Black Hat Fireside Chat: Deploying ‘AI’ as a weapon to win the ‘attack surface management’ war

By Byron V. Acohido

Short-handed cybersecurity teams face a daunting challenge.

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In an intensely complex, highly dynamic operating environment, they must proactively mitigate myriad vulnerabilities and at the same time curtail the harm wrought by a relentless adversary: criminal hacking collectives.

In short, attack surface management has become the main tent pole of cybersecurity. A rock-solid, comprehensive battle plan has been painstakingly laid out, in the form of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. And now advanced weaponry is arriving that leverages data analytics to tighten up systems and smother attacks.

Guest expert: Justin Fier, VP Tactical Risk and Response, Darktrace

One supplier in the thick of this development is Cambridge, UK-based Darktrace, a supplier of security systems designed to help companies“think like an attacker,’ says Justin Fier, Darktrace vice-president of tactical risk and response, whom I had the chance to visit with at Black Hat 2022.

We discussed how legacy, on-premises cybersecurity systems generate massive amounts of telemetry – data which is perfectly suited for high-scale, automated data analytics. This is why it makes so much sense for artificial intelligence, generally, to be brought to bear in attack surface management.

Darktrace’s AI solutions, for instance, can help companies rein in API exposures,  defuse shadow IT,  protect their supply chain and even boost DevSecOps, Fier told me. For a full drill down on our conversation, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

What’s going to happen as more of these advanced, AI-infused cybersecurity weapons get into the mix on the side of the good guys? I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors w

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