UBC IT at BCNET Connect 2024: A Look into AI/Machine Learning through the Cybersecurity Lens

To learn about their upcoming presentation at BCNET Connect 2024, we recently met with UBC IT cybersecurity experts Scott Baker and Kevin Radford to explore how they are delving into the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity, shedding light on both its potential and the accompanying challenges.  

Introducing the key players 

Kevin Radford, a Cybersecurity Analyst, brings to the table a wealth of expertise in AI and its application within cybersecurity. His portion of the presentation will set the stage, elucidating the fundamentals of AI and its relevance in safeguarding digital ecosystems.  

Scott Baker, Manager of the ARC’s Sensitive Research Team with a specialization in research cybersecurity, will spotlight emerging AI threats that challenge cybersecurity, and captivate the audience with an intriguing demonstration of deep fake. He'll also address the darker side of AI, spotlighting the unintended consequences that may arise if not handled with caution.  

The making of this presentation is a collaborative effort initiated by Larry Carson, who facilitated the connection between Scott and Kevin. Their shared vision to explore AI's role in cybersecurity led them to craft a presentation that promises to be both informative and thought-provoking. 

Embarking on presenting at BCNET Connect 2024 

Central to their discourse is the acknowledgment of AI as a double-edged sword. While it holds immense promise in aiding cybersecurity defenses, it is also aiding attackers, making defending against attacks far more challenging. Through a careful balance of Kevin's insights on defense strategies and Scott's scrutiny of offensive tactics, they aim to highlight the complex nature of AI's impact on cybersecurity. 

However, crafting this presentation wasn't without its challenges. Scott and Kevin worked to refine the script, ensuring it strikes the right balance between technical depth and audience accessibility. They also faced hurdles in illustrating real-world examples of machine learning applications within cybersecurity, requiring iterative refinement to align with the broader narrative. 

Undoubtedly, this presentation holds significance for the broader IT community. In an era where AI has a significant presence yet remains shrouded in misconceptions, Scott and Kevin seek to demystify its complexities. By dispelling fears and elucidating the tangible benefits of AI in cybersecurity, they hope to foster a more nuanced understanding among their peers. 

In essence, their presentation serves as a call to embrace AI as a powerful ally in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. Through informed discourse and practical examples, they endeavor to equip the IT community with the knowledge needed to navigate the evolving landscape of cybersecurity in the age of AI. 

Find out more about their presentation on the BCNET Connect 2024 website

Article written by Aisha Ismail.