CyberAI Project,
Directors

Ben Buchanan

Director of Cybersecurity and AI Project Download Bio

Ben Buchanan is the Director of the CyberAI Project at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) and Senior Faculty Fellow. Currently, Ben is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he conducts research on the intersection of cybersecurity and statecraft. He is also the author of The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics (Harvard University Press, 2020) and The Cybersecurity Dilemma (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Previously, he has written journal articles and peer-reviewed papers on artificial intelligence, attributing cyber attacks, deterrence in cyber operations, cryptography, election cybersecurity, and the spread of malicious code between nations and non-state actors. He is also a regular contributor to War on the Rocks and Lawfare, and has published op-eds in the Washington Post and other outlets. Ben received his Ph.D. in War Studies from King’s College London, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He earned masters and undergraduate degrees from Georgetown University.

Automating Cyber Attacks

November 2020

Based on an in-depth analysis of artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, the authors consider the future of applying such systems to cyber attacks, and what strategies attackers are likely or less likely to use. As nuanced, complex, and overhyped as machine learning is, they argue, it remains too important to ignore.

One sentence summarizes the complexities of modern artificial intelligence: Machine learning systems use computing power to execute algorithms that learn from data. This AI triad of computing power, algorithms, and data offers a framework for decision-making in national security policy.

AI competition among nations comes down to a technical triad: data, algorithms and computing power. While the first two elements receive an enormous amount of policy attention, compute is often overlooked. CSET's Ben Buchanan explores its potential in Foreign Affairs.

Machine learning advances are transforming cyber strategy and operations. This necessitates studying national security issues at the intersection of AI and cybersecurity, including offensive and defensive cyber operations, the cybersecurity of AI systems, and the effect of new technologies on global stability. 

“There’s a case to be made that AI will help to solve some of the central problems of authoritarian regimes,” says CyberAI Director Ben Buchanan. “We need to think quite seriously about how to combat this and use this technology for democratic purposes.”

“These three areas—adversarial learning, cyber offense, and cyber defense—deserve a lot more attention, and quickly,” writes CSET Senior Faculty Fellow Ben Buchanan. “Policymakers have begun to consider these important issues, but the conversation must continue.”

CSET Senior Faculty Fellow Ben Buchanan testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation for its hearing, Preparing for the Future: An Assessment of Emerging Cyber Threats.

CSET Senior Faculty Fellow Ben Buchanan testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism for its hearing on Artificial Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Possibilities and Limitations.