ESD Team

Evolving Impacts of AI on Security

November 15, 2023
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Evolving Impacts of AI on Security

On the 9th episode of Enterprise Software Defenders, hosts Evan Reiser and Mike Britton, both executives at Abnormal Security, talk with Patti Titus, chief privacy and information security officer at Markel. Markel is the insurance wing of Markel Group, a global insurance and investment company with over 17,000 employees and $12 billion in annual revenue. In this conversation, Patti shares her thoughts on the opportunities and challenges of AI’s growing popularity, the balance of AI regulation and innovation, and considerations for the next generation of AI threat response.

AI is being heralded as a game-changer, offering remarkable capabilities in threat identification, automated response, predictive analysis, and fortifying identity and access management. The potential for AI to identify patterns, self-ferret, and recognize AI-generated threats opens new frontiers in combating sophisticated cyber threats. Patti addresses the extensive landscape shaped by AI technologies' rapid evolution, highlighting the substantial opportunities that AI brings to cybersecurity. “ChatGPT has given us a whole new landscape to think about how we provide the right training and guidelines to our employees.” However, along with these prospects, AI's ubiquity also introduces new challenges. As AI-based tools and systems proliferate, there's an escalation in the complexity of identifying and managing security vulnerabilities. The amplified access to sensitive data and the possibility of exploitation of AI tools by adversaries bring forth new concerns. The growing adoption of AI and its seamless integration into various business tools and platforms pose the threat of new attack vectors, necessitating a strategic reevaluation of defense strategies. “I think there is an opportunity to educate our employees about what generative AI can do. And so thinking about my security team and having them question a deep fake, having them question things that look legitimate.” 

Patti delves into the intricacies of striking a balance between regulating AI and fostering innovation in the cybersecurity domain. While acknowledging the necessity of regulations to ensure responsible and ethical AI use, she also stresses the need to avoid stifling the innovative potential of AI. Regulatory frameworks should aim to prevent misuse, promote accountability, and ensure ethical deployment of AI technologies in cybersecurity. Simultaneously, such regulations should facilitate innovation and development within the industry, avoiding unnecessary hindrances that impede progress. Maintaining this balance is crucial in preventing misuse while allowing the technology to evolve and fortify security measures. “Do we need to create the next Iron Dome for our networks? Where the Iron Dome says, ‘AI can't get in, AI is only going to be allowed in through certain types of capabilities?’ Or it's only going to work inside a sandbox environment, a data lake, or some trusted cloud environment, and that's where you're going to run your AI. I imagine we won't allow AI updates to happen on the fly like they're currently happening.” Patti advocates for a cohesive and well-thought-out regulatory framework that supports innovation without compromising security but understands the challenge of establishing that network of balance is incredibly nuanced.

Security leaders must look toward the future of AI threat response mechanisms, acknowledging that AI will play a pivotal role in the next generation of cybersecurity defense strategies. Patti articulates the need to advance current approaches to adapt to the evolving threat landscape. This includes enhancing AI's capacity to recognize AI-generated threats and deploying preemptive measures to counteract such threats. Strengthening model governance, fortifying identity and access management, and fostering collaboration among cybersecurity professionals are vital strategies to reinforce defenses against sophisticated adversaries leveraging AI. Patti highlights the necessity to rethink cybersecurity strategies and necessitates the development of innovative AI-driven solutions for threat identification, response, and strengthening of cybersecurity defenses. Her insights serve as a clarion call for the industry to gear up for an AI-centric future by developing robust, adaptive, and innovative mechanisms to counteract rapidly evolving threats in the cybersecurity domain. “We're going to have to create more grassroots efforts to get the CISO community together to share information and recognize this isn't a competitive edge. This is operations. We are all fighting the same war; if we do not band together, we will lose. So we have got to start sharing information as CISOs.”

Patti's insights serve as a guide for those navigating the multifaceted landscape of cybersecurity. Her ideas resonate as a call for the recalibration of approaches, emphasizing the need for continual adaptation and unified collaboration to tackle the rapidly evolving threat landscape. Leaders must act as a compass guiding stakeholders through the complex maze of cybersecurity, nurturing their comprehension and spurring an urgent need for collective, adaptive approaches in this ever-evolving arena.

Listen to Patti's episode here and read the transcript here.