Published on November 17, 2023, 12:33 am

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has recently unveiled a comprehensive strategy to protect critical infrastructure from the potential threats posed by artificial intelligence (AI). With President Joe Biden signing an executive order on AI, CISA’s newly released roadmap aligns with the national goal of addressing the risks associated with AI while harnessing its benefits.

In the statement, CISA Director Jen Easterly emphasizes that while AI holds great promise in enhancing cybersecurity capabilities, it also carries significant risks. The agency’s roadmap focuses on three key objectives: promoting the beneficial use of AI in cybersecurity, safeguarding AI systems from cyber threats, and deterring malicious use of AI that could put critical infrastructure at risk.

One area of emphasis is utilizing AI-enabled software to bolster cyber defenses and support CISA’s mission to protect critical infrastructure. Collaboration with other government agencies and industry partners in developing, testing, and evaluating AI tools is key to combatting AI-related threats. To facilitate this collaboration, CISA will launch JCDC.AI, a website dedicated to coordinating responses to threats and vulnerabilities tied to AI systems.

Furthermore, CISA plans to provide guidance and assistance for adopting secure-by-design AI-based software across federal civilian agencies, private sector firms, state/local/tribal/territorial governments. Best practices for developing and implementing AI systems will be shared alongside formal recommendations for red-teaming generative AI.

Transparency is essential in this endeavor as well. CISA intends to share its findings with interagency and international partners, as well as the general public. Its role in the Department of Homeland Security’s policy work for the overall U.S. strategy on AI and cybersecurity highlights its commitment to advancing global policies that ensure responsible, ethical, and safe use of AI technology.

Lastly, CISA aims to expand its internal expertise in AI through educating its workforce on various aspects of AI software systems. This includes recruiting individuals with AI experience while providing training for staff members without a background in the technology. The agency will prioritize educating its workforce not only on the technical aspects but also on the legal, ethical, and policy dimensions of AI-based systems.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas emphasizes that this AI strategy is just one part of CISA’s broader cybersecurity efforts. The roadmap outlines the steps that CISA will take to leverage AI while mitigating potential risks to critical infrastructure and cyber defenses.

As AI continues to evolve and become more prevalent, organizations like CISA play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and responsible use of this powerful technology. By prioritizing cybersecurity measures and AI expertise, CISA is actively working towards securing critical infrastructure and safeguarding against malicious use of AI capabilities.

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