The Convergence of AI and Cybersecurity: The Inescapable Buzz of RSAC 2023

Posted on by RSAC Editorial Team

While AI has been speculatively talked about at RSA Conference for quite some time now, this year it has clearly become a reality for speakers and attendees alike. Following the ubiquity of generative AI like ChatGPT, it was hard to find a single keynote that didn’t touch on either the immense potential to automate and improve practices within the industry OR the rapidly expanding threat landscape AI is creating.

Everyone’s Buzzing About AI

Chatter around AI also filled the halls of the Moscone Center between sessions. Casual conversations between colleagues quickly turned to the latest AI security news including the Samsung ChatGPT leak and DrakeGPT’s newest drop.

Keynote panelist and Grammy-winning country music star Chris Stapleton also weighed in on the topic of generative AI in music, discussing how bad actors now have the capability to easily steal artist IP and what both legislators and the security industry can do to help.

Bloomberg Technology also broadcast live from the show floor on Wednesday to learn more about all the AI-talk at RSAC. Co-host Ed Ludlow spoke with Microsoft Security CVP and RSAC speaker, Vasu Jakkal, about why the company integrated generative AI tools into Microsoft Security Copilot to boost efficiency:

“We have to remember who we are up against as we think about why we need AI. Today the threat landscape is really challenging … and it takes a long time for us to investigate and do all of the strategic work … That’s where AI is going to be a game changer. And let's not forget the talent shortage we’re facing as an industry. That’s where AI is really going to really augment that human essence.”

The Industry Impact

During the conference, experts also emphasized the importance of incorporating cybersecurity into every stage of the AI development process. This includes building security into the algorithms, training data, and other components of the AI system. By doing so, organizations can reduce the risk of cyber attacks and ensure the integrity and reliability of their AI systems. This was a hot topic for many of our Innovation Sandbox contestants this year including Pangea, a company that is approaching AI security with a developer-first Security Platform-as-a-Service (SPaaS).

Another challenge in securing AI systems is the dynamic and constantly evolving nature of the technology. AI algorithms are designed to learn and adapt, which means that they can potentially be reprogrammed by hackers to perform malicious actions. This requires a proactive approach to security, with organizations continually monitoring and updating their AI systems to detect and respond to potential threats.

Another key AI sub-theme at the conference was the need for collaboration and information sharing among cybersecurity professionals. With the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, no single organization or individual can address these challenges alone. By working together and sharing best practices as an industry, experts can develop more effective security solutions and stay ahead of emerging threats.

Morgan Adamski, NSA Cybersecurity Collaboration Center Chief and RSAC speaker, discussed with Bloomberg Technology specifically how the public and private sectors need to collaborate for effective protection: “We [need to] work together. It's going to take all of us to do secure-by-design type products and build it into the foundation. Cybersecurity is a mindset, not a skill set. So we really have to think about how we’re taking all the necessary measures to make sure that when we build technology it's built for the future and it's secure.”

In addition to discussing the challenges of protecting the enterprise against nefarious AI, the conference also highlighted some of the potential benefits of AI for cybersecurity that Jakkal touched on in her Bloomberg Technology interview. For example, AI can help to automate threat detection and response, allowing organizations to quickly identify and neutralize potential threats. AI can also be used to analyze vast amounts of security data, providing insights into patterns and trends that can help to improve security practices and identify potential vulnerabilities.

The Global Impact

If nothing else, RSA Conference 2023 highlighted the obvious fact that the AI revolution has arrived. Not just for cybersecurity professionals, but for humanity as a whole - the vast possibilities for good and the terrifying potential for bad. As AI continues to become more prevalent in various industries, organizations must prioritize security measures to protect against potential threats, while simultaneously looking for opportunities to innovate.

RSAC Editorial Team

Editorial, RSA Conference

RSAC Insights

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

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