Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

Google has unveiled a new policy, the AI Cyber Defense Initiative, designed to harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve global cybersecurity defenses. The proposed policy aims to counteract rapidly evolving threats by using AI to improve threat detection, automate vulnerability management and enhance incident response effectiveness. The Alphabet company introduced its new plan at the Munich Security Conference, where it also announced it has a pool of $2 million to award businesses and academic institutions for research initiatives involving large language models, code verification and other AI uses for cyber offense and defense.

Most existing patches “only succeed at mitigating yesterday’s threats — not the threats waiting in the wings,” Google Cloud VP and CIO Phil Venables and Google VP Engineering for Privacy, Safety and Security Royal Hansen wrote in a joint blog post that suggests AI can chance that dynamic.

AI is at “an inflection point for digital security,” providing policymakers, corporate governors and security personnel “the chance to finally tilt the cybersecurity balance from attackers to cyber defenders,” the execs write, noting that at a time “when malicious actors are experimenting with AI,” the good guys need to take “bold and timely action to shape the direction of this technology.”

That’s where Google’s AI Cyber Defense Initiative comes in, and with it a proposed policy and technology agenda outlined in the report Secure, Empower, Advance: How AI Can Reverse the Defender’s Dilemma.

“The idea behind the initiative is that the traditional reactive cybersecurity model is no longer sufficient in a world where cyberthreats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and pervasive,” writes SiliconANGLE, noting that Google’s new initiative “includes deploying AI-driven algorithms designed to identify and analyze patterns indicative of cyber threats.”

Using data collected from its global network, Google plans to use machine learning to adapt to the full range of cybercrime threats.

In addition to the AI Cyber Defense Initiative, Google cybersecurity moves shared at the Munich conference include:

  • A new “AI for Cybersecurity” cohort of 17 startups from the U.S., UK and EU as part of the Google for Startups Growth Academy’s AI for Cybersecurity Program. The goal is to “strengthen the transatlantic cybersecurity ecosystem with internationalization strategies, AI tools, and the skills to use them.”
  • Expanding the $15 million Cybersecurity Seminars Program — which supports universities in training the next generation of cybersecurity experts — to cover all of Europe.
  • Open-sourcing Magika, an AI-powered tool already used to help protect products including Gmail, Drive and Safe Browsing, with the goal of aiding defenders through malware file type identification.

Google has been “upgrading its global data centers for AI with over $5 billion invested since 2019, helping to provide secure computing for generative AI systems,” TechRadar reports.

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