RSA 2024: AI Security Takes Center Stage

The RSA Conference celebrated its 33rd year in San Francisco last week, attracting over 45,000 cybersecurity professionals from more than 130 countries to the Moscone Center. As always, the event featured a wealth of insightful keynotes, training sessions, and networking opportunities. This year’s theme was The Art of Possible and felt very much on theme given the excitement around emerging cybersecurity capabilities, particularly those powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

While SOC optimization, NextGen SIEM, cloud and cybersecurity workforce challenges got ample attention at this year’s conference, it was the topic of AI, not surprisingly, that was at the center of most conversations.  Both the security implications of artificial intelligence and how it has the potential to revolutionize cybersecurity were key themes. In fact, AI dominated the track sessions, with 81 dedicated to the topic of analytics and intelligence and of the 39 keynotes, 11 had AI in their title and another 18 made reference to AI within the content. 

Notable themes around the implications of artificial intelligence included:

  • AI techniques and security risks: Sessions provided a compelling look at how as AI capabilities grow, so do the novel attack surfaces. Talks included AI attack vectors like PromptInjection and data poisoning, AI watermarking, input filtering, and differential privacy to detect and mitigate AI model vulnerabilities.  
  • How cybercriminals are really using GenAI: Sessions took an in-depth look at findings from the cybercriminal underground and the reality of how cybercriminals are leveraging AI. We saw topics on AI-powered attacks, disinformation and influence campaigns, using AI to enhance reconnaissance and password guessing as well as deepfake impersonation and fraud.  
  • Impact of legislation and policy: Several sessions across both the commercial and public sector took a look at regulating AI security, particularly around AI ethics and the need for governance to ensure its responsible development. In the wake of the recent SEC ruling mandating cybersecurity disclosure laws, this topic was more important than ever.

Notable themes around the benefits of artificial intelligence included: 

  • AI for cybersecurity: Sessions featured how the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to revolutionize cybersecurity applications like threat detection, user behavior analytics and attack service monitoring to help augment and automate security operations.
  • AI for productivity not job replacement: A very positive theme at the conference, and very much in line with The Art of Possible, was the significant impact AI was having in enhancing security team productivity.  Talks focused on how AI could automate repetitive tasks, analyze processes and workflows, enable demand forecasting, supply chain optimization as well as how AI-powered assistants can boost productivity and enhance decision support. 
  • AI-powered security automation: there was a lot of talk around how AI can help drive automation including robotic process automation, IT/cloud automation, business process automation and hyper-automation. The underlying theme to all these resonated around how AI acts as a force multiplier for automation by enhancing decision capabilities, adaptability and scalability of automated systems. 
  • AI and machine learning were major focal points on the showroom floor as well. While it was often hard to rise above the noise with vendors all talking about how their AI/ML will transform cybersecurity and help organizations achieve higher levels of cyber resilience through predictive analytics, deception technology, AI-driven security orchestration and unified AI security analytics, the more notable vendors focused on AI-powered threat detection and its ability to analyze massive amounts of data to provide accurate and automated threat detection compared to traditional rule-base approaches. 

While AI grabbed the biggest spotlight at this year’s conference there were some other notable themes and sessions. A few that really stood out included: 

  • The Power of Community Keynote: Hugh Thompson, the RSA program chair and a great storyteller, covered the growing challenges of cybersecurity and how the impossible can be possible through the power of community. He provided a compelling look at the passion behind cybersecurity practitioners and their mission to prevent bad things from happening as well as the top 3 topics that shaped this year’s RSA submissions which included burnout, risk management and of course, artificial intelligence. 
  • Ransomware: With high-profile victims like MGM, Caesar’s and the soaring payments associated with ransomware, it was not surprising to see continued interest in the topic.  Notable sessions covered the frequency of attacks and the potential impact these attacks have on industries as a whole, with a particular focus on critical infrastructure and healthcare. Additionally, we continued to see the debate on whether or not to pay the ransom.  
  • A Conversation with Jason Sudeikis: Definitely a highlight of the conference was the session with actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis, best known for Saturday Night Live and Ted Lasso. While not necessarily security focused, it was a great interview that focused on the power of kindness, teamwork and collaboration. Filled with a lot of laughs, it was one of my favorite sessions as you left inspired to BELIEVE anything was possible.  

As always, RSA 2024 proved to be an unmissable event for cybersecurity professionals to get future-ready.  MixMode enjoyed meeting with clients at the event to collaborate and join in the conversations around AI and cybersecurity and how our advanced AI-powered Platform can enhance their cybersecurity defenses and protect them from emerging threats. For more information on how AI is revolutionizing cybersecurity read MixMode’s annual State of AI in Cybersecurity Report 2024  and to learn more about MixMode’s award-winning advanced AI-powered cybersecurity solutions request a demo here

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