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It's the 2040s and the rebels have decided to hack into the evil 1984 big brother government's Identity system. So Since the process of using human hacker's would be way too tedious to combat the government's A.I security. The Rebel's have created an A.I that would do the job just that. Hack into the system and retrieve intel, if it makes a mistake, it would then improve itself and attempt to find holes in the firewall to hack the system again, but there's a catch. The government's A.I also has been upgraded to now learn its own mistakes if anything to tried to hack the I.D system.

My question is simple. once the rebels decide in an attempt to hack the system using the A.I. What would happen?

The most realistic approach might be the security A.I simply alerts the Data engineer to just shut off and turn the wifi back on and trace where the rebel hacked, but idk I don't have a high degree on this kind of science, but it seems to be an entertaining and ridiculous cat and mouse chase idea though.

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closed as too broad by MichaelK, L.Dutch, Ash, Green, sphennings Nov 1 '17 at 12:02

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ irresistible force paradox: ever looping! $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 1 '17 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close because this question essentially says "Here is the setup... two unbeatable enemies go against each other... now please write the scenario for me". No, we do not do that here. There are way too many "It depends" factors involved here that you have not specified. And since a "hacker attack" does not have a singular M.O. and sequence of events that always play out the same, this question is unanswerable. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Nov 1 '17 at 8:53
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A good hacker can get in and out without leaving a trace. You would have to assume the hacking AI would win because if it does it's job properly, the security AI would never know it was there and therefore have nothing to learn.

If it leaves a trace, the security AI would win every time because at worse it can simply turn off the network so nothing can get in the exact second it detects any intrusion.

The security AI is god inside it's system so any hacking AI needs to be able to hide from it to operate at all.

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I can't tell you who would win, but both sides have distinct advantages.

First the Security A.I. knows the playing field. It can see the entire system that the hacker A.I. is trying to break into. Even better, it can simulate ever learning hacker A.I.s attempting to break in. So it can cut off all paths before the hacker A.I. even enters the playing field. With the vastly greater resources of the evil government this should all be easy.

So how does the hacker A.I. stand a chance under these conditions. It sounds hopeless so why didn't I call it in favor of the security A.I.? The reason is that the security A.I. is not all powerful. The weakest link in the security chain is the humans in the system. The security A.I. might anticipate all exploits, but even in the modern day, many exploits are patched quickly, it is humans failing to update things that is exploitable. If there is any exploit in such a system it will be where humans interface with it and this is where a smart hacking A.I. will look.

Hopefully the evil government does not give the security A.I. to much power, it might decide the only way to eliminate all possible exploits is to eradicate humanity.

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The side with better social engineering and higher motivation will win.

The weakest link in any security system of any organisation is people. Hackers can gain access to the most secure networks and data through workers. They may use social engineering (phishing, blagging/pretexting, baiting, etc.) to gain information compromising security. Some of the biggest hacks in recent years used this approach.

The hackers might also use inside help to monitor the situation and maybe even halt security patching. It can be achieved either by infiltrating the government (basically, get a job there) or by recruiting employees. A dystopian totalitarian government would give plenty of opportunities for this since it will employ a lot of people. There is a very high probability of finding sympathisers for the Rebel's cause.

High motivation also helps. The Rebels might be willing to put their lives on hold in order to achieve their goal. But government security personnel normally would be more interested in having some life-work balance. Moreover, for the Rebels, the entire ordeal is a limited-time project. While for government personnel it is a day-to-day job. Hence, some fatigue and even slacking are to be expected. And they can be exploited by enthusiastic and experienced hackers.


The government AI cannot completely protect itself when it comes to people. Someone will have at least some access to it. And as long as there is access, 'human hardware' can be hacked.

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This is the plot of 'Neuromancer'. The security A.I. and the hacker A.I. were... wait, spoilers.

The discipline of information security is about reducing the threat surface area. Think about it like actual surface area: limit the number of ways the outside can reach the inside. Information security specialists also perform their own periodic penetration testing, trying to identify weaknesses. It is well-known that people are the most often abused weak point, and penetration testing includes people. Additionally, information security includes imagining that someone does break in and mitigating how much damage can be done by an intruder: this includes encrypting data in transit, encrypting data on the raw disk, encrypting specific files (like layers of armor), multiple accounts with limited (the concept is called 'least privilege' and involves only having access to systems for which you have a demonstrated need-to-know) and non-overlapping privilege, and protecting accounts by only allowing logins from specific locations (like Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs)) or only at specific locations, and not necessarily making every part of the system available from every other part of the system.

"Erasing" a hack involves deleting or editing logs or records that recorded the attack. While the attack is ongoing, every activity on all machines is being recorded (as ridiculous as that may seem). These logs are being monitored constantly by algorithms and by people. If an intrusion is detected, the response depends on the attack vector -- if someone is trying to attack the account, disable the account; if someone is taking advantage of a computer, revoke it's trust certificates (essentially detaching the a previously trusted computer from the network); shut down the app; or, if required, shut down the whole system - some security environments include virtual machines (VMs) that are intended to be disposable in the event they appear compromised or infected, only to be rebuilt from a trusted repository - in fact, disposable VMs are one of the security concepts behind apps on cellphones.

The hacker, as others stated, is looking to exploit any vulnerabilities. It could physically steal disks and work on decrypting the data. It could also exploit zero-day exploits: gaping flaws in the software environment that no one knows about yet. These may or may not avoid logging, because it's taking advantage of a gap between components.

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Since the government job probably went to the contractor with the best connections, rather than the best skills, the security software broke down at a critical point and rendered the entire system inoperable. While the hacking software did not actually break into the system, the government can't use the system either. Both parties are claiming a win :{

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Security AI won't know it has been hacked unless there are some side effects of such intrusion - data loss, weird messages, rogue processes etc. I mean, Hacking AI can bruteforce passwords or try sql injections or try sending some data via integration interfaces and so on... but unless it succeeds, there is no way for Sec AI to know for certain if it's a hacking attempt. Even if AI suspects so, why should it do anything, if all hacker's actions led to nothing? I believe hacking is not like a game where you can do mistakes. It's more like puzzle - you stare/think a lot, and then you solve it (or not).

So in the end, either the hacker wins, or they don't. If it's the latter, the AI has nothing to learn from.

What I see as more plausible is maybe some kind of anti-virus AI or something, that collects info about all known successful hacking attempts in the world and learns from it.

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