Training sessions on how to spot phishing attacks help employees recognize common red flags and keep the threat fresh in everyone’s mind. But are these efforts sufficient? New technologies are opening up possibilities for businesses. Unfortunately, criminals are also leveraging these innovations. Technology allows fraudsters to launch more complex AI-generated phishing attacks and considerably widen their scope.

So, it’s increasingly difficult for humans to spot phishing emails, even with regular training. But there is an increase in scale too, not just in sophistication. In fact, Google reported that the number of phishing sites went up by 350% between January and March 2020.

Also, as a real-world example, a Pennsylvania real estate firm lost half a million dollars in 2017 after an attacker hacked into an executive’s email. The hacker created a spoofed account and used what they had learned from the valid email to request a transfer.

This story illustrates the kind of elaborate schemes criminals are using. With this combination of scale and sophistication, it’s time to adapt to the changing threat and implement a new solution to AI-generated phishing attacks.

How is phishing changing?

A phishing email typically asks the recipient to perform an action. That may be following a link to a spoofed page or opening a bad file. The purpose might be to infect a machine with malware or capture the recipient’s credentials.

The nature of these schemes isn’t changing. Instead, criminals are just using new technologies to develop more complex scams and increase their outreach.


High-powered computing capabilities are more accessible than ever. More people have access to technologies like AI, which allows criminals to automate the creation of spoofed pages and make them look more convincing.

AI supports schemes with a larger scope too. Scammers can send mass AI-generated phishing emails to target a wider range of users. Essentially, AI has made phishing more effective, scalable and, therefore, profitable.

We’re also seeing new methods like deep fakes or voice cloning. Criminals can use AI to impersonate the voice of an executive and use a voicemail or even a phone call to make their scheme more realistic.


Spear-phishing is another worrisome trend. This technique targets a specific victim by using personal information to create a more customized scheme.

There are many ways to obtain personal and behavioral information that fraudsters can use to target a victim with more accuracy. For example, criminals can purchase Social Security numbers for as little as $4 on the dark web. They can also gain access to someone’s social media account for around $13.

Why rules-based systems are obsolete

Static rules-based software is a good line of defense against schemes that follow patterns. However, fraud is evolving, and AI-generated phishing allows criminals to divert from the same old patterns.

In 2019, business email compromise (BEC) represented $1.77 billion in losses. These high levels of fraud mean that rules-based systems can’t account for every possible scenario. It also means that some of the problems they do catch are false.

As businesses rely more on emails, the number of false positives increases. It’s easy for your fraud prevention team to get overwhelmed and spend valuable time and resources on reviewing false positives and potentially missing a real threat.

Make AI work for you

The sophistication and scope of today’s scams call for a new solution. Luckily, AI and machine learning can adapt, learn and protect you from BEC.

Advanced AI fraud detection and prevention software reduces false positives since it learns after each manual review. Thus, your team can focus on other tasks rather than sifting through a backlog of false positives.

The adaptive nature of AI means that criminals can’t figure out which red flags you’re watching for and reverse-engineer your system. It’s a more complete approach to fraud prevention since AI can look at a wide range of data points to spot inconsistencies, a key element for detecting advanced schemes and spearphishing attempts.

Protect yourself from AI-generated phishing with

AI allows criminals to launch more sophisticated schemes and increase the scope of their phishing attacks. Plus, BEC is a threat that will continue to become more prevalent. These threats have potentially devastating consequences for organizations that don’t seek new methods of protection. puts the capabilities of AI and machine learning on your side with tools like Email Shield. Email Shield is a free solution that protects you from phishing emails with:

  • AI and machine learning. These technologies make Email Shield adaptive. Criminals can’t reverse-engineer this system, and Email Shield learns as threats evolve.
  • Customized rules. Email Shield adapts to the unique needs of your organization with a set of customizable rules.
  • Risk scoring. Recipients can see risk scores in real time to easily identify suspicious emails.
  • Global anti-fraud network. uses data from a global consortium to flag corrupt entities that other organizations have encountered.

Update your line of defense against AI-generated phishing today. You can download Email Shield for free or sign up for a free demo to learn more about our other products.