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Mohamed Rashid Al-Balushi

Legal Researcher at Ministry of Legal Affairs, Sultanate of Oman

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning In Cyber Security

Session Title | Drones: A Growing Cybersecurity Threat

The hacking of computer and network systems pervades global society in this digital age; it affects advanced technologies, nations, and corporations in a variety of ways and serves many purposes, from espionage to blatant theft. Where technology is an integral part of industrial and consumer goods, and the opportunities available for cybercriminals to exploit such goods grows; drones should be portrayed as an emerging security issue in this respect as they are subjected to cyber attacks. Drones serve a wide range of applications, they communicate and carry sensitive information; thus, securing the communication between the operator and the drone itself is crucial. Such widespread of drones does not necessarily equate to being ‘safe from attacks’ as vulnerabilities do exist in drones, as well as the harnessing of such systems by cybercriminals.

Although drones have redefined a variety of industries, they are still limited by their human controllers. Yet, we can be certain that the next generation of drones will be completely powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Through the application of full AI, drones will be capable of making decisions and operate on behalf of their human controllers. We thus pose the question; with enhanced adversarial cyber capabilities, how could the combination of drones and AI create some sort of vulnerability in drones?

Tackling this area of concern is essential as the drone industry is continuously growing and there is a need for a shift in its organizational security. I ultimately seek to address that AI is becoming a critical component in technologies and that advances in machine learning and cybersecurity measures are essential.

Main discussion points:

  • The manipulation of artificially intelligent robots through the application of adversarial machine learning.
  • Are adversarial training and defensive distillation effective defense mechanisms against cyber attacks?
  • As the application of drones in military operations increases and with the increased dependence on AI, are they safe from hacking? & what are the consequences when we reach complete technological singularity?
  • Is there a systematic process in evaluating the potential risks of such attacks?

My research has been geared towards the cyber domain as I focus on how current strategies & policies deal with AI and advances in robotics and how nations and corporations ought to collaborate in order to form and implement policies suitable to matters of cybersecurity and privacy.

My recent research includes multiple papers that focus on military drones and cyberattacks, regulating cybersecurity in Corporations and the issues of enhancing cybersecurity in firms while also preserving data privacy. The latest publication was on examining government surveillance programs and the conflict of individual privacy with national security interests. I seek to have my upcoming paper on “Drones: A Growing Cybersecurity Threat” published by the end of 2019. Hence, my philosophical approach is based on the ‘technological singularity’.

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