SecurityBrief UK - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
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UK cyber industry addresses AI threats at Parliament summit
Thu, 14th Dec 2023

Leading figures from the UK cyber industry at a summit, hosted in the Houses of Parliament, addressed the pressing issues of artificial intelligence (AI) threats. The discussion encompassed the increasing impact of AI within the digital economy, the necessary measures to safeguard critical national structures, and the importance of diversification within the cybersecurity workforce.

The Parliament Street think tank's Cyber summit, chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR and hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford, presented an open dialogue between experienced delegates such as executives from BAE Systems and Avanade. The dialogue focused on steps needed to confront the challenges presented by AI, counterfeit reviews, ransomware, and additional cyber threats.

Mivy James FBCS, Digital Transformation Director at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, emphasised the increasing acknowledgement of cybersecurity as integral to other aspects of quality engineering. Noting the shifting landscape due to growing geopolitical uncertainties, she explained, "AI itself poses a threat from using AI to generate sophisticated attacks to smarter AI searches inadvertently accessing previously hidden data."

Paul Connaghan, Principal Consultant at RiverSafe, reinforced the notion, stating, "Cybersecurity is more important than ever with state-sponsored attacks, AI-powered threats and increased sophistication from cybercriminals. At all levels, businesses need to invest in cybersecurity measures as a priority through culture, process and strategy."

Pointing to the widespread adoption of AI, Andy Ward, Vice President & GM International at Absolute Software, warned of a surge in advanced, self-learning cyber threats, particularly with the expansion of remote working. He called for stronger security systems for organisations including threat monitoring and the ability to automatically self-heal and upgrade security applications to prevent any breaches.

Possible solutions were also tabled with Patrick Wake, Group Director of Information Security at FDM Group, highlighting the importance of talent. He remarked that establishing a solid foundation by training entry-level talent in core technology and cybersecurity aspects was critical. Wake maintains it is imperative to invest in hiring and upskilling to ensure a robust team equipped with necessary skills.

Lastly, Sarah Rench, Global GenAI Security & European Cyber Security Lead at Avanade, stated the need for greater focus on cybersecurity and GenAI security training, alongside user education. She said, "The rise of technology has given access to more data than ever before. But with greater convenience comes an increased risk of cyberattacks and other security threats."

Cybersecurity, seen as a holistic concern including AI threats, user education, and workforce diversity, continues to take precedence following the insightful debate by these industry leaders. Their contributions raised awareness and provoked reflection on important issues facing the cyber landscape.