative AI, yet most of these same companies using the technology have no safeguards in place to defend against it. According to the Splunk survey, two-thirds (65%) of responders do not understand the hazards. This lack of attention to the issue gives AI threat actors a big advantage over the cybersecurity industry. While AI can be used to create opportunities for innovation and efficiency, that efficiency can also be used maliciously.

Here are some key methods of Generative AI that can be used in a cybersecurity attack:

Malware Creation and Evasion: AI can be used to create malware that constantly changes its code to evade detection by traditional antivirus software. These changes can be subtle yet sufficient to avoid signature-based detection systems.

Automated Vulnerability Discovery: Generative AI can be programmed to scan and identify vulnerabilities in software and networks faster and more efficiently than human hackers. This allows cybercriminals to exploit these vulnerabilities before patches are applied.

Manipulating AI Defenses: Cybercriminals can use Generative AI to create adversarial examples that fool AI-based security systems, such as image recognition and anomaly detection systems, leading them to misclassify malicious activity as benign.

“AI is a powerful tool, but human decision-making related to Gen AI is critical when defending against threats,” said Splunk SURGe security strategist, Audra Streetman during an interview with Cybersecurity Dive. Human decision-making may sound simple, but it is a complex process influenced by a variety of factors, including intuition, experience, emotions, and personal biases.

The integration of Generative AI into cybercriminal activities represents a significant challenge for cybersecurity professionals. It necessitates the development of more advanced and adaptive security measures, including AI-based defenses that can counteract these sophisticated threats, such as:  

Anomaly Detection: Implementing machine learning (ML) models to identify unusual patterns in network traffic, user behavior, and system activities that might indicate generative AI-driven attacks.

Behavioral Analysis: Using AI to establish baseline behavior profiles for users and systems, allowing for the detection of deviations that could signify malicious activity.

In addition to 15 years in networking/security and over 20 certifications, making Cyberleaf uniquely qualified in cybersecurity, “we are a proud partner of Splunk, which uses AI and ML to combat and identify Generative AI threats,” said Cyberleaf VP of Cybersecurity.

Read more statistics and information relating to Generative AI from Cybersecurity Dive here.

Access the Splunk survey, State of Security 2024 Report Reveals Growing Impact of Generative AI on Cybersecurity Landscape here.

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Jonathan Meyn

Director of Channel Sales

Jonathan is responsible for the Channel Strategy at Cyberleaf. He has over 10 years of experience in various technology solutions sales leadership roles. He has driven cybersecurity strategy and growth within the nation’s leading managed service providers.

Jonathan has a Communications Degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Brant Feldman


Brant served in Naval Special Warfare for 11 years.  He separated as a Lieutenant Commander having served at SEAL Team TWO, SEAL Team FOUR, and SEAL Team SIX.  Following his Naval service, Brant joined ADS in 2008 and was ultimately promoted to Chief Sales Officer, where he directed all sales, supplier, and marketing efforts.  His team was comprised of over 200 sales professionals who drove $3.2B in annual sales.  In 2022, Brant left ADS to pursue opportunities in Private Equity.

Brant has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law, an Executive MBA from the Darden School of Business and degrees in Economics and Government from the University of Virginia.

Will Sendall


Will served as Chief Financial Officer to various private equity and VC backed high growth technology companies where he managed the financial and operational functions.  Will has also successfully executed multiple debt and equity fundraising processes and led both buy and sell sides of M&A processes.

Will has a MBA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and a degree in Accounting from Appalachian State University. 

Marshall Howard

Executive Vice President

Marshall is responsible for engineering and project management for Waterleaf. He has over 20 years executive experience across startup operations and Fortune 500 companies in multiple areas including Operations, Engineering, and Technology Implementation, Business Planning/Budgeting, Finance/M&A, Revenue Assurance, and Regulatory Affairs.

Previously Marshall served as a Vice President at T3 Communications, Inc., a Fort Myers, FL based CLEC and managed services provider. Prior to joining T3, Marshall served as VP of Network Technology and Business Development at Cleartel Communications (now part of Birch Communications) where he played a major role in the acquisition and integration of three other CLECs.

Marshall earned a BS in Physics from Rhodes College, a MSEE from Vanderbilt University, an MBA from Southern Methodist University and completed post-graduate work in Finance and Economics at Vanderbilt University. In addition, he has earned a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

David Levitan


David has over 30 years of experience as a telecommunications industry executive, leading technology and services organizations that have designed, built, and maintained fiber and wireless infrastructure across the US and internationally. He has extensive development, product marketing and general management experience operating independent, sponsor-backed, and publicly traded companies.

David’s previous experience includes executive leadership roles in start-up and publicly traded companies. As President of C-COR Network Services, he drove over 30% sales growth through a team of 400 employees delivering network infrastructure services for broadband operators, while also serving as an officer of parent company C-COR, Inc. At Scientific-Atlanta, Inc David held a progression of leadership and executive positions as the broadband division grew from ~$100 million to over $1.5 billion in annual sales. During his tenure he held product management, strategic planning, and general management roles, including overseeing the rapid growth of the company’s largest business unit, and establishing and scaling a unit delivering domestic and international professional services. As Vice President of CableMatrix, David also helped raise $5 million in series A venture funding for a policy management software startup.

David completed his undergraduate work at Cornell University with a BA in Economics and holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. 

Adam Sewall


Adam has been a successful senior executive and entrepreneur in the telecomm industry for more than 20 years. Adam has demonstrated success in complex technology deployments, as well as strategic planning, corporate development M&A, business development, operations, and general management. This experience also includes several significant liquidity events for shareholders.

Adam has had significant experience in the design, deployment, and operation of fiber, cellular, point-to-point and other communications networks in the US, Asia and SE Asia. Included in these deployments are AMPS, GSM, CDMA/TDMA, spread spectrum, Wi-Max/Wi-Fi and various Metro and long-haul fiber networks.

Prior to Waterleaf Adam was the President and CEO of T3 Communications Inc. www.t3com.net a next generation CLEC based in Florida. He has also held executive management positions in operations, strategic planning and corporate development at T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Adam’s technical background includes work in RF engineering, SDR, mobile s/w development, hardware engineering and telecommunications architecture. His project management and operations background include certifications in project management, GSM/PCS, numerous telecom standards and the successful integration of complex infrastructure as well as global deployments of software and communications networks.

He holds a BS Degree from SUNY and has completed graduate studies in engineering, finance, mathematics and economics at Stevens Institute, Columbia and Pace Universities.