Why the Cybersecurity Industry Is Obsessed With AI Right Now – CNET

From deepfakes to disinformation, this year's annual San Francisco gathering of cybersecurity professionals is focused almost entirely on artificial intelligence.
AI is the talk of the RSA Conference.
From the hundreds of panels and talks to the often quirky expo floor displays, artificial intelligence and its potential impact on the cybersecurity industry is the topic of choice at this year's RSA Conference in San Francisco.
Tens of thousands of data security professionals, business moguls, educators, government leaders, privacy advocates and others descended on the city's Moscone Center to check out the latest in cybersecurity tech and trends. About 650 people are slated to speak during more than 400 panels, talks and other sessions before it wraps Thursday afternoon.
Here's a look at what's going on right now:
May 6, 2024 at 3:55 p.m. PT
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the RSA Conference Monday in San Francisco.
As the distinction between the digital and physical worlds continues to erode, the role of technology and its security is becoming an increasingly critical part of global diplomacy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
"Security, stability and prosperity are no longer solely analog matters," Blinken said during his RSA Conference keynote, adding that the choices that security professionals make today "will reverberate for generations."
In a wide-ranging address, Blinken spoke about the need for the US to be a leader in everything from semiconductor production and training a high-tech workforce to setting development rules for cutting-edge technologies like AI and quantum computing.
He noted that if a potentially dangerous technology like genomic surveillance were to be dominated by America's rivals, its abuse could become commonplace, causing irreversible damage.
Blinken also said that the furthering and protection of democracy around the world will continue to hinge on the involvement of American tech companies, especially those in the security industry. He pointed to the help given to Ukraine by many US companies in hardening their networks and bolstering their communications ahead of and after Russia's invasion of the country.
May 6, 2024 at 3 p.m. PT
Monday's afternoon keynotes kicked off with a surprise appearance by actor Matthew Broderick, who notably played a teenage hacker in the 1980s cult classic WarGames. 
Broderick said that the plot of the movie, in which his character accidentally hacked into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games, might seem ridiculous to today's security experts, but it prompted then-President Ronald Reagan to call together members of his cabinet, Congress and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to talk about whether something like that could actually happen.
What Reagan discovered was that the problem was much worse than that, Broderick said. And, eventually, Reagan's interest in the film is credited with helping enact the first presidential directive on computer security. 
We'll be updating this story with more coverage from RSA throughout the week.
Editors' note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, which are labeled accordingly. The note you're reading is attached to articles that deal substantively with the topic of AI but are created entirely by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI policy.


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