Former FBI director Robert Mueller famously said, “There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked, and those that will be.” This epitomizes the relentless battle in cybersecurity, a domain where defenders and attackers are perpetually at odds.

Now, artificial intelligence has emerged as a game-changer, significantly reshaping the landscape of society’s ongoing cyberwar.

“Cyber threats continue to escalate along several dimensions, including sophistication, frequency and business impact. The RSA Conference faces a pivotal moment in the gen AI era,” said Dave Vellante, theCUBE Research chief analyst. “With global spending on cybersecurity efforts surpassing $200 billion last year, questions loom over the right formula to deliver outcomes that substantially lower risk and make AI an ally versus an adversary. RSA is a gathering ground for the sector’s brightest minds, and they must demonstrate that the industry can foster the actionable strategies and solutions needed to counteract an ever-evolving digital menace.”

This year’s RSA Conference will host cybersecurity experts, analysts and business leaders, generating discourse around enterprise-level resilience. Join theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the RSA Conference from May 6-9, as our exclusive event coverage explores cyberwar defense approaches and AI’s role in cybersecurity. (* Disclosure below.)

The current security playing field

More than merely protecting digital assets, cybersecurity is about protecting the future of innovation. The playing field has expanded exponentially, with threat actors targeting all sorts of data repositories and dealing immense financial and reputational damage to companies. Take the recent Mandiant hack, for example. The Google LLC-owned firm saw its X account taken over by hackers and used to promote a crypto scam. Despite 2FA reportedly being enabled, the takeover went on for hours before it was stopped and the account was recovered.

Malicious actors today have a wide array of entry points through which they can infiltrate organizations, steal valuable data and gain control of mission-critical operations. A key takeaway from the recently released RSA “ID IQ Report” shows that cybercriminals are weaponizing gaps in users’ security knowledge to ply their trade. Those gaps primarily focus on critical identity vulnerabilities, identity security best practices and ways to strengthen identity security.

“The ID IQ Report reveals why identity is one of the most susceptible ways for cybercriminals to breach an organization — users simply don’t understand identity’s full cybersecurity role, the risks that identity poses or the ways to use identity to build safer organizations,” said Rohit Ghai, chief executive officer at RSA Security LLC.

Hacks don’t always involve outsmarting computer code; threat actors simply exploit the human element. Identity-related causes through stolen credentials are now the most common culprit for data breaches. There’s also the problem of fragmented identity solutions and their propensity to create runaway IT costs.

In the report, 73% of respondents couldn’t estimate the cost of an IT-level password reset (about $70), further stressing the need for organizations to streamline their solutions stack for identity access and authentication.

How AI fits into the expanding cybersecurity puzzle

AI has opened innovation vectors for both cybersecurity defenders and attackers. On the defense side, it has shown promise in detecting suspicious access attempts and identifying system irregularities. On the other hand, incidents of companies willfully or mistakenly disclosing their large language model data are on the rise. In one example, 38 terabytes of customer data, including sensitive passwords, leaked accidentally from Microsoft Corp. via GitHub in June 2023. The hack was from a training data file, part of a repository with image recognition models and training datasets for building neural networks.

Despite the occasional misuse, the fact remains that cybersecurity needs AI to achieve true zero trust. Humans alone can’t keep track of all the users, entitlements, applications and environments in their IT infrastructures. Identities are rapidly expanding and, more importantly, so are the capabilities allotted to those identities.

AI brings one important skill to the cybersecurity toolset: making sense of large quantities of data efficiently. Humans tend to rely on rigid constructs that fundamentally create friction with the zero-trust directive of provisioning the bare minimum of entitlements needed to fulfill a given role.

“Humans tend to see the world in coarse-grained approximations: We reckon engineering needs access to the dev server, the ops team needs access to the prod server and that admins need access to both,” Ghai said in a recent RSA article. “Many governance solutions are built on these coarse-grained approximations: Role-based access control (RBAC) assigns privileges based on the department someone is assigned to in an organization.”

While a constant stream of dynamic data might be daunting to humans, AI can ingest that data and even use it to get better — developing faster, stronger cybersecurity in the process.

TheCUBE event livestream

Don’t miss theCUBE’s coverage of the RSA Conference from 5-6 to 5-9. Plus, you can watch theCUBE’s event coverage on-demand after the live event.

How to watch theCUBE interviews

We offer various ways to watch theCUBE’s coverage of the RSA Conference, including theCUBE’s dedicated website and YouTube channel. You can also get all the coverage from this year’s events on SiliconANGLE.

TheCUBE Insights podcast

SiliconANGLE has podcasts available of archived interview sessions, available on iTunesStitcher and Spotify, which you can enjoy while on the go.

SiliconANGLE also has analyst deep dives in our Breaking Analysis podcast, available on iTunesStitcher and Spotify.


During the RSA Conference, theCUBE Research analysts will talk with data protection experts, developers, analysts and investors to discuss the developments and innovations within the cybersecurity community. Explore advancements in modern data protection as AI proves both helpful and harmful amidst a sprawling threat landscape. Stay tuned for our complete guest list.

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the SAS Innovate event. No sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Image: SiliconANGLE

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