June 17, 2024

Cyber ​​Security in the Age of AI and Quantum

In the ever-changing landscape of cyber security, AI and quantum are changing rapidly. Their potential promises to dramatically change the way governments and organizations protect, defend and evolve systems to deal with emerging cyber threats.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has shown great potential in detecting and mitigating cyber threats. AI algorithms can quickly analyze massive amounts of data, identify patterns, and detect anomalies and outliers with great accuracy. AI’s ability to digest and analyze large amounts of data in near real-time makes it an invaluable tool in cybersecurity that enables proactive threat prevention, real-time incident response, and intelligent decision-making to block attacks before they cause significant damage.

In addition to AI, Quantum computing offers unparalleled computational power that can break traditional encryption methods. Although this is a challenge, quantum technology also offers the opportunity to develop advanced quantum-resistant encryption techniques. Quantum cryptography, for example, can leverage the principles of quantum mechanics to create unbreakable codes, ensuring secure communications against future threats.

Governments face unique challenges in adopting advanced technology

When it comes to cybersecurity, the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to take a measured approach to adopting emerging technology. The integration of AI and quantum technologies requires thorough risk assessments and careful planning to ensure compliance with these regulations without compromising security or operational capabilities. I GovFuture PodcastJim Palumbo, Command Information Officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the US Department of the Navy provides insight into some of the challenges facing the US Navy in adopting advanced technologies for cybersecurity and zero trust.

Jim says “There will always be some kind of uniqueness to the mission of the Department of Defense and how you have to approach things. But at the core, the controls are the controls and the controls. They’re being used largely the same, whether it’s inside the DoD or outside in industry or academia. So there are many lessons learned that we can take from those partners in those other environments.

And as I tell my staff all the time, we are not in an academic environment. If someone is already doing it, plagiarize all day, and you’ll still get full credit. So I think that’s one of the things to understand that probably someone else has already, if they haven’t figured it out, they’re working through it. And if you can, partner with them and find out who those people are and be able to add value to those conversations, you can start to speed things up. I think one of the big things that has changed in recent years is that the approach to security was very much insulin or within each of the organizations and there was a reluctance to share this because you might give up some kind of secret or something like that. I think what’s been really exciting over the last few years is seeing the conversations and those barriers breaking down between DoD, industry, and academia and realizing that there are a lot of shared challenges that if we work together in that shared space, we can make great progress and accelerate that progress. And then when we are unique within DOD, we can focus those resources on that uniqueness, but a large majority of that space is going to be shared in some way, shape or form or the challenges will be shared. So by continuing those partnerships and those conversations, we’re just going to get that environment and that secure environment that we need and we’re going to be able to evolve as challenges arise.”

Keep up to date with the latest cyber security approaches

In an increasingly interconnected world, where cyber threats are significant risks for governments, organizations and individuals need to stay up-to-date with the latest cyber security approaches. The DoD, and especially the Navy, handle sensitive information, critical infrastructure, and advanced weapons systems, making them prime targets for sophisticated cyberattacks. By keeping up to date and mastering the latest cybersecurity approaches, the US Navy can strengthen its defenses, more effectively detect and mitigate threats, and maintain its operational readiness. In addition, the Navy’s commitment to remain at the forefront of cyber security sends a clear message to adversaries that efforts to threaten national security through cyberspace will be met with relentless resiliency and vigilance.

Addressing the need for the US Navy to stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity approaches and reduce risk, Jim says “people use the term, the crown jewels of the organization. What are your priorities? What do you need to focus on? And then there is an understanding of the Intel, the adversary ability mind aspect of it. And this is where I really see things like AI and machine learning (coming into play) – the amount of data is just increasing. It is increasing exponentially on a daily, weekly basis. So the ability of an individual or a group of people to be able to parse through all that information and be able to direct effort accordingly is impossible and no more impossible.

So to be able to leverage AI and machine learning and quantum computing to take a lot of data and be able to analyze it and turn it back into military terminology, the OODA loop, the observant and orient, that’s where we’re going to need AI and machine learning to properly inform the decision and the actions that need to be taken and then start that process again. That’s where I see AI and machine learning becoming a critical part of our success. It’s that aspect of looking and focusing because there’s just so much information out there, so much data out there and it just increases on a daily basis. But tying back to US cybercom, that’s one of the key things from a military point of view and it’s great to see what General Nakasone has done there in terms of kind of opening it up and sharing information and reaching out to industry and influencing academia as we as a community also drive that information sharing. You know, cyber security as well, I think this is something that everybody needs to think about, right?”

AI and quantum technologies have the potential to transform cyber security, offering improved threat detection and secure communications. While the US Navy will benefit from these advances, it faces unique challenges in adopting these advanced technologies, including understanding their capabilities, implementing zero-trust architectures, and ensuring strict cybersecurity standards are met. Overcoming these barriers will require a concerted effort, combining research, training and investment in cutting-edge solutions. By adopting these technologies, the US Navy can strengthen its cybersecurity posture, protect critical assets, and maintain its role as a global maritime force in the digital age. To hear all of Jim’s thoughts on the subject check out his full GovFuture Podcast.

Disclosure: Kathleen Walch is the Executive Director of GovFuture.

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