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Sankei Shimbun published an interview I conducted beginning last year November and finishing up in January 2018. The article was written by a gentleman named Bando-san, and it discusses nation states leveraging artificial intelligence in cyber operations, among other topics:

元在日米軍司令部サイバーセキュリティー長のスコット・ジャーコフ氏が産経新聞の取材で明らかにした。ジャーコフ氏は現在、米セキュリティー企業「マカフィー」のサイバー戦略室シニアセキュリティアドバイザーを務め、攻撃動向などを調査。欧州警察機関(ユーロポール)などと情報を共有し、昨年、中露のAI技術取得の情報を入手したという。

ジャーコフ氏によると、中露が獲得したAI技術は自動的に膨大な数のパソコンやスマートフォンにウイルスを送れる機能を持つ。添付ファイルを開封すればウイルス感染するメールを世界中に一斉送信し、「ハッカーが関与しなくても情報窃取やシステムを破壊する攻撃などが可能」という。また、ジャーコフ氏は「標的にする組織のシステムの欠陥を調査したり、金銭を奪える標的を探したりするAI技術も獲得した」と指摘。北朝鮮については近年、判明した同国のサイバー犯罪を分析し「AI技術を取得している可能性がある」とした。

The article, quite obviously, is entirely in Japanese, and covers many of the topics Bando-san and I discussed. The interview was a lot of fun, and I even ended up breaking out a whiteboard to draw out some of the ideas I was trying to convey. I have conducted a few media sessions, and a couple other interviews, but this was the first time I took this route.

One extremely perplexing note: although the interview was conducted in the McAfee office in Shibuya Mark City where I work, the journalist opted to use the title from my previous position with the US Department of Defense. I suspect he believes United States Forces Japan Chief of Cyber Security sounds more legitimate than McAfee Senior Security Advisor? I disagree, but can understand his perspective.

Lastly, there was a photographer present during the interview, snapping tons of pictures. Of all the shots taken, WTF was that one selected for the article?

CNN has an interesting short report on Darktrace, a UK cyber security company founded by ex-MI:6 spies and mathematicians:

Instead of just building firewalls, the Darktrace Enterprise Immune System is designed to understand what the company’s normal network looks like and identify any abnormalities.

Sloan says the system behaves the same way as the body when it has the flu: “This technology is like a fever that alerts us when we have a virus and then we need to take action to treat it.”

An example of a small abnormality that the technology would pick up is if an employee logged onto the server at 10pm, without ever have done so before. It would be immediately flagged as unusual.

I have seen demonstrations of Darktrace technology, and even worked closely with the company, and believe they have a valuable product. They are a unique player in the market and one to consider.

One word of caution: although Darktrace uses AI, they are not the only player in the industry to do so. Just about every company has some form of AI built-in to their products these days. So take the whole “we use AI” with a grain of salt since it is no longer a niche idea.

Disclaimer: I work for McAfee, potentially a Darktrace competitor.

There are so many unintended consequences of artificial intelligence I feel as if we are nowhere near the tip of the iceberg. Consider how Chinese company iFlyTek is leveraging AI in multiple industrial and commercial applications, but also has a close working relationship with the Chinese government. There are many dark ways the government may utilize the data companies like iFlyTek can provide:

As China tests the frontiers of artificial intelligence, iFlyTek serves as a compelling example of both the country’s sci-fi ambitions and the technology’s darker dystopian possibilities.

The Chinese company uses sophisticated A.I. to power image and voice recognition systems that can help doctors with their diagnoses, aid teachers in grading tests and let drivers control their cars with their voices. Even some global companies are impressed: Delphi, a major American auto supplier, offers iFlyTek’s technology to carmakers in China, while Volkswagen plans to build the Chinese company’s speech recognition technology into many of its cars in China next year.

At the same time, iFlyTek hosts a laboratory to develop voice surveillance capabilities for China’s domestic security forces. In an October report, a human rights group said the company was helping the authorities compile a biometric voice database of Chinese citizens that could be used to track activists and others.

Those tight ties with the government could give iFlyTek and other Chinese companies an edge in an emerging new field. China’s financial support and its loosely enforced and untested privacy laws give Chinese companies considerable resources and access to voices, faces and other biometric data in vast quantities, which could help them develop their technologies, experts say.