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The RSA Conference in San Francisco getting underway soon

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February 15, 2017

For the past decade and a half, every year the RSA Conference in San Francisco brings together the best and the brightest in the field of IT security.

The show's overall view as a whole is rather simple. You just need to ignore the hyped technology ads and concentrate on the very basics-- good, clean and secure coding. Basic stuff when you think of it.

However, the conference panelists were recently unimpressed with recent moves to build artificially intelligent security systems, despite the success of programs like the DARPA Cyber challenge, saying it was way too early to consider such systems truly reliable.

The panelists also warned that some of the proposed systems might never be safe to begin with.

Case in point: Ronald Rivest, a well-known MIT institute professor says: “I’m rather skeptical of artificial intelligence on security. Where we are seeing AI becoming an issue with our recent presidential election is with various bots in chat rooms. In ten or fifteen years from now, you’ll be competing to find a real human in a sea of chat bots, and that's where I'm really concerned with.”

Off the record, Rivest also mentioned 'fake news' as a big part of the problem, if not the *main* issue he asserted.

His former colleague at the RSA, Adi Shamir, currently the Borman professor of computer science at the Weizmann Institute, was similarly skeptical about AI systems in overall IT security. Attempting to train such a device could lead to various and complex problems he hinted.

“In 12 to 15 years from now we will give all data to AI systems, it will try to think on its own, and then it might say that in order to save the internet I’ll have to kill it,” he joked.

“The web is way beyond salvaging. We need to start over with something much better and a lot more secure. There's simply too many nasty things happening under the hood already,” he warned.

Some AI systems might be useful for IT defense, Shamir said, given the ability for computers to handle large volumes of data and then check for potential anomalies. But you still need a human touch to find zero-day security flaws and then attack using them, he asserted.

Shamir was equally as dismissive of quantum computing systems and quantum cryptography, saying it was “not on my list of worries.” He was far more concerned about using large-scale computing to hack existing encryption algorithms. But some disagree with him on that.

Susan Landau, professor of cybersecurity policy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said she was worried about quantum systems. There hasn’t been enough research into building quantum computing-proof algorithms and the IT industry is still missing a beat, she insisted.

While all of this has been said, Whitfield Diffie, one of the inventors of public key encryption, said that the security issues facing the industry weren’t going to be solved by a magic AI or quantum bullet. Instead the industry needs to go back to simple and basic fundamentals, he hinted.

“If the resources spent on interactive security, such as firewalls, antivirus and the like were spent on improvements in the logical functioning of devices and a big improvement in quality of programming, we would get much better results,” Diffie thinks.

Source: The RSA Conference.

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Read the latest IT news. Visit ItDirection.net. Updated several times daily.

If you need reliability when it comes to SMTP servers, get the best, get Port 587.

Get a powerful Linux Dual-Core dedicated server for less than $2.67 a day!

Share on Twitter.


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