Cybersecurity leaders address AI threats in UK Parliament debate
Thu 14 Dec 2023
On 13 December, prominent figures from the UK’s cybersecurity industry convened at the Houses of Parliament to discuss the burgeoning challenges posed by cyber threats, including the impact of AI on national security and the economy.
The debate was part of the Parliament Street think tank’s Cyber Summit, hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford and chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR.
The panel, featuring executives from BAE Systems and Avanade, engaged in a lively discussion on strategies to combat the challenges posed by AI, fake reviews, ransomware, and other cyber threats.
They also delved into managing AI’s expanding role in the digital economy, safeguarding critical national infrastructure, and fostering a diverse cyber workforce.
Mivy James, Digital Transformation Director at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, addressed the changing landscape of cyber threats against the backdrop of geopolitical uncertainties such as conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.
“There is growing recognition that cybersecurity needs to be just like any other aspect of engineering quality,” she said, noting the challenges inflation poses for investment in cybersecurity and the risks associated with AI’s increasing demand for data.
Paul Connaghan, Principal Consultant at RiverSafe, emphasised the critical nature of cybersecurity in the current climate of state-sponsored attacks and AI-powered threats.
“It is not just the big businesses that are the target,” Connaghan remarked, stressing the necessity for businesses of all sizes to prioritise cybersecurity measures in their culture, processes, and strategies.
Andy Ward, Vice President and GM International at Absolute Software, highlighted the surge in sophisticated, self-learning cyber threats due to the widespread adoption of AI.
He underscored the importance of robust security systems and resilience, including technology for self-healing security applications and threat monitoring, particularly in the context of remote working and data proliferation.
Patrick Wake, Group Director of Information Security at FDM Group, spoke about the crucial role of skills in cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity requires senior experienced talent but they are a scarce and expensive resource,” he said, advocating for foundational training in cybersecurity alongside the development of fundamental technology skills.
Sarah Rench, Global GenAI Security and European Cybersecurity Lead at Avanade, discussed the double-edged sword of technology’s rise, which has resulted in greater data access, but also increased cyberattack risks. She called for a greater focus on cybersecurity and Generative AI security training, along with user education at all stages of life.
The summit at the Houses of Parliament provided a platform for industry leaders to share insights and strategies for tackling the complex and evolving landscape of cyber threats, emphasising the need for robust security measures, skilled professionals, and ongoing education in the face of AI’s growing influence.