During her opening Black Hat 2023 keynote, “Guardians of the AI Era: Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape of Tomorrow,” Maria Markstedter, Founder and CEO, Azeria Labs, said, “The corporate AI arms race has begun.” While the race may have begun, it still appears to be early days based on our observations walking around the Business Hall.
While AI dominated the keynotes and announcements, few vendors touted their AI cybersecurity capabilities on the show floor. Although several security vendors announced new tools at the show that either leverage AI to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities or to detect AI-generated attacks, the majority of vendor booth marketing taglines and other promotions seemed to focus on more evergreen messaging like simplicity – “OT Cybersecurity Simplified,” “Open XDR: Making SecOps Simpler”, and ”Simplify Security Operations.”
Yet there is no doubt that we will see a significant increase in both marketing messages and AI cybersecurity innovation over the next year. In her keynote, Markstedter remarked that big and small tech companies already have received “hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and are racing to compete and dominate the market.” In fact, following Markstedter’s keynote, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a call to top computer scientists, AI experts, software developers, and beyond to participate in the AI Cyber Challenge (AIxCC) – a two-year competition aimed at driving innovation at the nexus of AI and cybersecurity to create a new generation of cybersecurity tools.
AI also dominated media conversations, where reporters often felt compelled to ask our clients about their take on AI even if it strayed from the original purpose of the interview. Sitting in on interviews with reporters from every major media outlet – from Dark Reading to Axios – every reporter wanted to know one thing: how is AI changing the security landscape? This topic, which has also dominated Big Valley’s Top Conversations in Tech, securing a #1 spot for most of this year, also made headlines at DEF CON 31. We expect AI to remain red hot through 2023 and into 2024.
This is not a time to be complacent. At the conclusion of her keynote, Markstedter warned the security professionals in the audience,
“While AI might not replace you, security professionals with AI skills can replace you – people who understand AI systems enough to assess attack vectors and invent new security guardrails and those who leverage AI to improve and make their own work and research more efficient.”
AI has quickly become a disruptive force in the industry and, while the business – and cybersecurity – use cases are still being developed, the technology is here to stay and defenders must learn how to use it for good.
Fortunately, there is a growing number of hands-on classes, certifications and other online resources that are available to help educate security professionals – and their comms teams – about generative AI and cybersecurity. Right now, everyone is on the ground floor when it comes to understanding the benefits and disadvantages of this technology. Today you have an opportunity to quickly differentiate yourself – and your company – by getting educated. Your customers – and your employees – are depending on you to make the right decisions to engage AI for a safer cyberworld.