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Generative AI could supercharge cyber defense capabilities, Google Cloud executive says

by Kuksung Nam, Arthur Gregory Willers

Nov. 06, 2023
11:12 AM GMT+9

Recent advances in artificial intelligence appear poised to assist organizations in establishing best practices to more effectively counter cyber threats, according to a Google Cloud executive on Monday.

Mark Johnston, Director of the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Google Cloud, stressed the importance of our taking a new perspective on generative AI during a keynote speech at the AI Security Global Festa. Johnston stated that, despite the numerous concerns people have over the state-of-the-art technology, particularly regarding its potential to aid hackers in facilitating cyberattacks, organizations should keep in mind that the very same technology puts them in a more favorable position to protect themselves against such attacks.

Mark Johnston, Director of the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Google Cloud, delivering the keynote speech at the AI Security Global Festa on November 6. Source: The Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA)

“You know your assets, your systems, your business, your services, your government, your operations better than anyone else. Better than the attacker, which means that you have the information available to train and understand your cyber threat profile,” said the director to the audience. “This is where AI is good.”

Johnston elaborated on his remarks by breaking down the advantages generative AI offers to organizations into three key points. First, generative AI can help organizations struggling with a flood of information by working to separate the noise from the substance. Second, it can help reduce the workload of employees saddled with conducting repetitive tasks. Finally, generative AI can help bridge the talent gap, which has been an ongoing dilemma in the cybersecurity industry.

Johnston particularly stressed the seriousness of the lack of cybersecurity professionals, citing a report issued by ISC2 titled “Cybersecurity Workforce Study,” which noted a skill gap of more than 2 million people in the Asia-Pacific region. Johnston explained that the latest technology could work as a side-by-side advisor to junior analysts, perched on their shoulders much like a mentor, helping them master their trade: defending organizations from the latest cyber threats. He added that more experienced professionals could work on improving the AI technology to better tailor and customize the operational process, as each company faces different challenges.

“I think the more we build complexity into our systems and services, we need to really understand that we as humans were not scaled to defend all that. We will need to find a force multiplier to defend. AI is the beginning of that force multiplier,” said Johnston. “It means that we will be helping AI to find the best path to protect our organizations. It means that we will have more interesting roles and a lot more motivation.”

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Notification: The cover image of the article has been replaced with the photo provided by the Korea Internet & Security Agency.


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  • Kuksung Nam
    : Author

    Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and...

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  • Arthur Gregory Willers

    Arthur Gregory Willers is a copyeditor at The Readable, where he works to make complex cybersecurity news accessible and engaging for readers. With over 20 years in education and publishing, his exper...

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