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Criminals could use AI devices to ransack homes after sneaking in through LOCKED front doors

Criminals could use artificial intelligence (AI) devices to ransack homes after sneaking in through locked doors, scientists have warned.

Robot burglars could pose a new danger to homeowners by entering a house through the cat flap or letter box.

The machine could then relay information to a human and feed back whether someone is home, or even scan an area and fetch the resident’s keys.

The possibility was raised in a study from researchers at University College London (UCL) in the journal Crime Science.

Alongside robot burglars the analysis looked at other ways in which AI could enable crime, including impersonating people to gain passwords or trick others into giving money.

It highlighted ‘deepfake’ pictures and videos as an area of particular concern, warning false footage of public figures could be created to influence opinion.

The study also warned driverless cars could be used to carry out terror attacks.

According to The Telegraph, the senior author of the report, Professor Lewis Griffin, said: ‘As the capabilities of AI-based technologies expand, so too has their potential for criminal exploitation.

‘To adequately prepare for possible AI threats, we need to identify what these threats might be, and how they may impact our lives.’

It follows a new report by cybersecurity firm McAfee finding that around the world there had been 375 new cyber crime threats per minute on average during the pandemic and lockdown.

Many of the threats have worked to exploit people’s fears about the virus through malicious apps, phishing campaigns, malware and harmful websites.

The Covid-19 Threat Report said that as the world moved online during lockdown, criminals tried to exploit the public’s desire for information on the virus.

McAffee said hackers and scammers were also targeting those shopping, banking and carrying out other day-to-day activities online.

Consumer watchdogs and online safety groups have also highlighted scams where criminals pose as contact tracers to try and gain personal information from people.

Both the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) warned of a surge in cybercrime during lockdown.

The NCSC launched a suspicious email reporting service which allowed the public to forward bogus emails to the centre for investigation.

McAfee fellow and chief scientist Raj Samani said: ‘What began as a trickle of phishing campaigns and the occasional malicious app quickly turned into a deluge of malicious URLs and capable threat actors.’

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