The attack had the hallmarks of something researchers had dreaded for years: malicious software using artificial intelligence that could lead to a new digital arms race in which A.I.-driven defenses battled A.I.-driven offenses while humans watched from the sidelines.
But what was not as widely predicted was that one of the earliest instances of that sort of malware was found in India, not in a sophisticated British banking system or a government network in the United States.
Security researchers are increasingly looking in countries outside the West to discover the newest, most creative and potentially most dangerous types of cyberattacks being deployed.
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As developing economies rush to go online, they provide a fertile testing ground for hackers trying their skills in an environment where they can evade detection before deploying them against a company or state that has more advanced defenses.
The cyberattack in India used malware that could learn as it was spreading, and altered its methods to stay in the system for as long as possible. Those were "early indicators" of A.I., according to the cybersecurity company Darktrace. Essentially, the malware could figure out its surroundings and mimic the behavior of the system's users, though Darktrace said the firm had found the program before it could do any damage.