Rohit Ghai delivers the keynote address at RSA Conference 2023.

Apr 24 2023

RSAC 2023: The Cybersecurity Industry Responds to the Growing ‘Identity Crisis’

Artificial intelligence has made it harder to know who’s who — or who’s even human. The implications for security professionals are profound.

Thanks to artificial intelligence, humans are about to have an identity crisis.

So argued Rohit Ghai, CEO of RSA Security, kicking off the cybersecurity conference that the company started in 1991 (but no longer runs).

“Stated very simply, AI will cause us humans to be totally confused about our role in this world,” Ghai said in his keynote address. “We face a looming identity crisis.”

It makes sense. The striking strides made in recent months by advanced chatbots, proving they can do everything from write poetry to discuss the state of cloud computing and much more (one even declared its love for a New York Times reporter) certainly has many observers wondering about the long-term utility of the human race.

Ghai argued that humanity’s identity crisis would soon cause challenges for “the humans in the identity control center”: cybersecurity professionals.

Click the banner below to receive exclusive industry content when you register as an Insider.

What to Expect at RSA Conference 2023

RSA Conference has blossomed into a four-day affair that annually draws tens of thousands of security and business professionals, journalists, analysts and others to San Francisco. At RSA Conference 2023, a diverse group of speakers will discuss the latest attack tactics, the emerging solutions to defend against them and much more.

EXPLORE: How to keep ransomware at bay with an effective backup strategy.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will join well-known cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs to discuss the ways autocracies are leveraging cyberthreats to menace U.S. national security — and what the government is doing about it.

Country music star Chris Stapleton will join panel discussion about how cybersecurity is affecting the music industry. And theoretical physicist Michio Kaku will explore the changes likely in store for the world over the next 50 years.

But no topic will be discussed more than the rapidly growing role of AI in the world of cybersecurity.

Identity Tech’s Next Phase Is All About AI

Ghai said identity technology is entering the “third wave” of its evolution. The first was the development of the internet, where security’s role was to make connections safer. The second was mobility and the demand for convenience. “Everything was about making things easier,” he said. “We catered to users’ love of convenience and enabled single-sign on, biometric authentication and access management.”

AI is the third wave, “and we can all sense it’s cresting,” he said. Noting that AI can now write polymorphic malware, Ghai said AI is moving quickly from “an application-level technology into a platform capability,” one being used by both the cyberdefense industry and cybercriminals.

LEARN MORE: How zero-trust architecture improves data protection.

The Identity Defined Security Alliance found that 84 percent of organizations reported an identity-related breach in 2022.

In the new era of AI-driven threats, organizations will need tools more advanced than identity and access management platforms to authenticate identity. “We need to think of identity tech as a sequence of decisions: who should have access, why, when and to what? We need insight to inform those decisions, insight and meaning that is derived by reasoning over data.”

He added that “building our platforms from data will provide us with the superhuman insights, expertise and decision support that cybersecurity will need to protect a growing attack surface.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event, follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and join the event conversation at #RSAC.

RSA Conference

Become an Insider

Unlock white papers, personalized recommendations and other premium content for an in-depth look at evolving IT