AI risks to security discussed in Parliament

Experts at the UK Parliament discussed concerns about AI, including deepfakes, AI-powered hacking, and evolving ransomware threats. They called for addressing the cybersecurity skills gap, developing AI defenses, and proactive data protection.

The potential dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to national security were at the forefront of discussions held in the UK Parliament recently. Leading figures from the British cybersecurity industry gathered to address the evolving threat landscape and brainstorm solutions.

The event, hosted by Member of Parliament Dean Russell and chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR, featured a panel of experts who delved into the specific risks posed by AI advancements. These concerns ranged from the potential misuse of AI-generated deepfakes for malicious purposes, such as spreading misinformation or manipulating public opinion, to the increased sophistication of AI-powered hacking tools that could target critical national infrastructure. The rise of ransomware attacks, a growing threat in recent years, was also highlighted as likely to become even more complex with the integration of AI technology.


Beyond outlining the potential problems, the panel also emphasized the crucial need for proactive measures to address these emerging challenges. Victor Murineanu, CISO of Chelsea Football Club, underlined the importance of bridging the growing cyber skills gap in the UK. He called for increased investment in training and recruitment programs to equip young people with the necessary expertise to combat these future threats. This call to action resonated with cyber security specialist Sarah Rench from Avanade, who observed a positive trend of companies allocating more resources towards developing cyber skills within their workforce.

Nicko van Someren, the Chief Technology Officer of Absolute Software, emphasized the crucial role of staying ahead of the curve. He pointed out that the rapid advancements in AI not only pose new challenges but also present opportunities for strengthening defenses. He stressed the urgency of utilizing these advancements for defensive purposes, acknowledging that malicious actors are likely already exploring the offensive potential of AI.

The discussion also highlighted the importance of maintaining comprehensive visibility into IT systems. Paul Connaghan, a Principal Consultant specializing in application security at RiverSafe, argued that in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats like AI-powered attacks, having clear visibility into network activity, user behavior, and system performance is no longer optional but essential for building effective defensive strategies. He emphasized that investing in robust threat intelligence solutions that provide real-time insights is crucial for businesses to proactively identify and mitigate potential threats, ultimately protecting themselves and their employees.

The conversation also touched upon the need to anticipate future threats. Angus Lockhart, Chief Operating Officer at SECQAI, pointed out the escalating complexity of the cyber landscape, which he linked to rising global tensions and conflicts. He stressed the importance of ensuring the UK’s preparedness against both current and future threats. This, he suggested, involves mitigating existing cyber attacks by promoting the use of “memory safe” hardware and preparing for future threats like quantum computing by transitioning to Post-Quantum Cryptography, a more secure encryption method.

Finally, Nithin Thomas, Founder and CEO of Klarytee, emphasized the transformative potential of AI while simultaneously cautioning against its potential misuse. He warned that as businesses embrace AI’s capabilities, a new wave of cyber threats, powered by AI, is likely to emerge. He concluded by underlining the critical need for a proactive approach to data protection in the face of this evolving threat landscape.