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Why the Cybersecurity Industry Is Obsessed With AI Right Now

 Why the Cybersecurity Industry Is Obsessed With AI Right Now


From the hundreds of panels and talks to the often quirky expo floor displays, artificial intelligence and its potenial impact on the cybersecurity industry is the topic of choice at this year’s RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Tens of thousands of data security professionals, business moguls, educators, government leaders, privacy advocates and others descended on the city’s Moscone Center to check out the latest in cybersecurity tech and trends. About 650 people are slated to speak during more than 400 panels, talks and other sessions before it wraps Thursday afternoon.

Here’s a look at what’s going on right now:

Tech and security needs to play a leading role in diplomacy, Blinken says

May 6, 2024 at 3:55 p.m. PT

RSA 2024 Secretary Blinken on stage RSA 2024 Secretary Blinken on stage

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the RSA Conference Monday in San Francisco.

Loren Elliott/Getty Images

As the distinction between the digital and physical worlds continues to erode, the role of technology and its security is becoming an increasingly critical part of global diplomacy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“Security, stability and prosperity are no longer solely analog matters,” Blinken said during his RSA Conference keynote, adding that the choices that security professionals make today “will reverberate for generations.”

Anthony Blinken speaking at RSA 2024 Anthony Blinken speaking at RSA 2024

Bree Fowler/CNET

In a wide-ranging address, Blinken spoke about the need for the US to be a leader in everything from semiconductor production and training a high-tech workforce to setting development rules for cutting-edge technologies like AI and quantum computing.

He noted that if a potentially dangerous technology like genomic surveillance were to be dominated by America’s rivals, its abuse could become commonplace, causing irreversible damage.

Blinken also said that the furthering and protection of democracy around the world will continue to hinge on the involvement of American tech companies, especially those in the security industry. He pointed to the help given to Ukraine by many US companies in hardening their networks and bolstering their communications ahead of and after Russia’s invasion of the country.

The legacy of WarGames

May 6, 2024 at 3 p.m. PT

Matthew Broderick speaking at RSA 2024 Matthew Broderick speaking at RSA 2024

Bree Fowler/CNET

Monday’s afternoon keynotes kicked off with a surprise appearance by actor Matthew Broderick, who notably played a teenage hacker in the 1980s cult classic WarGames.¬†

Broderick said that the plot of the movie, in which his character accidentally hacked into a military super computer while searching for new video games, might seem ridiculous to today’s security experts, but it prompted then-President Ronald Reagan to call together members of his cabinet, Congress and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to talk about whether something like that could actually happen.

What Reagan discovered was that the problem was much worse than that, Broderick said. And, eventually, Reagan’s interest in the film is credited with helping enact the first presidential directive on computer security¬†

Matthew Broderick on stage speaking at RSA Conference 2024 Matthew Broderick on stage speaking at RSA Conference 2024

Loren Elliott/Getty Images

We’ll be updating this story with more coverage from RSA throughout the week.



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