Emerging Tech Creates Cybersecurity Solutions, Threats

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By Daniel R. Stoller

Companies must understand that artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other new technologies bring both opportunities and collateral cybersecurity threats, panelist and lawmakers said at a March 22 Senate hearing.

New technologies provide hope that companies will be able to stem the rising tide of cyberattacks, panelists told the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. But those same advances in AI, blockchain-distributed authentication and quantum computing also carry new cybersecurity risks for companies, Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and security panelists said.

Cybercriminals are increasingly finding innovative ways to hack into U.S. companies and steal sensitive and often valuable corporate data. As more companies adopt internet of things (IoT) devices connected to the web and increase their involvement in the digital economy, their risk of facing a disabling cybersecurity event exponentially expands, security professionals said.

Even with those risks, the cybersecurity industry has moved ahead with testing and adopting these emerging technologies to try and outpace the hackers and provide better systems in an ever-evolving world, the security professionals said.

Ahead of the panel, Nate Fick, CEO of cybersecurity company Endgame Inc. in Arlington, Va., told Bloomberg BNA that companies need to think about cybersecurity in “evolutionary terms instead of revolutionary.” The challenge for companies isn’t what new product will stop all cybersecurity threats, but rather how can they find “relevant pieces of data from bigger and bigger mountains of data,” he said.

To help tackle these challenges, companies should appropriately increase their “current cyber-operations,” Fick said.

If a company can scale and speed up its cybersecurity framework related to emerging technologies, it will be in a much better place to handle new cybersecurity threats, Fick said. Adopting emerging technologies will supplement, rather than replace, cybersecurity personnel and will allow companies to expand the effectiveness of their safeguards system, he said.

Human + Machine = Better Cybersecurity

Steve Grobman, chief technology officer for Intel Security Group, an Intel Corp. subsidiary and one of the committee witnesses, told Bloomberg BNA March 22 that one of the biggest roles for emerging tech is enhancing the cybersecurity workforce. For example, an artificial intelligence cybersecurity application could help automate mundane “data gathering” processes while allowing humans to provide “strategic intellect” to adapt to evolving hackers.

Advancements in cybersecurity will allow companies to “get humans to scale to the level they need” to stop the growing cybersecurity threat, Grobman said.

And those concerned that machines will take over human operations can rest assured, Fick said. Much like how airplanes have an auto-pilot feature but still have pilots in control, companies will “always want a human in the loop,” he said. “As long as the attackers are humans, the defenders will need to be humans as well.”

Witnesses before the committee, in addition to Grobman of Intel, included representatives from IBM Corp., Cylance Corp., Menlo Ventures and the Department of Defense.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dStoller@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

For More Information

Further information on the hearing is available at http://src.bna.com/nb7.

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