The CyberAI Project

CyberAI focuses on the intersection of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI). We seek to understand how advances in AI may alter the current state of cybersecurity and, conversely, how the cybersecurity of AI systems affects their safe and trusted development, fielding and operations.  

Our research will address:

  • The impact of AI on cybersecurity: Advances in AI capabilities may shift the offensive/defensive balance within cyber operations. Two important and interrelated dynamics [are at play in/will affect] cybersecurity in an age of AI: the speed of execution and the ability of these systems to adapt or “learn” from their environment. We will explore how AI capabilities affect this balance across a range of adversary profiles and tactics. Many questions remain unanswered in this area: Will more automated and self-adaptive AI capabilities advantage the attacker or provide improved defensive capacities? Will new AI capabilities further decrease attack cycles, allowing ever shorter periods for a defensive response? Can network defenders leverage new capabilities for faster response and remediation?  
  • The reliance of AI on cybersecurity: The data used to train AI algorithms — and the resulting models — remain susceptible to adversarial attacks. Without a strong cybersecurity framework, AI capabilities remain vulnerable to attacks targeting the integrity, confidentiality and availability of the data upon which they rely. These systems are also vulnerable to manipulation of their predictions or recommendations. As algorithms obtain increasingly important roles in society, a robust cybersecurity fabric must be created to protect their outputs and all that depends upon them.

CyberAI is being directed by Dr. Ben Buchanan. Ben is a Senior Faculty Fellow at CSET and an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he conducts research on the intersection of cybersecurity and statecraft. His first book, The Cybersecurity Dilemma, was published by Oxford University Press in 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